With the aim of encouraging and promoting templestay programs, the Korean Buddhist Cultural Foundation honored 52 temples across South Korea on Tuesday for their effective programs.
The Korean Buddhist Cultural Foundation held an award ceremony at Jogyesa in central Seoul to recognize temples that had operated outstanding templestay programs in 2018.
Templestay programs, popular among locals and foreign tourists alike, are one- or two-day opportunities to learn about Buddhism through hands-on cultural activities.
Participants often chat with monks, take part in traditional tea ceremonies, make lotus lanterns and perform 108 prostrations or bows.
The foundation, under the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, is in charge of arranging templestay programs for many temples across the nation. On Tuesday, it handed out awards to 52 temples after assessing the popularity of their programs, how well they were managed, the effectiveness of their promotional activities and other criteria.
“Every year, more people, including foreign tourists, are participating in templestay programs,” said the foundation’s head monk, Ven. Wonkyung. “Templestay has become a representative tourism content for Korea. Now it is time to think about the quality, rather than just the quantity.”
Around 13 temples received 2 million won ($1,769) each in cash prizes in recognition of their excellent programs. They included the International Seon Center, Geumseonsa, Naksansa, Baekdamsa, Beopjusa, Bongseonsa, Bongeunsa, Bulguksa, Songgwangsa (Suncheon), Yongmunsa (Yangpyeong), Jingwansa, Hwagesa and Hwaeomsa.
Another 33 temples received 1.5 million won each.
Six temples were awarded 1 million won each for excellence in various areas including service, accounting and online promotions.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong will visit Jingwansa in western Seoul to experience temple foods along with his wife and staffers from the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, according to the Korean Buddhist Cultural Foundation.
For more information on templestay programs, visit the official website at www.eng.templestay.com
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org