• Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Banyaam Hermitage – 반야암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Banyaam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in the foothills of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,081 m) in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. Of the nearly twenty hermitages at Tongdosa Temple, Banyaam Hermitage is the newest. The hermitage was first established in 1999 by the monk Jian. As for the name of the hermitage, it’s a transliteration of the word “Prajna” in Sanskrit, which means either “wisdom” or “enlightenment” in English. So the hermitage literally means “Wisdom/Enlightenment Hermitage” in English. Additionally, Banyaam Hermitage is in close proximity to Geukrakam Hermitage and Biroam Hermitage on the Tongdosa Temple grounds. Hermitage Layout As you first make your way up to Banyaam Hermitage, you’ll…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Daeseungsa Temple – 대승사 (Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Temple History Daeseungsa Temple is located on Mt. Sabulsan in northern Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do. Daeseungsa Temple means “Great Vehicle Temple” in English. The temple was first established in 587 A.D., and it was the first Buddhist temple ever built in Mungyeong. Daeseungsa Temple has one of the more interesting origin legends. According to the Samguk Yusa, or “Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms” in English: “To the east of Juknyeong (Bamboo Pass) about one hundred li [500 meters] away, soaring high into the sky, there stands a mountain. In the ninth year of King Jinpyeong of Silla [r. 579-632 A.D.], the year of the monkey (587 A.D.), this mountain shook with a…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Suamsa Temple – 수암사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Suamsa Temple is located in western Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do in the northern foothills of Mt. Togoksan (855.3 m). Located up a long valley, Suamsa Temple is situated next to the beautiful Buleum-pokpo Falls. Purportedly, Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.) first built the temple over a thousand years ago. About a hundred years ago, both Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) appeared in the dream of a local village elder. This elder decided to build a temple next to a waterfall below Mt. Togoksan. More recently, Suamsa Temple was rebuilt about fifty years ago replacing a hermitage that was formerly on the…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Yeongsanjeongsa Temple – 영산정사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Yeongsanjeongsa Temple, which is a reference to Vulture Peak, where the Buddha gave sermons like the Heart and Lotus Sutras, is located in western Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do. The temple is located in the southern foothills of Mt. Yeongchwisan (738.8 m). Yeongsanjeongsa Temple was first built in 1997 on the former temple grounds of Samjeoksa Temple. Samjeoksa Temple was used as a training centre for the Righteous Army that fought against the invading Japanese during the Imjin War (1592-98) in 1592. Yeongsanjeongsa Temple was built to pray for peace in Korea. The temple is also home to a massive, golden Reclining Buddha statue that’s 120 metres in length and 21…

  • Colonial Korea

    Colonial Korea – Japanese Missionaries in Korea During Japanese Colonial Rule

    Introduction The Japanese Buddhist view of Korean Buddhism from 1877 to 1945 is one filled with colonialist notions of paternalism. This would play out in Korean society during these decades of time with Japanese Buddhist missionaries declaring that Korean Buddhism needed to be reformed so that it could be revitalized. And of course, it would be the Japanese Buddhist missionaries that would take up this mantle as a guide to Korean Buddhists. As a result of this mindset, Japanese Buddhists in colonial Korea, both before and during occupation, didn’t find much use in Korean Buddhism. In fact, they didn’t find it worthy of studying. This paternalistic approach, which should come…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Okryeonam Hermitage – 옥련암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Okryeonam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do to the south of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,081 m). It’s believed that the hermitage was first founded in 1374. However, there is very little known about the hermitage after it was initially constructed. Later, and in 1857, Okryeonam Hermitage was rebuilt by two monks, Hogok and Cheongjin. At this time, it was a small hermitage. Over time, it has grown. Additionally, and according to documents, the Geukrak-jeon Hall at Tongdosa Temple has a triad on the main altar. This triad was made at Okryeonam Hermitage in 1835. There’s a rather interesting legend connected to Okryeonam Hermitage. There…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Seounam Hermitage – 서운암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Seounam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds to the south of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,081 m) in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The hermitage was first constructed in 1326 during the late Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). However, since its initial construction, very little is known about Seounam Hermitage. The hermitage would later be re-constructed in 1859. Since then, Seounam Hermitage is one of the more popular hermitages on the Tongdosa Temple grounds. Hermitage Layout As you approach Seounam Hermitage, you’ll first pass by the hermitage parking lot, which is usually quite busy. To your immediate right, you’ll notice a two-story structure with an artificial pond out in front of it. The…

  • Gyeonggi-do

    Dongdosa Temple – 동도사 (Yongin, Gyeonggi-do)

    Temple History Dongdosa Temple is located in the southern part of Yongin, Gyeonggi-do in the northern foothills of Mt. Geomeunsan. The north side of the temple faces directly out onto the Idong Reservoir. Dongdosa Temple is a modern temple with a long history. That might sound a bit paradoxical; but in a bit, hopefully, it’ll make a bit more sense. When the neighbouring Eubirisa Temple was submerged in water after the construction of the Idong Reservoir in 1963, the temple was moved to the Dongdosa Temple location. With this move, a few of Eubirisa Temple’s artifacts moved to their new location. These artifacts included items like the “Three-Story Stone Pagoda…

  • Gyeonggi-do

    Godalsa-ji Temple Site – 고달사지 (Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do)

    Temple Site History The Godalsa-ji Temple Site is located in the northern part of Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do in the southern foothills of Mt. Udusan (484.4 m). Godalsa Temple was first founded in 764 A.D. during Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.). As for the name of the temple, and according to a founding legend, there was a stonemason named Godal who completed the construction of the temple. Not only that, but according to this very same legend, Godal crafted several of the most prominent pieces of stonework that are now protected Korean cultural heritage properties. Godal was so focused on his work that he forgot about his family who were starving to death.…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Bohyeonam Hermitage – 보현암 (Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Bohyeonam Hermitage is located on the Haeinsa Temple grounds in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do. The hermitage gets its name from Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). The hermitage, which is also scenically located in Gayasan National Park, was first founded in 1973 by nun Hyechun. Hyechun is an important figure in Korean Buddhism in the 20th century. She was born in Bukcheong, Hamgyongnam-do, North Korea in 1919. She would actively participate in the Buddhist Purification Movement (1954-62). She would also help in the creation of the Jogye-jong Order. Later, and after founding Bohyeonam Hermitage, she would serve as the chairperson of Korea’s bhikkuni (nuns). Through her efforts, they would contribute to…