My Many Firsts – A Temple Stay Experience





Throughout my abroad experience, it became vital for me to try new experiences. Given that my mother is Buddhist, it is important for me to explore my own Buddhist religion. Throughout my time in Korea, I explored many temples. While all offer a similar structure, each offers a unique location. I found it was an important moment to partake in my first temple stay experience while in South Korea. The location I chose was Baekyangasa as its program offered mindfulness and self discovery. I cannot say this experience was all smooth sailing. My first 7am bus ride journey became an 8-hour journey to get to the temple. When I arrived to find the temple stay, it was cold and there was construction going on. Yet, these challenges did not affect my overall experience.

During this journey, I decided to do a detox away from social media, finding other ways to fill the time instead. During mealtime, I ate homegrown food curated for the vegetarian taste palette, which was simple and flavorful. I was also able to ring the bell waiting 30 second increments before ringing the next bell. After, I prayed at the meditation hall. These chants are the same I heard when I was younger. While less confused now by what the chants mean, I still find it hard to understand what is happening. After the chants finished, the rest of the night is free time. I explored the nature surrounding the temple, hearing the water trickle down an evergoing stream. Because it was winter, it was harder to see at night but extremely peaceful. I headed to bed early that night and woke up the next morning thinking about what I hope to do after my time abroad. Overall, I appreciate the moment outside of Seoul to detox and reflect on my abroad experience.