• North Korea

    Kwanumsa Temple – 관음사 (Kaesong, Hwanghaebuk-to North Korea)

    Temple History Kwanumsa Temple [Gwaneumsa Temple] is located on Mt. Chonmasan near Kaesong, North Korea. The temple is named after Kwanum, or Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). And it should be noted that some of the spelling in this post will be based on North Korean spelling. This small temple is located between two mountains in a valley. The two mountains are Mt. Chonmasan (757 m) and Mt. Songgosan; and at the back of the valley, you’ll find Pakyon Falls. Kwanumsa Temple was first established in 970 A.D. by the monk Beopin, when he placed two marble statues of Gwanseeum-bosal inside a cave behind the temple. As for the temple,…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Daejeonsa Temple – 대전사 (Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Temple History Daejeonsa Temple is located in the southwest corner of Juwangsan National Park in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do. Juwangsan National Park is the smallest of the national parks in Korea, but it certainly doesn’t lack for beauty with its scenic valleys and rocky mountains. It’s believed that Daejeonsa Temple was first established in 672 A.D. by the famed monk Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.). The temple was completely destroyed in 1592 during the Imjin War (1592-1598) by the invading Japanese. The temple was later rebuilt in 1672. Unfortunately, not much is known about the temple’s history from when it was first established in 672 A.D. to when it was later destroyed in 1592.…

  • North Korea

    Anguksa Temple – 안국사 (Pyongsong, Pyongannam-to, North Korea)

    Temple History Anguksa Temple is located in Pyongsong, Pyongannam-to, North Korea. It’s located on the slopes of Mt. Pongrinsan (217 m). And for the rest of this article, it should be noted, that the spelling of North Korean places will use the North Korean style of spelling. Anguksa Temple was first established in 503 A.D. Anguksa Temple is one of the oldest cultural sites still remaining in North Korea. Of particular importance is the two-story Taeungbo-jeon Hall [Daeungbo-jeon Hall] that was built during the mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). According to the writing on the eaves inside the Taeungbo-jeon Hall, the main hall was rebuilt in 1419. It was later rebuilt again…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Ingaksa Temple – 인각사 (Gunwi, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Temple History Ingaksa Temple is located in the southeastern part of Gunwi, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The temple was first founded in 643 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). The name of the temple means “Giraffe Horn Temple” in English. More specifically, the temple is located next to the Wicheon River and Mt. Hwasan (828.1 m). Interestingly, people thought that Mt. Hwasan looked like a giraffe. And where Ingaksa Temple is located, people believed that’s where the giraffe’s horn should have been located; and hence, the temple’s name. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), Ingaksa Temple was further expanded. And as the temple grew in size, Ingaksa Temple also grew to be…

  • North Korea

    Songbulsa Temple – 성불사 (Sariwon, Hwanghaebuk-to, North Korea)

    Temple History Songbulsa Temple [Seongbulsa Temple] is located in Sariwon, Hwanghaebuk-to, North Korea. Additionally, Songbulsa Temple is located inside the Mt. Jongbangsan [Jeongbangsan] Fortress in the southwest corner. The fortress was rebuilt in 1632 to ward off Japanese pirates. And for the rest of this article, it should be noted, that the spelling of North Korean places will use the North Korean style of spelling. As for the temple, it was first founded in 898 A.D. by Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). After falling into disrepair, Songbulsa Temple was rebuilt in 1374 by Naong (1320-1376). The temple was then expanded in 1569 and 1632. In 1751, the temple was repaired by the…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Beopheungsa-ji Temple Site – 법흥사지 (Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Temple Site History The Beopheungsa-ji Temple Site is located in eastern Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The Beopheungsa-ji Temple Site is backed by the Imcheonggak House; and according to Pungsu-jiri (geomancy/feng sui), the location is thought to be auspicious because of its south-facing location with a mountain to its back (Mt. Yeongnamsan) and a river (the Nakdong River) to its front. All that remains of the former temple, Beopheungsa Temple, is the Seven-Story Brick Pagoda at Beopheungsa Temple Site, which is National Treasure #16. Given that the temple site is located in Beopheung-ri in Andong, it’s assumed that the temple was named Beopheungsa Temple; thus, giving the area its name. It’s also believed…

  • North Korea

    Pohyonsa Temple – 보현사 (Hyangsan, Pyonganbuk-to, North Korea)

    Temple History Pohyonsa Temple [Bohyeonsa Temple] is located in Hyangsan, Pyonganbuk-to [Pyonganbuk-do], North Korea. And for the rest of this article, it should be noted, that the spelling of North Korean places will use the North Korean style of spelling. The temple is named after Bohyeon-bosal, or Pohyon-posal in North Korea, who is the Bodhisattva of Power. Pohyonsa Temple was first founded in 968 A.D. during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) as a smaller sized temple. The temple is located near Mt. Myohyangsan (1,909 m). During the Imjin War (1592-1598), Pohyonsa Temple became a base for part of the Righteous Army led by the monk Seosan-daesa (1520-1604), which would assist in…

  • Chungcheongbuk-do

    Ansimsa Temple – 안심사 (Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do)

    Temple History Ansimsa Temple is located in southwestern Cheongju in Chungcheongbuk-do. Ansimsa Temple means “Peaceful State of Mind Temple” in English. It’s unclear when this temple was first founded; however, in 775 A.D. the temple changed its name to Ansimsa Temple after the monk Jinpyo-yulsa taught his students here peacefully. This is the same Jinpyo-yulsa that would go on to first build the famed Geumsansa Temple in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do. Later, Ansimsa Temple was rebuilt in 1325 by Wonmyeong-guksa. And it was repaired in 1626 by the monk Songam-daesa. Ansimsa Temple was damaged during the Imjin War in 1592. Later, in 1672, the Daeung-jeon Hall that now currently stands on the…

  • Korean Buddhism Orders and Sects

    Won Buddhism – 원불교

    History of Won Buddhism Won Buddhism is a modern religion founded in the 20th century. And it’s either a new syncretic religion or a reformed Buddhism. Won Buddhism means “circle” in English. Or more precisely and literally, “Round Buddhism.” The stated goal of Won Buddhism is for people to realize the innate Buddha nature in all of us and to help save other sentient beings by serving them. That’s why an emphasis is placed on the interactions we have in our daily lives. Won Buddhism was first founded by Pak Chung-bin (1891-1943). He was known as Great Master Sotaesan. And he attained enlightenment in 1916. Initially, Sotaesan didn’t specifically set…

  • Korean Buddhism Orders and Sects

    Cheontae Order – 천태종

    History of the Cheontae Order Cheontae Buddhism is a descendant of Tiantai. Cheontae Buddhism was first introduced a few times to the Korean peninsula after it was first established in China in 594 A.D. by Master Zhiyi (538-597 A.D.), or “Jiui – 지의” in Korean. Yeongwang, a Silla Kingdom monk, studied under Master Zhiyi in China from 581-597 A.D., but later returned to the Korean peninsula to teach the Cheontae teachings. Then in 730 A.D., the Silla monks Peopyung, Ieung, and Sunyeong studied the Cheontae teachings under the Master Monk Chwagye Hyeonrang. Later, they returned to Korea to transmit the Cheontae teachings. However, it wasn’t until the monk Uicheon (1055-1101),…