• 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…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Seonjisa Temple – 선지사 (Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Seonjisa Temple is located in the western part of Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do to the south of Mt. Gyeongunsan (377.2 m). Seonjisa Temple was officially registered as a temple with the Korean government in 2007. The name of Seonjisa Temple is in reference to the local town, Seonji. It is also the name of a local pond called Seonji, as well. Before 2007, it’s believed by some that there had been a temple on the Seonjisa Temple grounds until it fell into disrepair and disappeared altogether. For nearly thirty years, this temple was nothing more than a tent that the head monk lived in. Two lay women, or “bosal” in…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Seoamjeongsa Temple – 서암정사 (Hamyang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Seoamjeongsa Temple is located in Hamyang, Gyeongsangnam-do in the northern part of Jirisan National Park. Seoamjeongsa Temple was built over a thirty year period starting in 1989. The temple is most famous for the cave Geukrak-jeon Hall. The cave was built by the monk Woneung to appease the spirits of those that were killed during the Korean War (1950-1953). Purportedly, this part of Mt. Jirisan (1,915 m) has a horrible history of death and misery related to the Korean War. When the monk Woneung was travelling around this part of the mountain, he heard the cries of numerous dead spirits that had lost their lives during the Korean…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Cheonggoksa Temple – 청곡사 (Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Cheonggoksa Temple is located in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do on the southern slopes of Mt. Wolasan (468.9 m). Cheonggoksa Temple was first built in 879 A.D. by the famed monk Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). Doseon-guksa is perhaps best known for his geomancy methods, or “Pungsu-jiri” in Korean. And the location of Cheonggoksa Temple was chosen according to Pungsu-jiri. After watching a blue crane fly from the banks of the Nam River and land on the present temple location of Cheonggoksa Temple, Doseon-guksa knew that the location had divine energy because of the topography’s numerous auspicious signs. So Doseon-guksa decided to build a temple on the location where the blue crane had…