South Korea's temples are templates for contemplation

26th Jul 2013

Travellers on private journeys seeking introspection, self-discovery and communing with nature need look no further than South Korea's Buddhist temples.

These ornate cultural sites give holidaymakers the chance to search for their true selves by allowing them to clear the mind of clutter.

For many, this connection can act as a positive turning point for returning to the real world.

For others, just spending time in peaceful surroundings away from cellphones and everyday stresses can prove invaluable.

When it comes to temples, South Korea is spoilt for choice, including:

- Seonunsa Temple (on the slopes of Mount Dosolsan near the Yellow Sea): this cuppa-loving shrine is known for its worship of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and for its annual camellia festival. Through the practice of dado, it is said that one can find true stillness and tranquility in a cup of tea.

- Myogaksa Temple (in the foothills of Naksan Mountain): visitors can get a taste of traditional temple life and still have access to the nation's capital by overlooking Seoul.

- Haeinsa Temple (South Gyeongsang Province): offers a program called Live Like the Wind and Water, then Leave Your Body! featuring monastic formal meals and meditation sessions.

- Woljeongsa (Mount Odaesan): is best known for its octagonal, nine-story stone pagoda in front of its Jeokgwangjeon (Hall of Stillness and Light).

- Golgulsa Temple (Hamwol Mountain): is favoured by martial arts enthusiasts, who are lured by meditative qi gong movements.


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