Regardless of what you’ve been told, it’s not easy to sit and do nothing.

Sure, to sit is easy as long as your leg doesn’t fall asleep. It’s the “nothing” part that’s the catch. In Seon (or Zen) meditation, you want to achieve the mind before thought, to make your mind a calm pond to reflect the world as it really is. The mind, however, is a busy little bee indeed—just how busy is not readily apparent until you’ve sat for Seon. “I have a deadline tomorrow,” “I wonder what’s for dinner,” “I need to call my wife after this,” “Why am I thinking,” “How do I stop thinking,” “Oh lord, will my mind stop generating these thoughts!” Oh, what a ripply pond the mind can be.

Thankfully, this Seon session is about an hour. Some monks do this almost the entire day.
The Templestay program might have begun as an experimental accommodation/cultural experience program during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, but a decade later, it has blossomed into one of Korea’s best-loved cultural tourism programs. Some 109 temples around Korea—most in scenic mountain locations far from the hustle and bustle of urban Korea—host two-day programs allowing visitors of all faiths and nationalities a chance to get in touch with nature—and themselves—and experience a 1,700-year-old tradition. 

Seoul: Geumseonsa Temple

Daegu: Donghwasa Temple

Gyeongju: Gulgulsa Temple


First day  

PM 15:00~15:30    Orientation
15:30~17:00    Temple tour with Monk
17:30~18:00    Dinner(Gong yang)
18:15~18:30    Striking the Bell
18:30~19:00     Ye-bool (Evening Chanting Ceremony)
19:30~20:20    108 prostrations
20:30~21:00    Meditation
22:00    Wash up & Bed Time

Second day

AM 4:30     wake up
5:00~5:30    Ye-bool (Morning Ceremony)
5:40~6:20    Meditation
6:50~8:00    Baru-gongyang (Formal monastic meal)
9:00 ~10:30    Conversation over Traditional Tea with Monk
11:00~12:00    Trekking Mt. Bukhan if it rains,Making Lotus Lantern
12:00~12:50    Lunch & writing Postscript
13:00    Closing Ceremony

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