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.
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.
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.
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.
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.