Templestay is a program that enables participants to experience firsthand the 1700-year old Korean Buddhist culture and meditation at a traditional Korean temple. The Jogye Order Templestay program first began during the 2002 World Cup as a way for foreign visitors to experience Korean temples. Thereafter, Templestay developed to feature traditional Buddhist culture and everyday temple life.
The program has been well received by Koreans and foreigners alike. Templestay has been a way to re-illuminate the beauty of Korean Buddhist culture and tradition. A Templestay site is typically a temple located in a beautiful mountain setting. It offers a sanctuary for experiencing peace and harmony as well as a place of rest for the exhausted modern-day person. The unique characteristic of Templestay is that we can personally experience a variety of traditional culture as well as inner peace and solace, all at a traditional Korean Buddhist temple. Templestay programs are generally two to three days long and cater to Koreans and foreigners alike. Templestay also offers programs designed specifically for the elderly, disabled, teenagers, multicultural families, and groups of various ages and social classifications.
Templestay usually begins with a tour of the temple with its traditional architecture and beautiful natural surroundings. Templestay typically includes everyday temple activities such as early morning chanting, Baru Gongyang (formal meals), tea ceremonies, and meditation. In addition, there are other cultural programs such as copying sutras, making temple food, and making Buddhist drawings.
The current Templestay program has become a popular leisure-time cultural activity for engaging in sincere introspection in a beautiful natural setting as well as for recharging one´s life force. For this reason, more and more people are using their weekends and holidays to take part in Templestay. This program has also been well received by the foreign press, governments, travel agencies, and the OECD. Templestay, with its steady increase in Korean and foreign participants, is worthy of its reputation as the best cultural experience in Korea.