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Registration opens for English temple stay

March 21, 2024 - 16:50 By Choi Si-young
A view of Haeinsa, a temple in South Gyeongsang Province. (Culture Corps of Korean Buddhism)

Registration opened Monday for an English temple stay program for foreign nationals seeking a time out from urban life.

The first 1,000 applicants who book the overnight stay at will be able to participate in the program priced at 30,000 won ($22) from April 1 to July 31, according to the Culture Corps of Korean Buddhism -- an arm of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the largest local Buddhist sect.

“This is the definitive content we can offer as Korean tradition, regardless of age, religion or nationality,” the Venerable Mandang said Thursday. The chief leading the corps added: “We hope to advance our traditions through the program to those seeing them for the first time.”

The overnight stay is expected to give guests a snapshot of the austere lifestyle of a Korean monk -- one that starts with morning prostrations and embraces meditation and community work activities such as gardening. Ceremonies with vegetarian meals and tea as well as lectures on Buddhism are also part of the routine.

The program began in 2002 to accommodate the surging number of foreign tourists flocking to South Korea to see the 2002 World Cup soccer games. In 2009, the program was named one of the five most successful cultural experiences by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.