• Gyeongju

    Sacheonwangsa-ji Temple Site – 사천왕사지 (Gyeongju)

    Temple Site History This is the former site of Sacheonwangsa Temple, which was built in 679 A.D. during Later Silla (668-935 A.D.). It was the first temple to be built by the Silla Kingdom after the unification of the Three Kingdoms (Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo). The Sacheonwangsa-ji Temple Site is located near the royal tombs of King Sinmun of Silla (r. 681-692 A.D.) and Queen Seondeok (r. 632-647 A.D.) at the foot of Mt. Nangsan (99.5 m) in Gyeongju. The foundation of the temple is rooted in the protection and safety of the Korean peninsula through the protection of the Buddha. It can be said that Sacheonwangsa Temple was built…

  • Artwork

    Jowang-shin – The Fireplace King Spirit: 조왕신

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction One of the more uncommon figures you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple is Jowang-shin, or “The Fireplace King Spirit” in English. I have yet to see a shrine hall dedicated to this shaman deity; instead, where you’ll find Jowang-shin is in the kitchen area of a temple or hermitage. And even then, it’s very uncommon to see this shaman deity. In all of my travels, which includes nearly…

  • Gyeongju

    Heungnyunsa Temple – 흥륜사 (Gyeongju)

    This post contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Temple History Heungnyunsa Temple was first established by the Goguryeo missionary monk Ado-hwasang. Ado-hwasang came to the Silla Kingdom from the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C. – 668 A.D.) to help spread the teachings of Buddhism. Heungnyunsa Temple was originally built as a poor thatched-roof building. Heungnyunsa Temple was later rebuilt as a great temple of the Silla Kingdom after the martyrdom of the monk Ichadon (501-527 A.D.). Heungnyunsa Temple, which…

  • Artwork

    Bicheon – Flying Heavenly Deities: 비천

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Bicheon Introduction One of the more common figures you’ll see floating around Korean Buddhist temples and hermitages are Bicheon. These angelic figures can pretty much appear on any and all surfaces at a Korean Buddhist temple like a Brahma Bell, a pagoda, and in and around temple shrine halls. So what do these popular figures represent? And why do they appear at Korean Buddhist temples and hermitages? History of Bicheon…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Cheonggoksa Temple – 청곡사 (Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Temple History Cheonggoksa Temple is located in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do on the southern slopes of Mt. Wolasan (468.9 m). Cheonggoksa Temple was first built in 879 A.D. by the famed monk Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). Doseon-guksa is perhaps best known for his geomancy methods, or “Pungsu-jiri” in Korean. And the location of Cheonggoksa Temple was chosen according to Pungsu-jiri. After watching a blue crane fly from the banks of the Nam River…

  • Jeollabuk-do

    Geumdangsa Temple – 금당사 (Jinan, Jeollabuk-do)

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Temple History Geumdangsa Temple is located in Jinan, Jeollabuk-do near the entrance of Maisan Provincial Park. In fact, just a little up the paved pathway about six hundred metres past Geumdangsa Temple, you’ll come to the famed Tapsa Temple. Both temples are housed within the park grounds of Maisan Provincial Park. Geumdangsa Temple means “Golden Hall Temple” in English, and it has two differing stories as to when it was…

  • Artwork

    Poroe – The Dragon that Adorns the Top of the Temple Bell: 포뢰

    Introduction One of the most common things that you’ll see at a Korean Buddhist temple outside a pagoda or temple shrine hall is the Brahma Bell, which is a large, decorative bronze bell. The Brahma Bell, which is known as a “Beomjong – 범종” in Korean, is well-crafted and is usually several hundred years old. Typically, the exterior walls of the bell are adorned with various Buddhist figures like Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities), Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. Joining these bell reliefs is a decorative metal hook that holds the bell to the rafter’s of the bell pavilion. The decorative metal hook that crowns the top of the bell is designed like…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Gwaneumsa Temple – 관음사 (Gokseong, Jeollanam-do)

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! 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…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Ssangmireuksa Temple – 쌍미륵사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Temple History Ssangmireuksa Temple is located at the base of Mt. Hyangrosan (726.7 m) in the very scenic Baenaegol Valley in northern Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. A beautiful flowing stream from Lake Miryang passes by the front of the temple. Ssangmireuksa Temple means “Twin Future Buddhas Temple” in English. Originally, the temple was known as Seongbulsa Temple. In 2019, the temple changed its name to Ssangmireuksa Temple. The probable reason for the…

  • Artwork

    Banya Yongseon-do – The Dragon Ship of Wisdom: 반야 용선도

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! The Purpose of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom One of the more distinctive paintings that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple is the Banya Yongseon-do, or “The Dragon Ship of Wisdom Mural” in English. In this painting, you’ll see a dragon-shaped boat with passengers on it and a pair of Bodhisattvas looking like they’re the captain of this symbolic ship. So what exactly is this painting meant to symbolize?…