Foreign language contest for monks to be held next week

September 3, 2015
(Korea Times file)

(Korea Times file)

How good are monks at English?

Intuitively, they would not need to study the language, as Buddhist scriptures are in Chinese characters, and monks mostly spend their time in temples, away from the brouhaha of worldly life.

But this is an outdated thought _ monks these days lead lives that are hardly different from those of busy city dwellers, as the monks study to ready themselves for the era of globalization.

A contest next week will reveal their proficiency in foreign languages.

Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism’s education center is hosting its first foreign language speech contest for monks enrolled there.

The preliminary round will be on Sept. 15 and the final round on Oct. 14.

The topics, unsurprisingly, include Buddhist teachings, culture and temple life.

Forty-five monks have registered  – 27 for English, seven for Chinese, eight for Japanese and three for Korean.

Korean is included because there are foreign monks.

The Korean contest will be held on the sidelines of the competition.

The winner will be awarded 3 million won (about $2,700), and the first runner-up 1.5 million won.

The education center designated introductory and intermediate English as compulsory courses since 2012, in an attempt to help Korean Buddhism become globalized.

Chinese and Japanese have been electoral courses.

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