Experience the Beauty of Korean Buddhism in Jogyesa
Located in Seoul, Jogyesa (조계사 曹溪寺) is the centre of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
Given that it’s the centre of the biggest Buddhist sect in South Korea, Jogyesa is easily one of the biggest and grandest temples in Seoul.
Not only that, but the temple is beautifully decorated and adorned with elaborate designs.
Tours are also offered in various temples around Korea, Jogyesa is no exception and have tours in both Korean and English.
Below are pictures of Daeungjeon 대웅전 大雄殿 Hall, one of the centre pieces of Jogyesa! The interior is filled with golden majestic statues of the Buddhas and a surreal silence permeates the room amidst whispered prayers of Buddhists religiously completing their rituals with graceful bows and kneeling. It’s a pretty different feeling of Buddhism as we know it in Singapore.
Other parts of the temple are equally brilliant in design but have their own styles.
The temples are tourist friendly and you may partake in some of the prayers or customs!
There’s a tall grey tower with carvings of deities facing all directions in middle of the courtyard within the temple grounds. Even though not stated on any description plate nearby, everyone, including Caucasian tourists, started to circle around it, bowing to each deity.
You can even find snippets of information around the place.
Take a picture underneath this ancient tree dating back to hundreds of years ago!
If you choose, you can even stay for a few days. Temple stay is a common practice in South Korea should you wish to experience the cultural and spiritual side of the country. There, you can experience the lifestyle of those who live there.
More often than not, they tend to have unique and interesting customs that align heavily with Buddhism. These could include not wasting food, and appreciating silence and a peaceful environment.
For those interested, here’s the Korean Templestay website, it’s in English so don’t worry!
There are various other temples you might want to check out like the HaeInSa Temple in Daegu, which is also in the list of the UNESCO Korea’s World Cultural Heritage Program since it’s the oldest temple in Korea still preserving the original copy of the Tripitaka scriptures.
Snoop around the temple stay websites and have a look! Like they said, choose a temple you think would fit the experience you want to enjoy.