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Foreigners at Yongjoosa Temple Stay learn about Korean Buddhism culture Updated: 2018-11-26 18:10:43 KST

Not far from Seoul, is the city of Hwaseong in Gyeonggi-do Province.
It's the perfect location for seeing the vibrant colors of autumn and winter scenery.
This is Yongjoosa Temple in Hwaseong.
With a history dating back 1,700 years, the Temple Stay program offers a monastic lifestyle for visitors looking to take a break from their busy lives.

"Temple Stay allows participants to experience a monk's lifestyle and learn about Korean Buddhism and its culture."

The temple runs its own program, allowing participants ways to find their inner self.

"Through the program, we learn about temple etiquette, the importance of food through the practice of eating and there's also the 108 prostration to help participants find self-esteem in their inner self."

From around 3 PM, visitors start to filter into the temple.
What brings foreigners to participate in the Temple Stay program?
It turns out a lot of the international students are interested in learning about Korean Buddhism.

"I really want to explore the culture in every single way, so one way is to explore Buddhism here at the temple and to really see how the monks are living and the practices of Buddhism, which I know is quite big in Korea."

"People come to the temple for different personal reasons. By coming here, they can learn about temple etiquettes, Buddha's teachings and be part of the Korean culture of Buddhism."

As the sun sets, it's time for dinner.
Temple food prohibits any meat, therefore it provides a healthy and clean meal.
In Buddhism, the practice of eating or 'the offering' is part of learning discipline and being grateful for the food given.
By understanding this, participants take an appropriate portion of food in their bowls.

"It makes me think about food waste a lot and I think I'll be more careful to you know just eat everything that I buy and prepare."

The next day at dawn, participants take part in Yebul, a ceremony of praising Buddha by performing 108 prostrations.
The 108 prostrations represent the sufferings that people experience and although it isn't easy, the visitors do their best.
By doing this, they experience a moment of enlightenment and feel an inner calm.

Finally, the participants walk up the mountain in silence, to connect with nature and find their inner self.
Their two days at the temple are now over and it's time for the participants to go back to their daily life.

"Well, I try to take away some that I can have some moments for me as well during my daily life and as well to enjoy the moment maybe a bit more."

Away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, the Temple Stay program provides a chance to find your true self.
Come and be mesmerized by the temple's breathtaking scenery and learn more about the calm and peace of Korean Buddhism.
Seo Bo-bin, Arirang News, Hwaseong.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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