Many temples in Korea operate mind-healing programs which are closely related to Korean traditional culture and Buddhism. Those programs are not necessarily religious. Most are designed for participants to seek out spiritual refreshment and mental peace.
For those who are interested in having a bit of mindfulness retreat in Seoul while traveling, I recommend Bongeunsa Temple mainly because it is located in the heart of Seoul. You do not have to spend hours on the road to get to remote temples in the mountains. Bongeunsa is only 150 meters away from Bongeunsa Temple Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 9). This area is the commercial and business hub of Seoul yet the temple is quiet enough to have spiritual experience.
History of Bongeunsa
Bongeunsa was founded in 794 and reconstructed in 1498. It became the head temple of Korean Seon, the Korean variant of Chan Buddhism, in the 16th century. Many parts of the temple were burnt down in 1939 and more parts were damaged during the Korean War. Repairs and renovations have been carried out and it is now a large complex again with 3,479 Buddhist scriptures, Korean Treasure no. 321 and no. 1819 and a few dozens of Seoul`s tangible cultural properties.
It operates a two day program which begins at 2 pm on the first day and ends at 9.30 am next day. If you want to participate in the program as an individual, then it is only possible to join the program on the fourth weekend of each month. It is 70,000 won per person and accommodations, meals and workshops are included in the price. The basic program includes temple tours, Zen meditation, tea ceremonies, monastic meals, etc.
This is for those who want to have a glimpse of Buddhist culture. It is a two hour program and costs 20,000 won. A temple tour, a tea ceremony, meditation and a lotus flower making workshop are included. Reservation is not necessary for the Thursday program which starts at 2 pm and ends at 4.30 pm.
Address : 531, Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours : 365 days a year
Website : bongeunsa.org (Korean only), bongeunsa.org:91 (Temple Stay, English)
Transportation : Bongeunsa Temple Station (Seoul Subway Line 9) Exit 1.