An Overnight Stay at a Korean Temple
In theory, an overnight stay at a Korean temple sounds like the perfect activity for anyone struggling to escape the pressures of modern life. You’ll meditate, you’ll learn about Buddhism, you’ll go vegetarian. Concerns and cares will slip away as you drift into a blissful state of conscious awareness.
Unfortunately, that’s not what it’s like.
I signed up for one of these sleepovers through a program called Templestay. Created in 2002 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism — the largest Buddhist order in Korea — the Templestay program aims to allow visitors to “sample ordained lifestyle and experience the mental training and cultural experience of Korea’s ancient … Read more »
With millions of followers and meditation centers spanning the globe, Bangkok’s Dhammakaya Buddhist movement has grand aims. Lately, it has set its sights on hosting some of the world’s largest, most visually arresting ceremonies, sometimes drawing 100,000 or more orange-robed monks to a dazzling gold-topped temple called Wat Phra Dhammakaya that even some members concede looks like a giant flying saucer.
Yet, despite such pageantry—not to mention coverage on Dhammakaya’s own 24-hour satellite TV network—the inner workings of this fast-growing movement remain as little known to the general public in Thailand, and elsewhere, as its teachings loom large in the lives of legions of devotees. It began in 1970 as a tiny movement aiming to … Read more »