HALA Home >
Frequently Asked Questions
- What if I am Not a Buddhist?
The program is open to anybody who wants to learn a new
perspective in life, take a break from the world they are used
to, or who wants to cultivate spiritually, no matter what the
religion is. The way of life in this program is based on
Buddhist traditions but as long as the entrant is open-minded,
there will be No conflict of beliefs.
- Am I going to become a monk after?
No. Monastic training is longer and more difficult. This
program is only to share what Fo Guang Shan monastic life is
like and for people to appreciate the simple way of living.
However, if one finds him or her in the path to monastic life,
this is also a good place to start.
- Do I have to shave my head?
Can you give us an idea on what a day in the temple would
The usual day in the temple is waking up to the sound of a
woodblock at 6:00 AM, and proceeding to the main shrine for
morning chanting. Breakfast follows, then a formal class
(Mandarin and/or Buddhism) with a monastic, then lunch. All
meals are silent. After lunch, there is time for walking
meditation and rest. An afterNoon class is next, then personal
time to shower, wash clothes, and clean rooms. Temple work will
be scheduled assignments to help in the kitchen, keep the garden
or temple grounds, or other tasks. Dinner will be called at 6:00
PM. After which, an evening class follows and meditation.
Everyone will be called to bed at 10PM. There will be days of
the week with different schedules, depending on the occasion.
Some days will have special workshops on artwork, music,
cooking, gardening, events preparation (for example, Buddha's
Birthday in May), etc. Every Sunday is a rest day (No classes
but it will be time for cleaning own rooms, personal study,
- I've read that temple stays include alms rounds and
once-a-day meals. Is that going to happen in this program?
No. There will be three meals in a day and No alms rounds
will be done.
- Will I be isolated from the outside world?
In many ways, yes, because you will Not be going outside the
temple gates (unless absolutely necessary) or owning your own
communication device. However since Humanistic Buddhism involves
people and culture, you will see visitors or practicing
Buddhists come to the temple and there may be occasions you need
to interact with them. Also, because of cultural differences, in
the Philippine program, the entrants will be allowed 1-2 hours
weekly to use the temple computer to communicate with family and
friends online). An entrant can choose Not to have contact at
- Will I pay anything for the program?
Food, clothing (monastic uniform), shoes, and living
accommodations will be provided without any charge. However you
shall provide your own undergarments and personal hygiene
requirements (soap, toothpaste, etc.) and if they run out the
temple will set a place inside where you can buy them. Upon
acceptance, the entrant shall arrange his own travel means to
Bacolod Yuan Thong Temple and Manila Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay
- What do I need to bring?
As mentioned, you should bring undergarments, personal
hygiene and medical requirements. During your free day, you may
wear regular clothes that observe temple dress code. Bring long
pants and t-shirts. Revealing clothes such as sleeveless, short
skirts/ shorts are Not allowed. You may also bring your camera
- Is the program only for Filipinos?
No. Other nationalities are welcome. However foreign
applicants need to shoulder their own travel expenses and visa
requirements. The office shall be Notified when a students need
to extend his/her visa.
- After three months, what will happen?
By the end of the program, we hope you have a basic grasp on
the Mandarin language and able to make simple conversations.
Some people take years to learn how to speak and even more to
read and write, but for the best performing students, the temple
can look for opportunities in further studies or employment
placement in Taiwan ROC. The results of the program depend
largely on the students' capacity and determination to learn. It
is to be made clear that after the program, there are No
obligations to Fo Guang Shan whatsoever.
Why are there two venues? (Bacolod and Manila)
The program will start in Bacolod Yuan Thong
Temple. Midway, the entrants will travel
to Manila Mabuhay Temple and continue the program there. This
change of environment will be beneficial to the students as they
learn how to adjust to a different temple location.