Event 05/27 in Seoul: Temple Stay

On the last weekend I participated in the Hwagyesa Temple Stay Program offered by KUBS Buddy. A photographer by the Media Team accompanied the event and took a lot of pictures. These can be seen here. A few activities rounded out the trip.


The official schedule was about as follows, the actual differed a bit:

Day 1/ Time Schedule Day 2/ Time Schedule
11:30 Arrival/ Lunch 04:00 Wake up
13:30 Hiking/ Orientation 04:20 Morning chanting
15:00 Introduction 05:00 Meditation
16:00 How to deep bow 06:00 Breakfast
16:30 Dinner 07:00 Work period
18:00 Evening chanting 07:30 108 Bows
18:20 Zan meditation 08:00 Tea ceremony/ Q&A
19:30 Wash/ Rest 09:00 Feedback/ Clean your room
21:00 Lights out  10:00 Departure

The pictures in the following sections were taken from the facebook album presented above.


The group took a bus ride from Korea University Station to Hwagyesa Temple Entrance. Upon arrival we had to change clothes, go to lunch and clean our dishes.

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The history of Buddha

Afterwards, we got introduced to two monks that guided us during the stay. We walked back to the entrance, got instructions and were told the history of Buddha.

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March upon the hill

The introduction followed the hiking of the hill with an overview of a part of Seoul.

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Meditation round

Back at the Temple sweets and tea and later on dinner was served. Againt, the dishes were washed, and afterwards we learned how to bow and took part in the first mediation round. Everyone made a chain with 108 pellets.

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Night and wake up

The evening ended early when we were released for showering at about 8.30 pm. Men slept in another hall and lights out were shortly after 9 pm. At 4 am the next day we got up and meditated soon again.

108 bows

The most interesting part of the trip was definitely the 108 bows in front of the Buddha statues. The meaning of the 108 bows varies, but as an example from here:

There are 6 bodily pathways that lead to suffering: eyes, ears, skin, nose, tongue, mind.
There are 6 objects that lead to suffering: something you see, hear, feel, smell, taste, think about.
There are 3 time periods in which you suffer: the past, the present, and the future.

Multiplied, 108 prayers cover these sufferings. An example for those bows:

1. I bow to wonder where I came from and where I am and where I am going.
2. I bow to appreciate my parents for giving birth to me.
3. I bow to think about who I am.
4. I bow to find my true self.
5. I bow to always appreciate my body and spirit.
6. I bow for the well-being of my body and spirit.
7. I bow to think about my true desires.
8. I bow to find myself and to learn how to control myself.
9. I bow to appreciate the life I live today.
10. I bow to give thanks for being alive.

An oriental doctor recommends bowing, regardless of the religion of the person.



Before our leave the two monks answered our questions regarding the life as monk, e. g. one of them said that she choose to become a monk at the age of 10. Soon after we departed, being back at the Korea University at about 11 am on sunday.


Featured Image – By Severin.stalder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons