• Jeollanam-do

    Taeansa Temple – 태안사 (Gokseong, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Taeansa Temple, which is located on Mt. Bongdusan (753.8 m), or Mt. Dongrisan (as the temple calls this mountain), in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do. And even though it’s several kilometres away from Mt. Jirisan (1915 m), the temple is still considered part of the greater Mt. Jirisan area. The name of the temple means “Grand Peace Temple,” in English. According to historical documents, Taeansa Temple was first constructed in February, 742 A.D. by three master monks. Later, Great Meditation Master Hyecheol Jeogin-seonsa (785-861 A.D.), who received Buddhist teachings from Grand Master Seodang-jijang of Tang China, returned to the Silla Kingdom. He established Dongrisanmun, which was one of the Gusan…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Daeheungsa Temple – 대흥사 (Haenam, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Daeheungsa Temple, which means “Great Emerging Temple,” in English, is located in Duryunsan Provincial Park on Mt. Duryunsan (700m), which means “Head Wheel Mountain,” in English. The temple is located in the city of Haenam, Jeollanam-do. Because the name of the mountain that Daeheungsa Temple is located on has also been called Mt. Daedunsan (673.4m), the name of the temple has alternated between Daedunsa Temple and Daeheungsa Temple. In 1993, the name of the temple, changed once more, from Daeheungsa Temple back to Daedunsa Temple. Finally, in 2003, it was changed to Daeheungsa Temple, perhaps for good? Throughout the years, the name of the mountain that hosts…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Seonamsa Temple – 선암사 (Suncheon, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Seonamsa Temple means “Immortals Rock Temple,” in English. The name of the temple is in reference to a flat rock west of the temple where Taoist monks used to play baduk (Go). Seonamsa Temple is located on the western side of Jogyesan Provincial Park. And both Seonamsa Temple and Jogyesan Provincial Park are located in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do just like its famous neighbour: Songgwangsa Temple. There are two competing foundation stories as to how Seonamsa Temple was first built. One states that the missionary monk Ado-hwasang built a hermitage that was named Biroam Hermitage (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy Hermitage) in the same location as present day Seonamsa…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Hyangiram Hermitage – 향일암 (Yeosu, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! The coastal temple of Hyangiram Hermitage is located on the very southern tip of Dolsan-do Island in Yeosu, Jeollanam-do. Hyangiram Hermitage is perched in and among the cracks, crags and crevices of Mt. Geumosan (320.8m), which means “Iron Turtle Mountain,” in English. The hermitage was first founded in 644 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). It was here, at Hyangiram Hermitage, that Wonhyo-daesa had a vision of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). Another interesting story pertaining to Wonhyo-daesa relates to a rock called Gyeongjeon-bawi, or “Buddhist Scripture Rock,” in English. This rock is precariously placed on top of other rocks to the rear of the…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Unjusa Temple – 운주사 (Hwasun, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Unjusa Temple is located in rural Hwasun, Jeollanam-do. The name of the temple, Unjusa Temple, means “The Place Where Clouds Stay Temple,” in English. The exact date of the founding of Unjusa Temple is unknown; however, it’s widely believed to have been established sometime during the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) in the late 10th century or early 11th century. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the temple was created by the monk Hyemyeong. And the temple prospered until the 12th century. The oldest historical record about Unjusa Temple is found in the book “Sinjeung Donggukyeojiseungnam” (“A Revised Book on Geography and Scenic Sites in Korea,” in English, from…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Songgwangsa Temple – 송광사 (Suncheon, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Songgwangsa Temple, which means “Spreading Pine Temple,” in English, is situated on the western slopes of Mt. Jogyesan (884 m), in Jogyesan Provincial Park. Songgwangsa Temple was first built in the waning years of the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. to 935 A.D.) in the 10th century by the monk Hyerin-seonsa. Hyerin-seonsa also built a neighbouring hermitage and lived there, as well. At this time, there were between thirty to forty monks that lived at the temple. However, since so little is known about the founding of Songgwangsa Temple, and Hyerin in particular, it’s believed by some scholars that Hyerin might have been invented. Songgwangsa Temple then fell…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Hwaeomsa Temple – 화엄사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Hwaeomsa Temple, which is located in Gurye, Jeollanam-do, is on the very south-western edge of the famed Jirisan National Park. Hwaeomsa Temple means “Flower Garland Temple,” in English. Because of this name, it is directly linked to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). In Korean, the Flower Garland Sutra is known as “Hwaeom Gyeong – 화엄경.” And in Sanskrit, the sutra is known as the “Avataṃsaka Sūtra.” The temple was first founded in 544 A.D. by the monk Yeongi-josa, who might have come from India. The temple was then later expanded by Jajang-yulsa (590-648 A.D.) in 643 A.D. And during the reign of King Munmu of Silla (r.661-681…