• Artwork

    Yeongsan-jeon – Vulture Peak Hall: 영산전

    Hello Again Everyone!! Another one of the more obscure shrine halls that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple is the Yeongsan-jeon Hall. The name Yeongsan-jeon means “Vulture Peak Hall,” in English. The hall is meant to symbolically re-enact the Historical Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul, seated on Vulture Peak. It’s on Vulture Peak that Seokgamoni-bul espoused his central ideas and teachings found in the Lotus Sutra, or the “묘법연화경” (Myobeop Yeonhwa-gyeong; short: Beophwa gyeong), in Korean. In the Lotus Sutra, which is regarded as one of the most important and influential sutras in Mahayana Buddhism, Seokgamoni-bul presents the ultimate truth of life. The central idea found in the Lotus Sutra is that…

  • Jeollabuk-do

    Naesosa Temple – 내소사 (Buan, Jeollabuk-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Naesosa Temple, which means “Come Revive Temple,” in English, is located in Buan, Jeollabuk-do. Naesosa Temple is located just south of Gwaneum-bong (Gwanseeum-bosal Peak) in the southern part of Byeonsan Bando National Park. Naesosa Temple was first established in 633 A.D. by the monk Hyegu-duta in the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). At that time, two temples were built. They were Daesoraesa Temple and Sosoraesa Temple. Daesoraesa Temple was later destroyed by fire, and all that remained of the two was Sosoraesa Temple. There’s a story that states that So Jeong-bang, a general from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) visited Naesosa Temple and served as…

  • Artwork

    Jong-ru – The Bell Pavilion: 종루

    Hello Again Everyone!! One of the most universally found structures at a Korean Buddhist temple, outside the main hall, is the bell pavilion. In Korean, the bell pavilion is known as the Jong-ru – 종루. Typically, a Korean temple’s bell pavilion is open in design, and it’s usually found at the entry of a temple. A temple’s bell pavilion can range in size and height. Sometimes, they are simple one story structures; and other times, they are two stories in height. With that being said, a standard Korean Buddhist bell pavilion has four different percussion instruments. Together, these four percussion instruments are known as the Buljeon Samul, in Korean. This…

  • Gangwon-do

    Jeongamsa Temple – 정암사 (Gohan, Gangwon-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Jeongamsa Temple is one of the temples that’s considered a Jeokmyeol-bogung, which is a temple established by Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.) to house the sari (crystallized remains) of the Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Jeokmyeol-bogung means “Silent Nirvana Treasure Palace,” in English. In total, there are four other temples that still exist to this day that are also considered Jeokmyeol-bogung. They are Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do; Beopheungsa Temple in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do; Sajaam Hermitage in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do; and Bongjeongam Hermitage in Inje, Gangwon-do. There is an additional Jeokmyeol-bogung that once existed at Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple in Gyeongju, but it was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of 1238. Of the six…

  • Artwork

    Cheonbul-jeon – The One Thousand Buddhas Hall: 천불전

    Hello Again Everyone!! One of the more obscure shrine halls that you might find at a Korean Buddhist temple is the Cheonbul-jeon, which means “One Thousand Buddhas Hall,” in English. Because of just how well-populated this shrine hall is, it’s one of the easier shrine halls to identify at a Korean Buddhist temple. With that being said, why are there, in fact, one thousand Buddha statues in this type of shrine hall? And why is the the Cheonbul-jeon Hall at a Korean Buddhist temple. The practice of worshiping one thousand incarnations of the Buddha is based upon Mahayana Buddhism, which Korean Buddhism largely ascribes to. The one thousand Buddhas are…

  • Gangwon-do

    Guryongsa Temple – 구룡사 (Wonju, Gangwon-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Guryongsa Temple is located in Chiaksan National Park in Wonju, Gangwon-do. Guryongsa Temple is specifically located to the north of the highest peak in the park, Biro-bong (1288m), in a long valley. Guryongsa Temple was first founded by the famed monk, and temple builder, Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) in 668 A.D. The name of the temple, Guryongsa Temple, originally meant “Nine Dragons Temple,” in English. And this name comes from the creation myth that surrounds the temple. Uisang-daesa, after walking several kilometres, found a location for a new temple in the folds of Mt. Chiaksan. However, this location was already occupied by a pond, which potentially prevented Uisang-daesa…

  • Gangwon-do

    Beopheungsa Temple – 법흥사 (Yeongwol, Gangwon-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Beopheungsa Temple, which means “Dharma Promotion Temple,” in English, is located in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do. Specifically, Beopheungsa Temple is situated on the southern slopes of Mt. Sajasan (1,180.4 m), or “Lion Mountain,” in English, just east of Chiaksan National Park. Beopheungsa Temple was first established under the name Heungnyeongsa Temple, which means “Prosperous Peaceful Temple,” in English, by the famed monk Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.) in 643 A.D. The temple was first established by Jajang-yulsa to house the sari (crystallized remains) of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Alongside six other historic sites in Korea, five of which are still in existence, they are known as Jeokmyeol-bogung, or “Silent Nirvana Treasure…

  • Artwork

    Josa-jeon – The Founder’s Hall: 조사전

    Hello Again Everyone!! Another shrine hall that you might find at a Korean Buddhist temple, especially a temple that’s larger in size or had a venerated monk, or monks, that once took up residence at the temple, is the Josa-jeon Hall. The word “Josa,” in English, means “patriarch” or “founder.” While the word “jeon” means “hall,” in English. So the Josa-jeon Hall at a Korean Buddhist temple is “The Founder’s/Patriarch’s Hall,” in English. The Josa-jeon Hall can also sometimes be called a Josa-dang Hall, which is just a different honourific term for a shrine hall. So what exactly is this halls purpose and what does a Josa-jeon Hall look like?…

  • Gyeongju

    Sinseonsa Temple – 신선사 (Gyeongju)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Sinseonsa Temple, which means “Spirit Immortal Temple,” in English, is located on Mt. Danseoksan (827m). Mt. Danseoksan, which means “Cut Rock Mountain,” in English, is the tallest mountain in Gyeongju. Mt. Danseoksan is away from the downtown core in the northwest part of Gyeongju. The name of the mountain was originally Mt. Jungaksan during part of the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). However, the mountain came to be known as Mt. Danseoksan when Kim Yushin (595-673 A.D.), at the age of fifteen in 610 A.D., became a hwarang (an elite group of Silla warrior group). Kim Yushin entered the mountain with the hope of unifying…

  • Artwork

    Chilseong-gak – The Seven Stars Hall: 칠성각

    Hello Again Everyone!! Another popular shaman deity that you can find at a Korean Buddhist temple is Chilseong, or “The Seven Stars,” in English. Chilseong is Taoist in origins. Originally, Chilseong governed human affairs and fortunes. Unlike Sanshin who has maintained its shamanic independence, Chilseong has been thoroughly absorbed into Buddhism as each of the seven stars in the constellation have ascended to Bodhisattva status. Even Bukseong, “The North Star,” in English, the figure with the large elongated head that’s usually situated in the top corner of the Chilseong mural, is a Bodhisattva, as well. You can find Chilseong in a few locations at a Korean Buddhist temple. Most commonly,…