• Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Jukrimsa Temple – 죽림사 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Temple History Jukrimsa Temple is located in the southern foothills of Mt. Yubongsan (245.1 m) in southern Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. It’s believed that the temple was first built in 809 A.D., but the exact history of the temple is unknown. The only details that we really know is that Jukrimsa Temple was destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-98) and then later rebuilt. There were several reconstructions conducted on the temple during the 1800s. However, during the Korean War (1950-53), the temple was destroyed. After a few decades, Jukrimsa Temple was built, once more, starting in 1990. In the ensuing years, the Daeung-jeon Hall, the Samseong-gak Hall, the Eungjin-jeon Hall, and the…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Bukdaeam Hermitage – 북대암 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Hermitage History Bukdaeam Hermitage is located on the Unmunsa Temple grounds in Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do. Both Bukdaeam Hermitage and Unmunsa Temple are situated to the north of a cauldron of mountains that includes Mt. Unmunsan (1,188 m) and Mt. Gajisan (1,240.9 m). Purportedly, Bukdaeam Hermitage is the first temple or hermitage built on Mt. Unmunsan. However, the exact date of its founding is unknown, but it’s speculated that it was first built in 557 A.D. The hermitage was later reconstructed in 1851 and continues to be repaired and rebuilt to the present day. As for the name of the hermitage, Bukdaeam Hermitage, it gets its name from being built so high…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Pokpoam Hermitage – 폭포암 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Pokpoam Hermitage, which means “Waterfall Hermitage” in English, is situated to the south of Mt. Gujeolsan (564.5) in northeastern Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do. Pokpoam Hermitage is situated on the former temple grounds of Sadusa Temple. Sadusa Temple was used as a site for the manufacturing of arrows for the Righteous Army led by Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610). The temple was destroyed, when it was burned to the ground by the invading Japanese army during the Imjin War (1592-98). The temple would remain abandoned until 1981, when the monk Hyeongak came to Goseong to pray for one hundred days. It was around this time that tiles and the foundation for the former Sadusa…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Seonsuam Hermitage – 선수암 (Yesan, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Hermitage History Seonsuam Hermitage is located on the Sudeoksa Temple grounds in Yesan, Chungcheongnam-do in the southern foothills of Mt. Deoksungsan (495.2 m). The hermitage is also a nunnery for Buddhist nuns. Very little is known about the hermitage’s history. Hermitage Layout Just to the southwest of the main temple courtyard at Sudeoksa Temple, you’ll find Seonsuam Hermitage. As you first approach the entry to the hermitage, which is located just to the left of the Sacheonwangmun Gate for Sudeoksa Temple, you’ll notice a miniature replica of Dabo-tap Pagoda of Bulguksa Temple fame halfway up the pathway. Nestled under towering trees, the pagoda is an exact replica of the stone…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Jangyuksa Temple – 장육사 (Yeongdeok, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Temple History Jangyuksa Temple is located to the south of Mt. Unseosan (519.9 m) in northern Yeongdeok, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The temple was first constructed by the monk Naong (1320-1376) during the reign of King Gongmin of Goryeo (r. 1351-74). Jangyuksa Temple was later destroyed by a brush fire during the reign of King Sejong (r. 1418-1450). It was at this time that a rather interesting temple myth surrounds the rebuild of Jangyuksa Temple. During this rebuild, a carpenter volunteered to help reconstruct the Daeung-jeon Hall. He did this to help pray for his mother’s recovery. When the construction was almost complete, and there were only the last four pillars left to…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Unheungsa Temple – 운흥사 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Unheungsa Temple is situated up a long valley between Mt. Bongamsan (434.6 m) and Mt. Baekamsan (403 m) to the far west of Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do. Unheungsa Temple was first constructed in 676 A.D. by the famed monk Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.). Little is known about the temple until it was used to raise an army of some 6,000 warrior monks during the Imjin War (1592-98) and led by Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610). A large portion of the temple was destroyed at this time. It wasn’t until 1651 that the temple was partially rebuilt. The current Daeung-jeon Hall and Yeongsan-jeon Hall were reconstructed in 1731. Additionally, there was a bronze bell at…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Wonhyoam Hermitage – 원효암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Wonhyoam Hermitage, which is one among eight hermitages with the same name in Korea, is located in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do on the western slopes of Mt. Cheonseongsan (920.1 m), which means “A Thousand Saints Mountain” in English. In fact, the hermitage is situated at 900 metres above sea level. The hermitage is named after the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.), who lived and taught in the area. It’s said that Wonhyo-daesa first established Wonhyoam Hermitage in 646 A.D., which is also the very same year that neighbouring Tongdosa Temple was first established, as well. As to how Wonhyo-daesa first came to the region, there’s a rather interesting legend. According…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Mujinam Hermitage – 무진암 (Buyeo, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Hermitage History Mujinam Hermitage is located in western Buyeo, Chungcheongnam-do in the southern foothills of Mt. Mansusan (575 m). Additionally, the Mujinam Hermitage is directly associated with Muryangsa Temple and located just to the south of the main temple. Like the neighbouring Muryangsa Temple, Mujinam Hermitage was first built during Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.) by Beomil-guksa (810-889 A.D.). Eventually, the hermitage would be destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-98) only to be rebuilt during the reign of King Injo of Joseon (r. 1623-1649). In more recent years, the hermitage has become a nunnery for Buddhist nuns. Hermitage Layout As you first approach the hermitage, you’ll be welcomed to the grounds…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Seochukam Hermitage – 서축암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Seochukam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do in the southern foothills of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,082.2 m). Seochukam Hermitage is one of nearly twenty hermitages on the Tongdosa Temple grounds; in fact, it’s just 150 metres away from neighbouring Jajangam Hermitage. The hermitage was first founded by the monk Wolha in 1996. In total, there are only a handful of buildings on the hermitage grounds. Hermitage Layout You first make your way up to the hermitage up a long, forested roadway, until you eventually come to the hermitage parking lot south of the walled-off grounds. To the right of the hermitage parking lot, you’ll…

  • Artwork

    Mulgogi – Fish: 물고기

    Introduction It’s rather interesting that you see so many fish at Korean Buddhist temples, especially since there is no direct connection between fish and Buddhism. Additionally, fish were never objects of worship in Buddhism, as well. An argument has been made that the reason that fish exist at temples, whether it’s as a painting, a wind chime, or carp swimming around a temple pond, is that they are meant to remind practitioners to remain vigilant and focused on their practice. The reason for this belief is that it’s thought that fish never sleep. While this is one interpretation, there are several other interpretations concerning the fish you might see at…