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  • 제이
  • Super Waygook

    • 287

    • October 19, 2011, 12:43:22 pm
    • Suwon, Gyeonggi-do
    more
Temple Stay: Opinions?
« on: June 25, 2012, 02:06:02 pm »
I was wondering what were people's opinions about temple stay. I have a vacation coming up and I thought about doing it as I have a passing interest in Zen and buddhism. I was thinking of going to International Seon Center, where for 50K W they offer:

vegetarian meals.
charity work.
hours of meditation.
waking me up at 3 in the morning.
a lot of bowing.

Forgive me if I seem to be missing the appeal. I think I would be able to do most of this on my own if I really felt like it, without having to drop 50K. What are your thoughts on temple stay? Have any good places to recommend?


Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 09:56:12 pm »
Don't know about temple stay, but I recommend the book "The Gods Drink Whiskey"


  • Blacklamb
  • Adventurer

    • 48

    • September 07, 2011, 09:52:06 am
    • Incheon
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 11:15:04 pm »
I did a temple stay a few months ago through Adventure Korea (I think...) and I enjoyed it. Mine was only overnight and was with a bunch of foreigners, which kind of ruined the inner/outer reflection part for me.

The actual education and meditation parts were incredible and meaningful (to me) and made it worth going. I also found it really interesting to get a look inside secular life in a foreign country.

Everyone was nice and the location was gorgeous...the other foreigners kind of pissed me off though. There was a group of giggly girls who wouldn't shut the f*** up and ignored the "please be quiet for the monks" request.

I would love to do a proper one with silence and solitude (but with better food!!!!!!!! ha).


  • 제이
  • Super Waygook

    • 287

    • October 19, 2011, 12:43:22 pm
    • Suwon, Gyeonggi-do
    more
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 07:18:54 am »
I did a temple stay a few months ago through Adventure Korea (I think...) and I enjoyed it. Mine was only overnight and was with a bunch of foreigners, which kind of ruined the inner/outer reflection part for me.

The actual education and meditation parts were incredible and meaningful (to me) and made it worth going. I also found it really interesting to get a look inside secular life in a foreign country.

Everyone was nice and the location was gorgeous...the other foreigners kind of pissed me off though. There was a group of giggly girls who wouldn't shut the f*** up and ignored the "please be quiet for the monks" request.

I would love to do a proper one with silence and solitude (but with better food!!!!!!!! ha).

Do you remember which temple it was? Do you feel like the location mattered much?


  • vw08
  • Super Waygook

    • 331

    • May 11, 2011, 01:26:31 am
    • South Korea
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 07:59:26 am »
I did a temple stay at Beomeosa in Busan at the beginning of April.  It cost 50k for a Saturday afternoon to a Sunday afternoon and entailed all of the activities you mentioned like meditation/prayer/bowing time, eating meals the way the monks do, a tour of the temple, 3am wake up and such.  We also did a hike up to one of their retreats in the mountains close to the temple and made the 108 prayer beads.  The program was conducted in Korean, but the temple and volunteers were very helpful with translating and making sure the other non-Korean speaker there and I understood what was going on and could participate in the activities.

Yes, it is true that you can do all of these activities on your own for significantly less money, but my motivation was to get out of my usual routine and comfort zone to try something new that I would not necessarily get to experience at home.  It was an opportunity to get away from my daily life and have quiet time to reflect and refocus.  For me, it was a worthwhile experience that I would do again in the future and recommend to anyone, Buddhist or not, who is looking for a different experience.



  • L Waygook
  • Adventurer

    • 74

    • September 06, 2010, 07:54:02 am
    • South Korea
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 08:02:59 am »
I did one at Haensa. It is in Gaya Mountain. It was great. I would say try to go when there are not a lot of people. There were too many people, so we had to cut some of the activities! It is amazing being there at night with all the tourists gone. When we were participating in the ceremonies, we got chills!


  • JazzRat
  • Adventurer

    • 41

    • December 10, 2010, 07:42:37 am
    • hanam city
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 08:59:33 am »
I recommend Golgassa temple in Gwanju (The one down south- not sure if my spelling is correct) I found it on the internet. It's in a beautiful location in the mountains. They practice meditation through martial arts there and so I got to learn Sumudo (the martial arts developed by the monks there) and felt absolutely broken(but good) after three days. They also arranged day tours to other places that was included in the price but I didn't manage to go on them.


Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 09:27:51 am »
There are several types of temple stays.  I have a Temple Stay handbook from a few years ago that lists them:

* Standard
* Rest
* Buddhist Cultural Experience
* Ecological Experience
* Traditional Cultural Experience
* Buddhist Practice
* Temple Life

I haven't been able to find the information online (it was published by the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, who run templestay.com), and don't feel like typing it all out, but suffice it to say there are programs that run the range of intensity.  The Standard one has all the basics, and is the most common.  The Rest is more relaxed: "Orientation, Yebool, and meal times are kept, but the rest of the schedule is free".  The Buddhist Cultural Experience one has different programs at different temples: yoga, martial arts, lantern-making, and others. 

Also, there are many more that offer these programs in Korean (rather than the English-language ones that are often advertised).  You can find these at many of the larger temples in more rural areas.  http://www.templestay.com/common/intro/introduction_list.asp
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 09:29:31 am by Densha Otoko »


Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 09:31:08 am »
Whats the food like at these places? Thinking if I spend an entire weekend there it might become an issue that I'm a bit of a picky eater. I believe you're expected to finish everything you are served and that you're probably not allowed to have a stash of snacks in your bag or something.....


  • vw08
  • Super Waygook

    • 331

    • May 11, 2011, 01:26:31 am
    • South Korea
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 09:52:57 am »
Whats the food like at these places? Thinking if I spend an entire weekend there it might become an issue that I'm a bit of a picky eater. I believe you're expected to finish everything you are served and that you're probably not allowed to have a stash of snacks in your bag or something.....

Where I stayed, the dinner and breakfast were identical.  There was rice, soup, kimchi and a few banchan(side dishes).  It was self serve, so you could pick what and how much you want to eat.  There is a very specific order to meals including the way to clean your bowls and deal with extra food.  It is advisable to eat everything you take, but it was not mandatory.  Snacks were allowed where I stayed.  If you have concerns, get in touch with the temple stay coordinator and ask about the food situation.


  • 제이
  • Super Waygook

    • 287

    • October 19, 2011, 12:43:22 pm
    • Suwon, Gyeonggi-do
    more
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 11:24:22 am »
After reading your opinions I decided to give it a shot. If it can fit into my schedule I will try to go.


  • Blacklamb
  • Adventurer

    • 48

    • September 07, 2011, 09:52:06 am
    • Incheon
Re: Temple Stay: Opinions?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 11:52:18 pm »
I did a temple stay a few months ago through Adventure Korea (I think...) and I enjoyed it. Mine was only overnight and was with a bunch of foreigners, which kind of ruined the inner/outer reflection part for me.

The actual education and meditation parts were incredible and meaningful (to me) and made it worth going. I also found it really interesting to get a look inside secular life in a foreign country.

Everyone was nice and the location was gorgeous...the other foreigners kind of pissed me off though. There was a group of giggly girls who wouldn't shut the f*** up and ignored the "please be quiet for the monks" request.

I would love to do a proper one with silence and solitude (but with better food!!!!!!!! ha).

Do you remember which temple it was? Do you feel like the location mattered much?

Ahhh sorry!!! I can't recall where it was!!! It was a few hours from Seoul though. I think location matters in terms of it being quiet enough and away from traffic and pollution.

The food was pretty basic and the next day I chose to skip lunch because it was so bland.