Temple etiquette

Dress in the temple should be clean, neat and conservative. One should avoid bright colored clothes, outlandish clothes, heavy makeup, strong perfume and excessive accessories. One should not wear revealing clothing such as sleeveless tops, mini skirts and short shorts. Bare feet are not allowed in the temple.

What not to do at the temple

Atemple is a sacred place for worshipping the Buddha, is a place where monks and nuns live and practice. So, making loud noises, drinking alcohol, smoking inside the temple are strongly prohibited. Pagodas, stupas, stone lanterns or any other sculptures are all religious objects. Therefore, sitting or writing graffiti on them are considered disrespectful and are not allowed.

How to greet the others

Facing palms together is a standard way of greetings in the temple. In Korea, we call it ‘Hap-jang.’ When you do hapjang, you place your palms together in front of the chest. To greet someone, hold palms together and bow down. Putting our palms together means ‘center one’s mind’ and ‘you and I are not two separate beings but one.’


When walking around the temple, you should do ‘Cha-su.’ It means putting the right hand across the top of the left with your right thumb locked under the left, and placing them near the lower abdomen. It is the primary position at the temple.

In the Buddha’s Hall

Use the doors on the left or right to enter a Buddha’s Hall. The main door in the middle is for monks and nuns only. If you enter the hall, first, do a half-bow with palms together toward the Buddha and then greet the statue with three prostrations. You should not talk too loud in the hall. And if someone is praying in the hall, be careful not to bother him or her. You can light incense or a candle to worship the Buddha and Bodhisattva.