PGA champion Yang to lead youth templestay program
By Kwaak Je-yup
PGA Tour golfer Yang Yong-eun, the first Asian to win a major championship, will mix Buddhist teachings and golf techniques this weekend to promote the Templestay program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
The two-day session, starting Saturday will take place at Silleuk Temple in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, and will invite 20 young golfers to join Yang. The amateur athletes will also receive golf lessons from Yang.
The Templestay program allows non-monk and/or non-believing outsiders to get a glimpse of life within the temples. In most cases they stay overnight. Some highlights include prayer rituals and meditation under the guidance of resident Buddhist monks.
The program’s organizers said that Buddhist training and golf share the goal of mental balance and strength and that this commonality inspired them to recruit Yang as the goodwill ambassador in October 2011.
Having started as a small operation, Templestay is now available at several locations nationwide and is organized by the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, an affiliate of the country’s largest Jogye Order.
Ven. Jihyun, director of the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, has given Yang the Buddhist name “Moo Baek.” Yang has been a devout Buddhist since his youth. The name means to “make the world beautiful with bold actions.”
“Yang has been active in promoting Korea abroad. We believe he will make a great contribution to disseminating traditional Korean culture through the Templestay program,” Ven. Jihyun said in a statement.
Yang has won two career PGA titles, including most notably the 2009 PGA Championship where he came from behind to defeat Tiger Woods.