• Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Baekunam Hermitage – 백운암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Baekunam Hermitage is one of the numerous hermitages located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. Unlike all the other hermitages at Tongdosa Temple, however, Baekunam Hermitage is located halfway up Mt. Yeongchuksan instead of in the foothills of the mountain. Baekunam Hemritage means “White Cloud Hermitage” in English, and it was first established in 892 A.D. in the waning years of Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.) by the monk Jo-Il. There is not much known about the hermitage from the time it was first established until the early part of the 19th century, when Baekunam Hermitage was reconstructed in 1810 by the monk Chimheo. The hermitage has…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Biroam Hermitage – 비로암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Biroam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do in the southern foothills of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,082.2 m) some 500 metres away from the neighbouring Geukrakam Hermitage. Biroam Hemritage is named after the Buddha of Cosmic Energy, Birojana-bul. It’s recorded that Biroam Hermitage was first founded in 1345 by the monk Yeongsuk. The hermitage would be rebuilt in 1578 by the monk Taeheum. Biroam Hermitage was completely destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-1598), and it was later rebuilt and reconstructed several more times. In total, Biroam Hermitage is home to one protected property, which is a Gyeongsangnam-do Tangible Cultural Property. The protected property is the…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Geukrakam Hermitage – 극락암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Geukrakam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do in the foothills of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1082.2 m). The name of the hermitage is closely associated with Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise), who typically resides inside a Geukrak-jeon Hall at a temple or hermitage. In English, “Geukrak” means “Ultimate Bliss” for the Western Paradise that Amita-bul resides. Geukrakam Hermitage was first founded in 1344. From its creation to the late Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), very little of the hermitage’s history is known. The only thing that is recorded about the hermitage is that it was reconstructed by the monk Cheolhong in 1758. More recently, and…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Jajangam Hermitage – 자장암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Jajangam Hermitage is located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do in the foothills of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,082.2 m). Jajangam Hermitage, which is named after the founder of Tongdosa Temple, Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.), predates the construction of Tongdosa Temple, which was built in 646 C.E. It’s believed that Jajangam Hermitage was the staging ground for Tongdosa Temple, and it was originally called Jajang-bang. The hermitage was originally nothing more than a hut that was built beneath a stone rock for the founder of Tongdosa Temple, monk Jajang-yulsa, to worship. Subsequently, Jajang-yulsa’s disciples also worshipped at Jajangam Hermitage, as well. Jajangam Hermitage was one of seven hermitages that…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa

    Samyeongam Hermitage – 사명암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Samyeongam Hermitage is located in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do on the grounds of Tongdosa Temple. In fact, Samyeongam Hermitage is one of 17 hermitages located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in the foothills of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1,082.2 m). In 1573, two monks named Yigi and Sinbaek, who were admirers of Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610), decided to build a hermitage in his honour. So who was Samyeong-daesa? Samyeong-daesa was born in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do in a modest home. Eventually, he would pass the gwageo (civil service examinations) to become a Buddhist monk in 1561. With the outbreak of the Imjin War (1592-98), Samyeong-daesa led an army of 5,000 trained soldier-monks known as the Righteous…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Bohyeonsa Temple – 보현사 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Bohyeonsa Temple is a modern temple located in the western part of Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do on Mt. Sutaesan (574.7 m). Bohyeonsa Temple is named after the Bodhisattva of Power, Bohyeon-bosal. The temple was first established in 1983 by the monk Jeongcheon, who was a disciple of Cheongdam (1902-1971). Cheongdam was the abbot of the neighbouring Munsuam Hermitage, which looks down on Bohyeonsa Temple from its mountainous heights. Temple Layout From the large temple parking lot, you’ll approach the stately Iljumun Gate. Past this entry gate is the lone shrine hall at Bohyeonsa Temple. This solitary shrine hall is a modern three-story structure. And on top of this three-story structure…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Seongjusa Temple – 성주사 (Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Seongjusa Temple is located in the northwestern foothills of Mt. Bulmosan (801.1 m) in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do. The name of the temple, Seongjusa Temple, means “Saint Abides Temple” in English. The temple was first built in 835 A.D. by the monk Muyeom-guksa (801-888 A.D.). Muyeom-guksa was said to be the eighth-generation descendant of King Muyeol of Silla (r. 654-661 A.D.). Muyeom-guksa was an advisor to the king. Because King Heungdeok of Silla (826-836 A.D.) was able to defeat the Japanese as a result of Muyeom-guksa’s mystical powers, the king gave Muyeom-guksa land to build a temple. This temple would become known as Seongjusa Temple. What’s also interesting about this…

  • Colonial Korea,  Gyeongsangnam-do

    Colonial Korea – Ssanggyesa Temple

    Temple History Ssanggyesa Temple is located in Jirisan National Park in Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do. The temple was first constructed in 722 A.D., and it was 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, Huineng (638-713 A.D.), under the main hall. It was later dug…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Buljosa Temple – 불조사 (Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Buljosa Temple is located to the northwest of Mt. Sineosan (630.7 m) in northern Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. The temple was first constructed in 1995 to help commemorate the monk Jangyu-hwasang, who puportedly first arrived on the Korean Peninsula in 46 A.D. Jangyu-hwasang, whose original name was Heo Bo-ok, was the brother of Queen Heo Hwang-ok. Queen Heo Hwang-ok (32-189 A.D.) would become the wife of Suro of Geumgwan Gaya (42? – 199 A.D.), who was the legendary founder of Geumwang Gaya (43–532 A.D.). Jangyu-hwasang, in his own right, was purportedly a prince. He, alongside twenty servants, sailed with his sister, Queen Heo Hwang-ok, to the Korean Peninsula. According to…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Okcheonsa Temple – 옥천사 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Okcheonsa Temple, which means “Jade Springs Temple” in English, is located in Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do. Okcheonsa Temple dates back to 676 A.D., when it was first established by Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.). Okcheonsa Temple was one of the Hwaeom-shipchal (The Ten Great Hwaeom Temples) alongside such temples as Buseoksa Temple, Haeinsa Temple, Hwaeomsa Temple, Gapsa Temple, Beomeosa Temple, Bulguksa Temple, and Bongjeongsa Temple. For these efforts, Uisang-daesa is also known as the “Temple Builder.” Rather interestingly, and according to Choi Chiwon (857–10th century), nearby Ssanggyesa Temple was originally named Okcheonsa Temple, when it was first founded in 722 A.D. But because Okcheonsa Temple in Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do predated the founding of…