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‘Flower monk,’ social media’s latest sensation

By No Kyung-min

Published : Sept. 6, 2023 - 16:03

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Venerable Beomjeong, also known as Venerable Beomjeong, also known as "kkot seunim (flower monk)" (Courtesy of Venerable Beomjeong's Instagram)

A young Buddhist monk with a strong social media presence has created a sensation by selling out tickets to a temple tour program.

According to the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, a free nighttime tour of Hwaeomsa, which accepts 22 participants on a first-come, first-served basis, was fully booked in about four hours after booking opened.

The program includes a tea time session with Venerable Beomjeong, who belongs to the temple located on Jirisan Mountain in South Jeolla Province.

Venerable Beomjeong is known online by his nickname "kkot seunim (flower monk).”

The young monk has cultivated a following of more than 23,000 followers on Instagram --particularly among individuals in their 20s and 30s -- where he shares his daily monastic life.

His Instagram bio explains the origin of his nickname, which reads, "The practitioner is a flower and should be a flower, someone who emits the deepest scent to others. Thus, I aspire to be a flower."

The Korean word for flower, kkot, when used to describe a man, particularly a young man, carries the meaning of “pretty” or “having delicate facial features.”

The emergence of an Instagram influencer monk coincides with the religion’s efforts to reach out to younger generations via social media and various other avenues. Hwaeomsa has been offering a range of programs to attract young people, including a flower photo contest, yoga competitions and a film music festival.

Hwaeomsa plans to accept an additional 18 participants in the sold-out nighttime tour program, with registration opening on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the official website of the Jogye Order.

Buddhist monks and participants pose for a photo during the Hwayamong temple program at Hwayeomsa in South Jeolla Province. (Courtesy of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism) Buddhist monks and participants pose for a photo during the Hwayamong temple program at Hwayeomsa in South Jeolla Province. (Courtesy of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism)