• Gangwon-do

    Sutasa Temple – 수타사 (Hongcheon, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Sutasa Temple in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do is located to the west of Mt. Gongjaksan (887.4 m). Sutasa Temple is located in a bend in the Deokchi-cheon River up Sutasa Valley. Purportedly, the temple was first founded in 708 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (625-686 A.D.). However, since Wonhyo-daesa died in 686 A.D., it’s kind of hard to believe that he would found a temple after his death. And originally, the temple was called Ilwolsa Temple. The temple was renamed in 1568 to Sutasa Temple. The reason for this change is that it’s believed that where Sutasa Temple is located along the foothills of Mt. Gongjaksan that it resembles…

  • Gangwon-do

    Dopiansa Temple – 도피안사 (Cheorwon, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Dopiansa Temple is located in northern Cheorwon, Gangwon-do some 9 km from the DMZ. Dopiansa Temple was first constructed in 865 A.D. by Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). There’s a legend that an iron statue of Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) was to be commissioned. And it was to be enshrined at Anyangsa Temple in Cheorwon. However, the statue disappeared on its way to be enshrined at Anyangsa Temple. Eventually, the iron statue of Birojana-bul was discovered at a previously unknown location on Mt. Hwagaesan. As a result, Doseon-guksa decided, out of respect for Birojana-bul’s choice, to build Dopiansa Temple at the site where the statue was discovered and…

  • Gangwon-do

    Cheongpyeongsa Temple – 청평사 (Chuncheon, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Cheongpyeongsa Temple is located in a long valley south of Mt. Obongsan (777.9 m) in northern Chuncheon, Gangwon-do. The temple was first constructed in 973 A.D. by the monk Seunghyeon, and it was called Baegamseonwon Temple. The temple was rebuilt in 1068 by the civil official Yi Ui. Later, and in 1089, Yi Ui’s son, Yi Ja-hyeong (1061-1225) would retire as a government official and live at the temple for the next 37 years of his life. During this time, he built several hermitages, pavilions, and ponds. In the mid-16th century, the temple was expanded by the monk Bou, and it was at this time that the temple…

  • Gangwon-do

    Samhwasa Temple – 삼화사 (Donghae, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Samhwasa Temple is located in Donghae, Gangwon-do. More specifically, Samhwasa Temple is located up Mureung Valley north of Mt. Dutasan (1357 m). Originally, the temple was located 1.3 km to the east. In 1977, Samhwasa Temple was relocated to its current location because its former location was a mining area used for cement factories. Samhwasa Temple is now located on the former site for Jungdaesa Temple. There is a legend related to the site of Samhwasa Temple. According to this legend, there is a place called “Hoamso.” It’s said that there was a tiger running around Mt. Dutasan and Mt. Cheongaksan. The tiger fell into the valley between…

  • Gangwon-do

    Geonbongsa Temple – 건봉사 (Goseong, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Geonbongsa Temple is located in Goseong, Gangwon-do some 8 km from the DMZ. Geonbongsa Temple is part of the Mt. Geumgangsan (1,638 m) mountain range at its southern tip. Also, and of note, the DMZ divides the mountain range. The temple is also commonly referred to as Geumgangsan Geonbongsa Temple. Geonbongsa Temple was first founded in 520 A.D., and it was initially named Wongaksa Temple. The temple was then later rebuilt in 758 A.D. by the monk Baljing (?-785 A.D.). In fact, Baljing chanted Buddhist prayers for 10,000 days to be reborn in the Western Paradise, or Jeongto in Korean. Purportedly, this was the origin of this ceremony…

  • Gangwon-do

    Hyuhyuam Hermitage – 휴휴암 (Yangyang, Gangwon-do)

    Hermitage History Hyuhyuam Hermitage, which is located in Yangyang, Gangwon-do, means “Rest and Rest Again Hermitage,” in English. The name of the hermitage is in reference to resting the mind from distracting thoughts and feelings like hate, jealousy, and conflict. Initially, the hermitage was nothing more than a single shrine hall; but in 1999, the popularity of the hermitage started to grow with the discovery of a rock that looked like a reclining Buddha. There are other seaside rocks at Hyuhyuam Hermitage that have significance, as well. There’s the Haesu Gwaneum rock that looks like a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This rock looks like it’s holding a…

  • Gangwon-do

    Jeongamsa Temple – 정암사 (Gohan, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Jeongamsa Temple is one of the temples that’s considered a Jeokmyeol-bogung, which is a temple established by Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.) to house the sari (crystallized remains) of the Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Jeokmyeol-bogung means “Silent Nirvana Treasure Palace,” in English. In total, there are four other temples that still exist to this day that are also considered Jeokmyeol-bogung. They are Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do; Beopheungsa Temple in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do; Sajaam Hermitage in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do; and Bongjeongam Hermitage in Inje, Gangwon-do. There is an additional Jeokmyeol-bogung that once existed at Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple in Gyeongju, but it was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of 1238. Of the six Jeokmyeol-bogung,…

  • Gangwon-do

    Guryongsa Temple – 구룡사 (Wonju, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Guryongsa Temple is located in Chiaksan National Park in Wonju, Gangwon-do. Guryongsa Temple is specifically located to the north of the highest peak in the park, Biro-bong (1288m), in a long valley. Guryongsa Temple was first founded by the famed monk, and temple builder, Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) in 668 A.D. The name of the temple, Guryongsa Temple, originally meant “Nine Dragons Temple,” in English. And this name comes from the creation myth that surrounds the temple. Uisang-daesa, after walking several kilometres, found a location for a new temple in the folds of Mt. Chiaksan. However, this location was already occupied by a pond, which potentially prevented Uisang-daesa from…

  • Gangwon-do

    Beopheungsa Temple – 법흥사 (Yeongwol, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Beopheungsa Temple, which means “Dharma Promotion Temple,” in English, is located in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do. Specifically, Beopheungsa Temple is situated on the southern slopes of Mt. Sajasan (1,180.4 m), or “Lion Mountain,” in English, just east of Chiaksan National Park. Beopheungsa Temple was first established under the name Heungnyeongsa Temple, which means “Prosperous Peaceful Temple,” in English, by the famed monk Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.) in 643 A.D. The temple was first established by Jajang-yulsa to house the sari (crystallized remains) of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Alongside six other historic sites in Korea, five of which are still in existence, they are known as Jeokmyeol-bogung, or “Silent Nirvana Treasure Palace,”…

  • Gangwon-do

    Naksansa Temple – 낙산사 (Yangyang, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Naksansa Temple is located in Yangyang, Gangwon-do. The name of the temple, Naksansa Temple, is an abbreviation of “Botarakgasan.” The name “Naksan,” is in reference to Mt. Potalaka, which is a mythical mountain located in the seas south of India. It’s also believed to be where Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion in English, or Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit) lives. Mt. Potalaka means “Brilliance,” in English. Gwanseeum-bosal is said to live on an island surrounded by the sea alongside guardian dragons under Mt. Potalaka. The temple was first founded in 671 A.D. by Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) upon his return from Tang China. Uisang-daesa was an ambassador to Tang China for…