Korean Zen monasteries are often renowned for their discipline and the seriousness with which they take practice, and people who enter the monasteries must bear this mind. It is not at all for the weak-hearted.
This documentary looks at a short-term monastic retreat at the Woljeongsa Temple, which is part of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The participants, both male and female, must ordain and follow the very strict routine for the next month.
Those who sign up do so for a variety of reasons, but most are looking for some sort of discipline and insight into their lives, and the tough living at the monastery often brings them face to face with their own shortcomings. The question is: can they overcome them?
One of the difficulties is the temple food, which is vegetarian and tends to be less appealing to what they are used to in the world outside. Whether they can overcome their desires in such a matter as food therefore becomes a central problem in their short stay.
There are many other insights the participants must face up to in the programme, and although some inevitably drop out, the ones that stay go home with more confidence in themselves and their future.
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