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Haeinsa temple stay
Haeinsa(해인사) Temple Stay
Barbara is a twenty-five year old international student visiting Korea from Germany. Desiring to know more about Korean culture, she has chosen to participate in the temple stay program.
She traveled all the way to Haeinsa Temple, located in Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnamdo-do.
It is here you can find the Tripitaka Koreana –-Koreans refer to this as Palma Taejanggyeong-- (81,258 wooden blocks engraved on both sides with Buddhist sutras) in Janggyeonggak (added to the UNESCO world heritage list).
View of Haeinsa Temple Entrance of Haeinsa Temple Entrance of Janggyeonggak
◆ What is temple stay??
A temple stay offers anyone the opportunity to experience the life of a monk firsthand.
A visitor to a temple stay can participate in the daily activities of an actual monk. One can join in such activities as Buddhist services, Buddha food offering ceremonies, meditation, lotus lantern making, and tea ceremonies.
▶ Temple Stay Program: 1 night and 2 days
Prepared for you:Upon your arrival at the temple, you will be given monks’ clothing to wear (this clothing is typically gray). You can wear this clothing to your welcoming banquet. For those foreigners who need language assistance, English translators are available.
Arriving Meal
This meal will last approximately 30 minutes and will take place at the Buddhist Assembly hall.
Buddhist Temple education and etiquette
You will be lectured on several topics, including how to sit with the appropriate posture, etiquette at meals, methods of tea drinking, and the rules observed during a Buddhist service.
Barugongyang (발우공양, usually eaten by monks ; four bowl meal)
Only vegetarian meals are served here. There shouldn’t be any food left in your dish, after finishing your meal you should wash the dishes that you have used. It is best not to make many sounds while eating and try not to talk too much.
Evening service
Every evening around 6 p.m. a large drum is struck to alert everyone of mealtime. This drum, known as beopgo, is located at Jonggak Pavilion. As people gather around Jonggak Pavilion, the drum is struck for approximately 10 minutes and then everyone heads for Daejeok-gwangjeon (area containing Buddhist scriptures that dates back to the year 802, rebuilt in 1817). The evening service is held here. Interesting fact: This structure was built with the concept of Yin and Yang in mind. Moreover, in Buddhist beliefs one cannot destroy animals, so this structure was built with painstaking care purposely trying not to destroy the natural surroundings.
108 bows
When you go into the educational area you should bow 108 times along with the monks. Buddhists believe that mankind experiences 108 periods of anguish in their lifetime. One must bow 108 times to be freed of such anguish.
Conversation with monks
You can have many interesting conversations with the monks at the temple over a cup of tea.
Early morning service and meditation
Up at 3 a.m. in the morning and then it’s off to the early morning service. It begins with listening to the large drum for about 10 minutes at Jonggak followed by a 30 minute service held at Daejeok-gwangjeon. Once the service has finished, one-hour of Zen Meditation will take place in the Buddhist Assembly Hall.
Morning stroll
Enjoy a morning walk with the monks before going to the temple, then enter Janggyeonggak and take a look the Tripitaka Koreana.
▶ Unique experiences at Haeinsa Temple
① See the Ingyeong printing tablets
Located in the center of the temple is Guguangnu (four national treasures are housed here), this area actually surpassed such cities as Gutenberg, Germany in the production of such printing by 200 years.
② Meal prepared with wild vegetables
A meal of wild vegetables is prepared for you at a nearby restaurant. The side dishes alone are enough to fill you; the food is plentiful and the prices are very reasonable.
■ Barbara Wall shares her unique experience at a temple stay with T2K.

T2K : Is there any special reason why you wanted to take part in the Temple stay program?
Barbara Wall : My Korean friends introduced me to the temple stay program, knowing that I have interests in Buddhist culture. I was looking for a different kind of experience and so I decided that the temple stay would be just right for me.
T2K : What most impressed you during your temple stay?
Barbara Wall : I particularly enjoyed the different activities available. I fondly remember waking up early in the morning to sound of the drum, as well as the viewing the printing tablets. Also, the conversations that I had with the monks were very impressive.
T2K: Was anything tough for you during your stay?
Barbara Wall: As a foreigner, it wasn’t easy always sitting on the floor with my legs crossed. During my temple stay, a great deal of time was spent sitting, so my legs were a bit sore and it was a bit tough on the rest of my body, too.
T2K: How was the food at the temple?
Barbara Wall : The vegetarian meals seemed healthy and were very tasty. I think that people dieting would especially enjoy the food here and would certainly maintain a healthy weight.
T2K: Would you recommend this place to your friends?
Barbara Wall: Yes, I would highly recommend this program. However, I would advise people wanting to experience this program to do a bit of studying in advance. Without some knowledge of Buddhist life and the temple stay program, people might be tempted to give up and not complete the entire program.
⊙ Click here if you would like to participate in the temple stay program!
※ More Information >>Hainsa Temple (해인사) , Tripitaka Koreana
Date   07/14/2008

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