• Gyeongsangnam-do

    Hongryongsa Temple – 홍룡사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Hongryongsa Temple, which means “Rainbow Dragon Temple” in English, is located on Mt. Cheonseongsan (920.1 m) in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The name of the temple comes from the waterfall, Hongryong-pokpo Waterfall, which is at the centre of the temple and stands fourteen metres in height. According to legend, there was a dragon that once lived inside this waterfall. Afterwards, it rode off on a rainbow up into the sky and disappeared. The temple was first built during the reign of King Munmu of Silla (r.661-681 A.D.) by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). Wonhyo-daesa first built this temple to teach the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, or “Hwaeom-gyeong – 화엄경” in Korean,…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Gwanryongsa Temple – 관룡사 (Changnyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Gwanryongsa Temple is located in Changnyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do. The temple is in fact located south of Mt. Gwanryongsan (753.6m) in Hwawang District Park. The name of the temple, Gwanryongsa Temple, means “Sighting Dragon Temple,” in English. There are two differing dates as to when Gwanryongsa Temple was first built. One is in 349 A.D., during the reign of King Heulae of Silla (r.310-356 A.D.). And the other date of when Gwanryongsa Temple was first established is in 583 A.D. by the monk Jeungbeop-guksa. As for the name of the temple, it comes from Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). On the last day that Wonhyo-daesa was praying on the neighbouring Mt. Hwawangsan…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Pyochungsa Temple – 표충사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Pyochungsa Temple, which is located in eastern Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do, beneath the watchful eye of Mt. Jaeyaksan (1119.1m). The name of the temple means “Display Loyalty (Devotion or Fidelity) Temple,” in English. And Pyochungsa Temple was first established in 654 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617 – 686 A.D.). The temple was established after Wonhyo-daesa was meditating at a nearby temple. Looking up, he saw a group of auspicious clouds glowing iridescently above a bamboo forest. Immediately, Wonhyo-daesa built a meditation hut, uphill, where Geumgangam Hermitage now stands. Initially, the temple was called Jungnimsa Temple, which means “Bamboo Forest Temple,” in English. Later, in 826 A.D., the temple…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Video

    Video: Sinheungsa Temple – 신흥사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Sinheungsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do has one of the more mysterious origins. Purportedly, the temple was built in 301 A.D. and later destroyed. However, according to Korean tradition, Buddhism didn’t enter the Korean peninsula until 372 A.D. in the northern kingdom of Goguryeo. The only possible answer is that Queen Heo of the Gaya Kingdom, who was Indian in origin and married King Suro, brought Buddhism with her to the peninsula and helped influence its spread earlier on than once thought. This is one potential answer. In addition to the temple’s mysterious history, the temple is filled with beautiful Buddhist artwork, especially in the main hall. Most…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa,  Video

    Video: Seounam Hermitage – 서운암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Alongside Samyeongam Hermitage, Jajangam Hermitage, and Geukrakam Hermitage, Seounam Hermitage is another one of the beautiful hermitages that takes up residence on the Tongdosa Temple grounds. But unlike the three other hermitages, Seounam Hermitage has extensive grounds that a visitor can explore. During these explorations, you can come around a Koi pond, large clay soy pots, and even a fenced off enclosure for a collection of peacocks. The hermitage was first built in 1346. And inside the Janggyeong-gak, in the upper courtyard, you can find a collection of the Tripitaka Koreana that you can find at Haeinsa Temple. So follow me as we walk our way through…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Video

    Video: Cheonbulsa Temple – 천불사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Cheonbulsa Temple, which is located in eastern Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, means “Heaven Buddha Temple,” in English. The temple was first built in 1974. Cheonbulsa Temple is home to one of the most amazing Gwaneum-jeon’s (The Bodhisattva of Compassion Hall) in all of Korea. As you walk up to the subterranean entrance that leads into the mountainside, you’ll pass by 33 statues of the 33 various incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal. In addition to this shrine hall, there are numerous other shrine halls to be enjoyed at Cheonbulsa Temple like the Yongwang-dang, the main hall, the Yaksa-jeon, and the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. While a bit out of the way, Cheonbulsa…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa,  Video

    Video: Samyeongam Hermitage – 사명암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Another beautiful hermitage that’s located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds is the amazing Samyeongam Hermitage. A personal favourite of mine, Samyeongam Hermitage was named after the warrior monk, Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610). The hermitage was first constructed in 1573. With a beautiful, large Koi pond that’s spanned by a granite bridge, Samyeongam Hermitage is occupied with a large main hall, a Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall, and a Josa-jeon (Founders’ Hall) with a mural of Samyeong-daesa inside. The hermitage is especially beautiful during the spring months, when it seems like the entire grounds are in bloom. So follow me around a personal favourite of mine, as I tour around Samyeongam…