Templestay takes off in Korea

SEOUL, 15 May 2019: Here is an opportunity to stay in a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can experience a Templestay in one of Korea’s  “Sansa” Buddhist mountain monasteries.

A group of seven ‘Sansa’ monasteries located throughout the southern provinces of the Korean Peninsula were added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in June 2018.

They include Tongdosa, Buseoksa, Bongjeongsa, Beopjusa, Magoksa, Seonamsa and Daeheungsa.

These traditional Korean temples surrounded by mountains have been designated as the UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to their openness and continuity of Korean Buddhism.

These mountain monasteries have survived as living places of faith and daily religious practice for more than 1,700 years from the fourth century when Buddhism was first introduced to Korea.

Templestay offers a different way to learn Korean Buddhism’s history, culture and tradition.

Many Korean temples including UNESCO World Heritage-listed ‘Sansa’ offer Templestay programmes. Templestay literally means “staying at a temple,” allowing participants to experience a day of Buddhist monks.

Usually, they spend an overnight stay, experiencing early morning “Yebul” (Buddhist ceremony), “108 bae” (108 prostrations), “Chamseon” (Zen meditation) and learning how to make Buddhist prayer beads.

All meals are vegetarian diet the monks eat so the vegetarian can participate without any pressure.

A total of 137 temples across the country offer a Templestay. Even if you cannot speak Korean, 27 of the temples provide Templestay programmes in English or have English-speaking interpreters.

If you are not sure which temple to choose, visit the FAQs on the Templestay website. It lists recommended temples for meditation, hiking, temple foods, and ones that offer convenient transportation.

For more information email the Templestay Information Centre ([email protected]).