• Jeollanam-do

    Gucheungam Hermitage – 구층암 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Hermitage History Gucheungam Hermitage is located in Gurye, Jeollanam-do on the Hwaeomsa Temple grounds to the north of the main temple courtyard. In fact, Gucheungam Hermitage is one of eight hermitages on the Hwaeomsa Temple grounds. Based on artifacts discovered on the hermitage grounds, it’s believed that Gucheungam Hermitage was built at the end of Silla (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). As for the name of the hermitage, which means “Nine Levels Hermitage” in English, it’s either a reference to a nine-story stone pagoda that once stood on the hermitage grounds or the nine grades associated with Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). However, a detailed history of the…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Yeongoksa Temple – 연곡사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Yeongoksa Temple is located in Gurye, Jeollanam-do, and it was purportedly first constructed in 543 A.D. by the the Indian monk Yeongi-josa, who also founded neighbouring Hwaeomsa Temple in 544 A.D. According to legend, Yeongi-josa discovered a pond while reading about the land. While he was looking out at the middle of the pond, a swallow flew out from a whirlpool of water. After that, the pond dried up and the place where the pond used to inhabit was used for the temple grounds. As a result, Yeongoksa Temple means “Swallow Valley Temple” in English. The temple was later renovated in the 9th century by Doseon-guksa. During the…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Baegyangsa Temple – 백양사 (Jangseong, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Baegyangsa Temple is located in Naejangsan National Park in Jangseong, Jeollanam-do in a valley between Mt. Daegaksan (529.8 m) to the southeast and Mt. Baegamsan (741.2 m) to the northwest. Baegyangsa Temple was first founded in 632 A.D. during the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). Originally, when the temple was first constructed, it was called Baegamsa Temple. Later, and during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), the temple changed its name to Jeongtosa Temple in 1034. The name of the temple at this time was in reference to the Pure Land in Buddhism, or “Jeongto” in Korean. The temple would change its name, once more, this time to…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Munsusa Temple – 문수사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Munsusa Temple, which is named after Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom), was first constructed in 547 A.D. by the Buddhist monk Yeongi. The temple is located in Gurye, Jeollanam-do in the southwestern portion of the famed Jirisan National Park. Throughout the years, several prominent Korean Buddhist monks such as Wonhyo-daesa (617 – 686 A.D.), Uisang-daesa (625 – 702 A.D.), Seosan-daesa (1520 – 1604), and Samyeong-daesa (1544 – 1610) have all called Munsusa Temple home at one time or another. Much of what you currently see at Munsusa Temple was built in 1984, nearly four hundred years after it was partially destroyed by the Japanese during the destructive Imjin…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Nammireuksa Temple – 남미륵사 (Gangjin, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Located in Gangjin, Jeollanam-do, and surrounded by farms, the name Nammireuksa Temple means “South Future Buddha Temple” in English. First founded in 1980 by the monk Seok Heung, the temple doesn’t belong to any of the three prominent Buddhist Orders in Korea; namely, Jogye, Cheontae, or Taego. Instead, it belongs to the Saegye Buddhist Order. This order is so small, in fact, that it isn’t even officially recognized by the Korean government. The sect seems to have been established in the late 20th century as a breakaway from the predominant Jogye-jong Order. Temple Layout The temple grounds are broken up into three main temple courtyards that are, rather…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Simhyangsa Temple – 심향사 (Naju, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Simhyangsa Temple is located in Naju, Jeollanam-do at the foot of Mt. Geumseonsan. The temple looks out towards the Yeongsan River. It’s believed that Simhyangsa Temple was first established by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). Originally, the temple was called Mireukwon after Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). The temple is also said to have been the place where King Hyeonjong of Goryeo (r. 1009-1031 A.D.) prayed for peace as he fled the royal palace. The Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) was being invaded at this time by the Tungusic people of Manchuria in 1011. The temple was later repaired in 1358. And it was reconstructed by the monk Mongsu in…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Dabosa Temple – 다보사 (Naju, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Dabosa Temple is located on Mt. Geumseongsan (453.3 m) in Naju, Jeollanam-do. It’s believed that Dabosa Temple was first built in 661 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). However, another legend states that Dabosa Temple was in fact founded by a monk who was meditating on Mt. Geumseongsan after he had a dream that a large pagoda decorated with the seven treasures rose from the ground and Daboyeorae-bul (Abundant Treasures Buddha), or Prabhutaratna in Sanskrit, appeared from the pagoda. Dabosa Temple means “Abundant Treasures Temple” in English. The temple is believed to have been rebuilt in 1184 during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) by another famed monk,…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Bulhoesa Temple – 불회사 (Naju, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Bulhoesa Temple is located in Naju, Jeollanam-do to the south of Mt. Deongnyongsan (376.4 m), and it’s said to have been established in the late 4th century, although the exact date is uncertain. One legend states that it was founded in 384 A.D. by the famed Indian monk Marananta, who introduced Buddhism to the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). Another legend states that the temple was founded in 367 A.D. and rebuilt in 713 A.D. The temple was renamed to Bulhosa Temple in 1530, according to documents. Later, in 1798, a fire completely destroyed the temple, which was then rebuilt in 1808. It’s also said that…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Daewonsa Temple – 대원사 (Boseong, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Daewonsa Temple is located in Boseong, Jeollanam-do to the north of Mt. Cheonbongsan (611.7 m), which means “Phoenix Mountain” in English. Purportedly, the temple was built by the monk Ado in 503 A.D. in the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). During Later Silla (668-935 A.D.), Daewonsa Temple was one of eight major temples in the Nirvana Order. Also, it makes the claim that it was one of the Five Gyo (doctrinal) and Nine Seon (meditative) temples. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), Jajin Wono-guksa, who helped finish the Koreana Tripitaka engravings at Seonwonsa Temple on Ganghwa-do Island, then traveled down to Daewonsa Tepmle to help re-build shrine…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Gwaneumsa Temple – 관음사 (Gokseong, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Gwaneumsa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do, not to be confused with the Gwaneumsa Temple on Jeju-do, is one of the more obscure major temples that you’ll find in Korea. Gwaneumsa Temple is named after the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Gwanseeum-bosal, and it’s located on the western foot of Mt. Seongdeoksan (646.6 m), which is named after a girl related to the origins of the temple (more on that soon). Gwaneumsa Temple is a sub-temple of the famed Hwaeomsa Temple of Gurye, Jeollanam-do. Purportedly, Gwaneumsa Temple was founded in 300 A.D. This would make it one of the oldest temples on the Korean peninsula. Interestingly, and if true, the existence of…