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Monks Meditating | © sellyourseoul / Flickr
Monks Meditating | © sellyourseoul / Flickr
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The Top Meditation Retreats in Seoul

Picture of Linda Dunsmore
Updated: 22 March 2017

It is no surprise that in a country where nearly half the population belongs to the Buddhist faith, one can find plenty of options to engage in some form of meditation. Thus, if you are seeking a sense of balance and well-being, here are the top nine meditation retreats you should give a try in Seoul.

Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center

Korean and foreign monks lead Seon meditation practices at Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center just outside of Seoul on a quiescent island. As if that does not sound attractive enough, the monks and laypeople put great emphasis on independent cultivation and are eager to pass on their values and meditation skills to interested people from around the world. They temple stay program has been in place for more than 18 years and is available in English, Russian, and Korean.

349-60, Ganghwadong-ro, Gilsang-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon, South Korea

Bongeun-sa

You don’t need to leave Seoul to get a piece of quiet. Bongeunsa Temple was founded in 794 and is located in Gangnam, right across from the busy COEX Mall and Exhibition Center. Here, you will find one of the most popular templestay programs in the country. The stay can take from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on how much time you want to commit. What’s also interesting is that there are a great selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the vicinity of this temple in Gangnam.

531 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Jogye-sa

The headquarters of the Korea Buddhist Jogye Order, Jogye-sa is one of the largest and most important temples in Seoul. Locals and foreign visitors come here to learn about Buddhism and practice Seon meditation. On top of that, the templestay program also includes traditional tea ceremonies, baru gongyang (monastic diet), lantern marking, and traditional scripture printing. Jogye-sa is located in Insadong and offers templestay programs year-round.

55 Ujeongguk-ro, Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

The Seoul International Zen Center

With the intention of enabling everyone to find their true nature, Seon Master Seung Sahn created the Seoul International Zen Center years back. Located at Hwagye-sa Temple on Samgak Mountain, the center also offers amazing views of the city allowing visitors to fully step back from the hectic city life. If you decide to stay at the center, meditation is practiced in the mornings and evenings. During the day, all participants go about various different chores.

487 Su Yu 1 Dong, Kang Buk Gu, 142-071 Seoul, South Korea

Dhamma Korea Vipassana Center

If you are more interested in practicing Vipassana meditation, Dhamma Korea can help with that. The non-profit organization offers various courses on meditation at their local center in Seoul. Vipassana (lit. ‘to see things as they really are’) has its origins in India and dates back over 2,500 years. If you are ready to change your life, join the ten-day course.

520-5 Deokcheon-ri, Maryeong-myeon, Jinan-gun, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

Ananda Marga Yoga & Meditation Center

The global spiritual center Ananda Marga has two locations in South Korea. One is located in beautiful Jeollabukdo Province and the other in the capital of Seoul. The center is passionate about combining devoted activities with natural surroundings. The center holds a number of meditation and yoga classes for any level and time frame: yoga classes, meditation instruction, yoga detox retreats, one-day wellness seminars, and spiritual retreats in nature.

No. B03 D Garden villa, 168-53 Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Buddhist Library

For those who do not want to go to an actual temple to take meditation classes, we recommend the Buddhist Library in Seoul. Here, classes on meditation and Buddhism are held in both English and Korean. Visitors can also borrow various English books on spirituality, meditation, and Buddhism at the library and study them.

58 Susong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Seoul Shambhala Meditation Group

The guides at Seoul Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Group do not only lead first-class meditation sessions but also organize interesting discussions on Buddhist books in English. The group meets on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sunday of every month between 1:30pm and 4:30pm. They are always happy to welcome new members or those who would like to test the waters.

Naksan Myogaksa

The monks and laypeople at Naksan Myogaksa promise to help you find your true self when commiting to their temple stay program. Through meditation sessions, visitors are led through 1,700 years of Korean Buddhist culture. The program focuses on the 108 prostrations, a practice that will help you find peace of your mind.

178-3 Sungin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea