Temple-Stay in South Korea: A Wellness Journey amid Happiness Crisis


Kyoim Yun (University of Kansas)

This presentation examines Temple-Stay, a short-term retreat program held for lay persons at Buddhist monasteries, in the context of the prevailing social malaise and happiness discourse in South Korea. Based on ethnographic research and an examination of the history, marketing, and program content of Temple-Stay, this study shows that its popularity in the early twenty-first century has been due to effective marketing of the program as a healing experience and to the perceived need for such a commodity. It then discusses both the dangers and opportunities that the marketization of the program presents to the Buddhist establishment and lay participants.

Part of 24-03 Searching for Healing in South Korea: In Loving Memory of Roger L. Janelli, Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm