• Gyeongsangnam-do

    Ssanggyesa Temple – 쌍계사 (Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Located in Jirisan National Park, and north of Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Ssanggyesa Temple is situated in one of the prettiest locations in all of Korea. The temple was originally built in 722 A.D. and called Okcheonsa Temple. The temple was built after the monks Daebi and Sambeop were instructed by the Jirisan Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) in the form of a tiger to find a valley where arrowroot blossomed throughout the year even during wintertime. Both monks were the disciples of the famed temple building monk, Uisang-daesa (625-702). Finding such a location, they built Okcheonsa Temple. And after returning from China, they buried the skull of the Sixth Seon Patriarch,…

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: Sanshin: The Mountain Spirit – 산신

    Hello Again Everyone!! Without a doubt, Sanshin is one of my favourite figures to enjoy at a Korean Buddhist temple. And with over 70% of Korea being occupied by mountains, it’s no wonder that Koreans have worshiped the shaman deity, Sanshin (산신), The Mountain Spirit, for thousands of years. This shaman deity, which is one of the most popular figures that Koreans pray to at a Korean Buddhist temple isn’t even Buddhist in origins. Sanshin can be male or female and is highly revered, often occupying a place in the main hall; or more typically, in a shaman shrine hall to the immediate rear of the main hall. So who…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Haeinsa Temple – 해인사 (Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Haeinsa Temple, which means “Ocean Mudra Temple,” dates back to 802 A.D., when it was founded by the monks Suneung and Ijeong after their return from their religious travels to China. According to legend, and the temple’s foundation myth, the two monks helped to heal the wife of King Aejang of Silla (r.800-809). As a sign of gratitude, the king gave the funds to the two monks to help construct Haeinsa Temple. Through the centuries, the temple has been expanded numerous times like in 1488, 1622, and 1644. Tragically, Haeinsa Temple was burned to the ground in 1817. It was rebuilt a year later. In total, the temple…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Tongdosa Temple – 통도사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Much like my first post nearly ten years ago now, the famous Tongdosa Temple will be my very first blog post on my very new website. Once again, I’d like to thank you all for sticking with me all these years. And without further ado, here’s Tongdosa Temple! Temple History Tongdosa Temple, which is located in northern Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, is the largest temple in all of Korea with twenty hermitages spread throughout its vast grounds. Tongdosa Temple means “Passing Through to Enlightenment Temple,” in English. Tongdosa Temple was first founded in 646 A.D. by the famed monk Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.). According to the “Tongdosa-sarigasa-sajeok-yannok,” the temple site…

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: Bicheon: Flying Heavenly Deities – 비천

    Hello Again Everyone!! Typically, you’ll find these angelic paintings up near the roofs and rafters of a Korean Buddhist shrine hall. They can be playing a musical instrument, dancing, or even sprinkling water. Beautiful and elegant in appearance, you’ll find them in and around Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. These flying heavenly deities have their origins in Hindu myth. So find out what the do and why they’re at Buddhist temples throughout Korea in this next temple artwork video. Enjoy!

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: Gwimyeon: The Monster Mask – 귀면

    Hello Everyone!! You might have spotted this somewhat terrifying and sometimes playful figure around a Korean Buddhist temple. They can be located on wall, halls, beams, and panels. These colourful images, usually painted, but can also be a relief or a statue, is called a Gwimyeon. In English, they’re called a Monster Mask. They also go by the name Nathwi. So what exactly are these creatures? What do they do? How did they end up appearing in Korean Buddhist temples and hermitages? Well, watch this video and learn more about these wonderful and colour creatures!

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: Poroe: The Bell Dragon – 포뢰

    Hello Again Everyone!! Continuing with our all-new temple artwork videos, today, we’ll be talking bout The Bell Dragon: Poroe. If you look at the crown of a temple bell, or a Brahma Bell, that takes up residence inside a temple’s bell pavilion, you’ll find a metallic image of a dragon. This dragon has a unique phobia, Cetaphobia, which helps make the bell sound louder. So watch this video and find out what exactly this fearsome dragon is afraid of. Enjoy!

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: The Dragon Ship of Wisdom – 반야용선도

    Hello Again Everyone!! In this all-new type of videos, we’ll be exploring the temple artwork that adorns Korean Buddhist temples. Specifically, we’ll be looking at masonry, paintings, architecture, bells, drums, and so much more! And the topic of this video, which can be seen from time to time around a temple or hermitage is called “The Dragon Ship of Wisdom,” in English, or the “반야용선도,” in Korean. This painting is highly symbolic in the Buddhist understanding of the after life. So sit back and enjoy the video, as I explain The Dragon Ship of Wisdom!

  • Beomeosa,  Busan,  Video

    Video: Cheongryeonam Hermitage – 청련암 (Geumjeong-gu, Busan)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Located on the Beomeosa Temple grounds in northern Busan, Cheongryeonam Hermitage means “Blue Lotus Hermitage,” in English. Not only is the hermitage the home to the Buddhist martial art Seonmudo, but it’s also the home to the most elaborate outdoor shrine dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This bronze coloured statue dedicated by Jijang-bosal is surrounded by equally elaborate statues dedicated the Ten Kings of the Underworld and a collection of Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) and a row of granite zodiac generals. It’s really something else to see. Any trip to Beomeosa Temple almost demands a visit to Cheongryeonam Hermitage. So take the time and…

  • Busan,  Video

    Video: Samgwangsa Temple – 삼광사 (Busanjin-gu, Busan)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Without a doubt, Samgwangsa Temple in Busan is the most colourful temple to visit in all of Korea during Buddha’s birthday. There are literally thousands of colourful paper lanterns and floats that take up residence in this centrally located temple in Busan. Belonging to the Cheontae-jong Order, Samgwangsa Temple was built in 1983. And it seems like every time I visit Samgwangsa Temple there’s a new building that’s popped up on the temple grounds. Things to look for at Samgwangsa Temple when you visit is the amazing main hall, the temple bell pavilion, and the thirty-three metre tall, nine story, stone pagoda with an outdoor stone shrine…