• Gyeongsangnam-do

    Geumwangsa Temple – 금왕사 (Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple Layout Geumwangsa Temple is a modern temple with not much of a history in Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. Geumwangsa Temple is located to the north of Mt. Geumsan (704.9 m) at the entry of the valley that leads up to Boriam Herimtage. The temple also enjoys a beautiful view of the sea off in the distance to the west. And the ascent towards the temple grounds is rather steep; but when you finally do arrive, you’ll be welcomed by the fan-like folds of the mountain where Geumwangsa Temple is precariously placed. After climbing a steep set of stairs, you’ll be looking towards the modern Daeung-jeon Hall, which also acts as the…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Seokgolsa Temple – 석골사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Seokgolsa Temple is located in a long valley west of Mt. Unmunsan (1,188 m) in northeastern Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do. It’s believed that Seokgolsa Temple was first founded by the monk Beheo-seonsa in 560 A.D. It was later re-established in 773 A.D. by the monk Beopjo. Throughout the years, Seokgolsa Temple has gone by a few different names including Nojeonsa Temple, Seokdongsa Temple, and Seokgulsa Temple. In fact, it’s believed that the temple was originally called Seokgulsa Temple, or “Stone Cave Temple” in English; however, because of the local dialect, and the way that this was pronounced, it changed to Seokgolsa Temple over time. Seokgolsa Temple was also a base…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Maneosa Temple – 만어사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple Myth The founding of Maneosa Temple appears in the Samguk Yusa, or Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms in English. According to the Samguk Yusa, “In an antique record it is written that the site of Maneosa Temple was formerly called Mt. Jaseongsan or Mt. Ayasasan. Nearby was Garakuk [The Gaya Conferacy], where an egg descended from heaven on the seacoast from which came a man who ruled over that country. This was King Suro [of Geumgwan Gaya, 42?-199 A.D.]. “In those days there was a poisonous dragon in the mountains which lived in a jade pond and carried on with five female Nachal [Rakshasa] on the sapphire waves, calling…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Seongdeokam Hermitage – 성덕암 (Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Seongdeokam Hermitage is located in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do. More specifically, it’s located on the north-eastern slopes of Mt. Daegoksan (516.8 m). Seongdeokam Hermitage was first built in 1933 by the monk Baekyongseong – 백용성. The hermitage was built for the well-being of local fishermen and townspeople, which makes sense, since it’s located so close to the Masan harbor. Currently, Seongdeokam Hermitage is home to ten different buildings, gates, and shrines spread throughout the entire grounds. Like most new temples, Seongdeokam Hermitage continues to expand and grow. Hermitage Layout After navigating your way down some local side-streets, you’ll finally be welcomed to Seongdeokam Hermitage by a three-in-one modern shrine hall.…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Munsuam Hermitage – 문수암 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Munsuam Hermitage is located in western Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do. The hermitage is named after Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). Munsuam Hermitage was first established in 688 A.D., when the famed monk Uisang-daesa (625 – 702 A.D.) built it. Uisang-daesa was led to the top of Mt. Muesan (545.6 m) by Munsu-bosal and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). The two Bodhisattvas appeared as beggars to Uisang-daesa. Uisang-daesa had a dream in which a Buddhist devotee foretold the coming of these two Bodhisattvas. Outside of the hermitage’s foundation, very little is known about it through the centuries. The hermitage shrine halls are modern creations, and the stupa (budo) that houses the…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Hongjeam Hermitage – 홍제암 (Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Hongjeam Hermitage is located in the heart of Gayasan National Park just outside Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do. The hermitage is directly associated with the famed Haeinsa Temple. The hermitage was first built in 1608 for the warrior monk Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610). The hermitage was built as a sign of appreciation for all of Samyeong-daesa’s efforts during the Imjin War (1592-1598) by King Seonje of Joseon (r. 1567 – 1608). Samyeong-daesa would spend the remainder of his days at Hongjeam Hermitage. The name of the hermitage comes from the posthumous title bestowed upon Samyeong-daesa. The posthumous title Samyeong-daesa received was that of Jatong Hongje-jonja. This title was given to Samyeong-daesa by King…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Bokcheonjeongsa Temple – 복천정사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History It’s not often that you find an abandoned Korean Buddhist temple. When you do, it’s a haunting reminder of the passage of time and that time waits for no one and nothing. In my time in Korea, and during my travels to some five hundred temples, I think I’ve only ever encountered three abandoned Korean Buddhist temples. Bokcheonjeongsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do is located high up on Mt. Togoksan (855 m) about two hundred metres below the peak. Bokcheonjeongsa Temple formerly belonged to the Cheontae-jong Order. And the temple appears to have been abandoned some time around 2014, probably with the passing of the head monk at Bokcheonjeongsa…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Cheonbulsa Temple – 천불사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Cheonbulsa Temple is located to the north-east of Mt. Yongcheonsan (544.7 m) in the eastern part of Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The name of the temple means “Heavenly Buddha Temple” in English, and it was originally constructed in 1974. Cheonbulsa Temple’s name refers to the energy of the temple that it gets from the heavenly realm of Tushita. When the head monk at Cheonbulsa Temple wanted to build a temple, he held a memorial service for one thousand days in a cave at Yaksuam Hermitage near Baekyangsa Temple in Gwangju. During this memorial service, the head monk received a divine revelation. In this revelation, he learned that he should find…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Yeoyeojeongsa Temple – 여여정사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Yeoyeojeongsa Temple is located on the western slopes of Mt. Geumosan (766.1 m) in southern Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do. The name of the temple means “Watch, Listen, and Act With a Still Mind Temple” in English. The head monk at Yeoyeojeongsa Temple first opened a temple in Busan in 1995. He called this temple Yeoyeoseonwon Temple. Then, in 2005, he bought some land in Miryang, where he decided to build Yeoyeojeongsa Temple. And it would take a decade and a half to complete the temple. Temple Layout As you make your way up to the temple parking lot, you’ll pass by four stone statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. Having…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Ilbungsa Temple – 일붕사 (Uiryeong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Ilbungsa Temple is located in the rural and remote Uiryeong, Gyeongsangnam-do. And just to the south-west, you’ll find Mt. Seonamsan (528 m). For a Korean Buddhist temple, Ilbungsa Temple is uniquely situated next to the Yugok-cheon River in front of a sheer rock cliff wall. In 727 A.D., the monk Hyecho returned to the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) from a Buddhist pilgrimage to both China and India. During his travels, Hyecho had a dream in which Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) appeared. Jijang-bosal appeared in the Buddhist monk’s dream, while smiling peacefully on a cliff surrounded by rocks of fantastic shapes and sizes. In…