Temple food

A journey into Korea with Temple Food

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo showcases a global industry of Temple food grown out of the traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices of Buddhism.

One of the best ways of experiencing a country is through its cuisine.

In South Korea that is via Temple Food, which refers to the cuisine of Buddhist monks and nuns and is considered one of the ways to exercise the teachings of Buddha.

According to the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, Temple Food includes the growing of ingredients, to cooking and eating, as Buddhists hold reverence for all living things and embrace a harmony with nature.

They do not use meat, fish or any artificial flavour enhancers. Five pungent herbs called oshinchae – green onion, garlic, leek, chive, and wild chive – are not allowed in the creation of Temple Food. Practitioners use only seasonal vegetables and soybean paste or soy sauce made by themselves at temples.

Around 130 temples across Korea run Templestay programs and some of them allow you to make your own Temple food dishes. (templestay website: eng.templestay.com)

Temple Food will be one of the highlights of the 2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo (BEXPO) will be held at the Seoul Trade Exhibition & Convention (SETEC) from November 14th to 17th.

Organisers said they are expecting over 70,000 local and foreign visitors, from across Asia, Europe and North America.

The event will feature conferences and speakers led by internationally renowned Buddhism experts, 417 booths and 327 exhibitors. Participants and visitors will come from Canada, USA, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar among other nations.

Ajung Kim, a Vancouver-based filmmaker, said the Expo showcases the diversity of the Buddhism industry, which is a significant cultural component in South Korea that dates back to some 1,700 years ago.

“We have always been striving to share these cultural practices and messages with global audiences,” said Kim, who is in charge of Global Business Development for Mind Design Inc. which has been working with the Seoul International Buddhism Expo committee, since its inception.

“In North America, there is a growing number of people who are adopting the Buddhist meditation and mindful lifestyle, incorporating them in science, medical discoveries and technological innovations,” she said.

Other key events at the 2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo include;

•                The “City Festival”, which will be held in the center of Seoul’s downtown temples and related institutions. The Bongeunsa Temple will provide meditation programs and will also introduce about 60 meditation and healing centers, counselling centres, and ‘temple-stay’ camp options and programs.

•                The main exhibition area consists of three halls. The 1st hall, ‘Joy of Practice – Reboot Your Mind’ will introduce new meditation trends using mobile applications and the latest Artificial Intelligence innovations derived from the Buddhist mindfulness philosophy.

•                ‘Joy of Art – The 7th Buddha Art Festival (BAF)’ will be held in the 2nd hall, where visitors can appreciate Buddhist art in a variety of perspectives and see art works from traditional to modern styles. It will also feature selected works from the Young Artists Contest of the Buddha Art Festival.

•                ‘The Joy of Daily Life’ in Hall 3 is an interior design and product exhibition that provides options for meditation rooms.

•                The Expo also has a ‘Meditation conference’ where you can experience world famous meditation programs like ‘Being with Dying’ where participants can learn how to connect and care for yourself and others. A ‘Mindful Self-Compassion’ session will be held on Nov. 16 on how to take care of yourself with ‘warm awareness’, and the ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ session will be held on Nov. 17th to focus on the control the stress.

Temple food

For more information, please visit the website (bexpo.kr).

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