Thursday, March 29, 2012

Temple Stay in Korea

South Korea has become a home to various religions. Buddhist is one of the traditionally practiced religion in Korea influenced by Korean Confucianism since olden days. Despite the busy life, most of the people still practice their religion. For the tourist interested in Buddhism, temple stay offers unique cultural experience to practice Buddhism. Temple stay is designed to help people understand Korean Buddhism better and participants can find their "true self" amongst the harmony of nature while staying at a temple.

The program usually includes four main program. First, devotional chanting or ceremonial service which is done to praise Buddha. This service is held three times a day and said that it helps to clear one's mind. Secondly, "Zen Meditation" which is meant to allow a person to reflect on oneself. There are two forms of this meditation: a sitting-style meditation and a walking-meditation. The third program is communal Buddhist meal service which is a unique and special way of eating in Korean temples. At this communal meal practice the meal is eaten in total silence and not a single grain of rice is wasted. Finally, the tea ceremony which one of the practices of Buddhist religion. Korean traditionally believes that there are several ways to prepare and enjoy good tea.

I visited Geumsansa Temple in Jeollabul-do with the foreigner students through Korea Traditional Culture Experience Camp.To enjoy these activities, you can make a reservations before hand. There are other fun activities included such as impression making with ink and paper, lotus lantern making, and folk games in addition to the four activities that are mentioned above. The single reservations for temple stay is available in four temples and group with minimum of 15 people can make reservations in more than 9 temples in Korea. The reservations are to be made a week before your scheduled temple visit. Enjoying Korean temple stay can be one of the way to learn about a truly enlightening cultural experience. 

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