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Temple stay
New Year Deep in Mountain Temple?
Scores of Temples Feature Unique Programs
Main Hall of Samhwasa Temple in Donghae, Gangwon Province

Sick and tired of the hustle and bustle of urban life?
Or does your helter-skelter way of life suffocate you? Then think about spending a couple of days in a remote Buddhist temple.

During the year-end season, people seeking a temple stay will go through a New Year's Eve and New Year's Day ceremony as scores of Buddhist temples around the nation feature a special templestay program.

Twenty-seven Buddhist temples deep in the mountains will open their doors wide to laypeople in the "New Year Templestay," which includes striking a Buddhist bell and New Year's wish-making in a candle-light ceremony.

"The Meet New Year Temple Stay" program also includes sunrise watching, mountain hiking, a rice-cake tasting, a concert, and inward training for youths on top of usual activities such as meditation and prayer.

Buddhist candle-light ceremony

Mihwang Temple(www.mihwangsa.com) in Haenam-gun, South Jeolla Province, offers the "Send Old Year and Meet New Year Temple Stay" program for about 100 locals and foreigners.

Striking a bell on New Year's Eve, mountain climbing of Dalmasan, rice-cake soup tasting, and watching family movies are included in the program.

Gogulsa Temple(www.golgulsa.com), in the ancient city of Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, presents Sunmudo (Գ) training, a representative martial art of Buddhism, and Gigong (Ѩ) training or training for natural spirit energy.

Sunmudo literally means Seon (or Zen) and Martial Arts. Gyeongju is the millennium royal capital of Shilla () Kingdom (BC 57-AD 935).

Sunrise in East Coast, South Korea

A visit to the underwater tomb of Munmu the Great King (: reign 661-681) on the East Coast near the temple and sunrise watching are also included. The great king wanted to be buried underwater to guard against Japanese invaders.

Magoksa Temple(www.magoksa.or.kr) in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province, has a pre-dawn prayer service and a Buddhist ceremony on the summit of Mt. Taewha as part of the "Meet New Year" program.

At another temple in Gongju, Gapsa Temple(http://www.gapsa.org/), one can experience candle-lit prayer, an all-night wish-making vigil ceremony spent concentrating one's mind, the traditional royal game of Tuho (), a game throwing arrows into a jar, and a special Buddhist ceremony for contrition.

The third temple in Gongju, Youngpyungsa Temple(www.youngpyungsa.org), offers the traditional music of gukak as well as the typical templestay program.

A temple stay at Sudeoksa Temple(www.sudeoksa.com) in Yesan-gu, South Chungcheong Province, includes prayer walking around the pagoda, a spa tour and mountain hiking.

A Buddhist pagado in Samhwasa Temple

One can go through the unique meditation of Anicca
at Bulhoesa Temple(www.bulhoesa.org) in Naju, South Jeolla Province.

Anicca means impermanence. The idea that all things are impermanent is central to Buddhist teaching.
This is the nature of all conditioned phenomena.
Nothing lasts, nothing stays the same. So,
to cling to anything will inevitably lead to suffering.

Samhwasa Temple(http://www.samhwasa.or.kr/), in the eastern coastal city of Donghae, features a "Winter Tour with Sunrise." The temple is nestled at the mouth of the majestic Dutasan or Mt. Duta.

Bongjeonsa Temple(www.bongjeongsa.org), in the traditional city of Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, offers a sunrise watching on the mountain top with family members, while Buseoksa Temple (www.pusoksa.org)in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, gives people a chance to watch birds on the western coastal area of the Korean Peninsula.

A prayer hall of Samhwasa Temple

For temple-stay participation at any of these temples one has to visit the Temple Stay Bureau's official website (www.templestay.com) or call the bureau office at 02-732-9925-7.

Travel costs are quite reasonable. The participation fee for one-night and two-day travel is between 20,000 won and 50,000 won per person.

One should bring one's own sneakers and personal
toiletries.



Related Articles
    Enlightening Escape from Urban Monotony
    Korean Temple Stay Experience
    Temple Stay at Mihwangsa in Late Summer
    The Mystery of Korea Found in Temple Stays


 

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