<Temple stay in Yoongjusa : A very special journey of concentration and meditation>
Yoongjusa is a temple that king Jongjo built to honor his father, Prince Sado. This Temple provides special journey called the Temple Stay. Temple stay is a program to find what we really need. It can be about religious, monastic experience, or retreat. I would say 'a journey to find your ownself'. Usually temple stay programs recommend spending one or several days to take a complete rest. However, for someone who cannot afford all day, there is a program for half day too. I will introduce this one for busy citizens in Suwon. The specific information for reservation and program is on the website. (https://www.templestay.com/reserv_temple.aspx?ProgramId=7688)
After arriving at Youngjusa, people gather in the hall and change to a gown, a modified Hanbok. Each person gets a huge cushion and listen to the instructor who explains about the process of the temple stay and other notifications. They also provide English instruction for foreigners too.
Firstly, we learn about Buddhist etiquette. Greeting and bowing is the main etiquette. The proper ways to Cha-su, Hap-jang(putting hands together) and Go-Do-Rye prepares us to meet the monk with the posture of honor.
Secondly, we look around the temple. Instructor explains every places in the temple.
She tells us about the part we might miss if we do not know which includes historical stories.
If we are lucky we may be able to see the real Buddhist events. While walking around, we can take photos but we should not be loud or fussy.
Thirdly, we get to have a lunch called Valu Gongyang. Valu Gongyang is about offering equality that all people are equally served . It is the most Eco-Friendly table manner that by taking only what you can have and wasting no food, you can offer others to be served. During the meal, we cannot make any sounds, but only completing the food prepared when they give a signal.
One takes proper amount by oneself and eat without any leftovers, not even a tiny little piece. When it is done, we wash the dishes with pickled radish and water. At last, we have to eat and drink those too. If there is anything left, it will kill the Monkfish. We learn how important the food is, and the beauty of appreciation.
Lastly, we meditate and finish up by drinking a hot tea. The monk leads us to psychiatry and physical stability. While drinking a tea, people gather and ask questions to monk about their curiosity. Some will be able to get the answer of what they are struggle for.
This is how Temple stay is like. It surely makes us to see the deep down part of our minds, which was ignored because of busy life. Maybe half day might not be enough to experience the whole spirit of the temple. As there are many more organized overnight programs, I recommend you to take another journey!