• 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…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Heungguksa Temple – 흥국사 (Yeosu, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Heungguksa Temple, which is located on the northern side of the southern coastal city of Yeosu, Jeollanam-do. The Heungguksa Temple of Yeosu shouldn’t be confused with two other temples of the exact same name found in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do and Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do. The name of Heungguksa Temple in Yeosu, Jeollanam-do means “Flourishing Kingdom Temple” in English. More specifically, it’s located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Yeongchwisan (439 m), or “Vulture Peak Mountain” in English. The temple was first founded in 1196 by the famed monk Jinul (1158-1210), who was also the founding monk of the Jogye-jong Order, which is the largest Buddhist sect in Korea. The temple was…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Ssangbongsa Temple – 쌍봉사 (Hwasun, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Ssangbongsa Temple, which is located in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do, means “Twin Peak Temple” in English. Ssangbongsa Temple was first established by the monk Cheolgam-seonsa. At the age of twenty-eight, Cheolgam-seonsa (797-868 A.D.) traveled to Tang China (618-907 A.D.) to study Buddhism. Cheolgam-seonsa returned to the Korean peninsula in 847 A.D. alongside Beomil-guksa (National Preceptor). Cheolgam-seonsa settled around Mt. Pungaksan in Namwon, Jeollabuk-do. He later moved to Hwasun, where he built a temple that he called Ssangbongsa Temple. The name of the temple was based upon his pen-name, which literally means “twin peaks” in English. However, there is some dispute as to when the temple was built. The stele dedicated…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Muwisa Temple – 무위사 (Gangjin, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Muwisa Temple is located in the southern portion of the picturesque Wolchulsan National Park in Gangjin, Jeollanam-do. According to both the Cultural Hermitage Administration website and the Muwisa Sajeok (The History of Muwisa Temple), the temple was first built in 617 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) and named Gwaneumsa Temple (The Bodhisattva of Compassion Temple). But this is hard to believe for a couple of reasons. First, Wonhyo-daesa would have been just a one year old when he first built Muwisa Temple. And as accomplished as he was as a Buddhist monk, this stretches the limits of credulity. Additionally, Wonhyo-daesa was a Silla monk. The…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Cheoneunsa Temple – 천은사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Cheoneunsa Temple is located northwest of the famed Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye, Jeollanam-do. Cheoneunsa Temple is one of the three major temples located inside Jirisan National Park grounds alongside Ssanggyesa Temple and the aforementioned Hwaeomsa Temple. Cheoneunsa Temple, which means “Hidden Spring Temple” in English, was first founded in 828 A.D. Cheoneunsa Temple was founded by an Indian monk named Deokun. At this time, the temple was known as Gamnosa Temple. It was called Gamnosa Temple because of the spring water that people could drink from in front of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall. Purportedly, this spring water could clear your mind because it was both clean and cold like…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Mihwangsa Temple – 미황사 (Haenam, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Mihwangsa Temple, which means “Beautiful Yellow Temple” in English, is located in Haenam, Jeollanam-do. According to the temple myth from the Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), which is one of the more interesting temple myths that you’ll find in Korea, Mihwangsa Temple was first founded in 749 A.D. Mihwangsa Temple, which is located to the west of Mt. Dalmasan (489 m), is the southernmost temple on the mainland Korean peninsula. Also, Mihwangsa Temple enjoys beautiful views of the South Sea off in the distance. As for the creation myth surrounding Mihwangsa Temple, which also gives the temple its name, it’s definitely one of the most intriguing…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Dogapsa Temple – 도갑사 (Yeongam, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Dogapsa Temple is located in Yeongam, Jeollanam-do in Wolchulsan National Park. The temple was established in 880 A.D. by Doseon-guksa (827-898 A.D.). Originally, the temple site was home to a temple called Munsusa Temple, which was named after the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Munsu-bosal. In fact, during a recent excavation that took place in 1999, there were roof tiles that date back to the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. to 660 A.D.) that were discovered to the rear of the temple grounds. This helped prove that a temple existed on the site that Dogapsa Temple now occupies predating Later Silla (668-935 A.D.). Munsusa Temple was where Doseon-guksa spent his childhood.…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Borimsa Temple – 보림사 (Jangheung, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Borimsa Temple, which means “Treasure Forest Temple” in English, is located in Jangheung, Jeollanam-do. Located just south of Mt. Gajisan (509.9 m), Borimsa Temple was first established in 759 A.D. by the monk Wonpyo-daedeok. At this time, the temple was nothing more than a hermitage, and it was called Gajisansa Temple. Like all great temples in Korea, Borimsa Temple has an interesting creation myth. One day, after returning to the Korean peninsula after studying in both India and China, Wonpyo-daedeok was looking for a place to construct a temple. He visited Mt. Gajisan (not to be confused with the one in Ulsan). While traveling around this location, a…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Taeansa Temple – 태안사 (Gokseong, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Taeansa Temple, which is located on Mt. Bongdusan (753.8 m), or Mt. Dongrisan (as the temple calls this mountain), in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do. And even though it’s several kilometres away from Mt. Jirisan (1915 m), the temple is still considered part of the greater Mt. Jirisan area. The name of the temple means “Grand Peace Temple,” in English. According to historical documents, Taeansa Temple was first constructed in February, 742 A.D. by three master monks. Later, Great Meditation Master Hyecheol Jeogin-seonsa (785-861 A.D.), who received Buddhist teachings from Grand Master Seodang-jijang of Tang China, returned to the Silla Kingdom. He established Dongrisanmun, which was one of the Gusan Seonmun…