• Gyeongju,  Templestay

    Templestay – Bulguksa Temple (Gyeongju)

    Introduction to Temple Bulguksa Temple is arguably Korea’s most famous temple. It’s located in eastern Gyeongju, and it’s situated in the foothills of Mt. Tohamsan (745 m). Bulguksa Temple means “Buddha Kingdom Temple” in English. Bulguksa Temple was first constructed in 528 A.D., which was the first year that Buddhism was officially accepted by the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) during the reign of King Beopheung of Silla (r. 514-540 A.D.). Originally, the temple was named Beopryusa Temple or Hwaeom Bulguksa Temple. Then nearly two hundred years later, the Bulguksa Temple that we know of today was first started in 742 A.D. The design and financial backing of…

  • Daegu,  Templestay

    Templestay – Donghwasa Temple (Dong-gu, Daegu)

    Introduction to Temple Donghwasa Temple is located on the southern slopes of Mt. Palgongsan (1193 m) in Dong-gu, Daegu. The name of the temple means “Paulownia Blossom Temple” in English. The temple was first built in 493 A.D. by the monk Geukdal, and it was originally named Yugasa Temple. However, when the temple was rebuilt in 832 A.D., the name of the temple changed to Donghwasa Temple. The re-naming of the temple pertains to a legend, when during the dead of winter, wild paulownia trees were in full bloom all around the temple grounds. This was thought of as an auspicious sign, so the temple was re-named Donghwasa Temple. During…

  • Gyeongju

    Temple Site in Bomun-dong – 보문동 사지 (Gyeongju)

    Temple Site History The Temple Site in Bomun-dong is located in the historic city of Gyeongju on the east side of the Bomun plains between Mt. Hindeungsan (268.7 m) and Mt. Nangsan (99.5 m). The name of the temple is assumed to be Bomunsa Temple because of a tile found at the site with “Bomun” written on it in Chinese characters. The roof file was discovered during Japanese Colonization (1910-1945). It’s unclear as to when the temple was first built, but it’s believed to have been built some time before the reign of King Gyeongmun of Silla (r. 861-875 A.D.). Currently, the temple site is located in and among numerous…

  • Chungcheongbuk-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Guinsa Temple (Danyang, Chungcheongbuk-do)

    Introduction to Temple Guinsa Temple is located in Danyang, Chungcheongbuk-do. And the name of the temple means “Salvation of Humanity Temple” in English. Guinsa Temple is located up a long valley north of the towering Mt. Sobaeksan (1439.6 m). The temple was first completed in 1945, when a small hut was built on the grounds by the founder, Sangwol-wongak, of the modern Cheontae-jong Order. During the Korean War (1950-1953), the temple was destroyed by fire. Then in 1966, Guinsa Temple was rebuilt and expanded. Guinsa Temple is the headquarters to the Cheontae-jong Order in Korea, which governs over 140 temples like Samgwangsa Temple in Busan. Also, the Cheontae-jong Order has over two million…

  • Artwork

    Siwang – The Ten Kings of the Underworld: 시왕

    Introduction to the Ten Kings of the Underworld The origins and development of the Ten Kings of the Underworld, which are known as the “Siwang” in Korean, is a lengthy one. The Ten Kings, as we know them today, are solidified around the 9th century in China over a gradual process with numerous influences (both social and religious). Here is their journey through time, culture, and religions. Pre-Buddhism and Early Buddhism in China Before Buddhism had entered the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D.), the descriptions of the afterlife are somewhat vague and simple. Additionally, these descriptions lack detail. Instead, all that the underworld is associated with is with…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Geumryongam Hermitage – 금룡암 (Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Hermitage History Geumryongam Hermitage, which means “Golden Dragon Hermitage” in English, is located to the east of Sinwonsa Temple in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do. It’s believed that the golden dragon that gives the hermitage its name inhabits the cascading stream on the eastern side of the hermitage grounds. Geumryongam Hermitage is one of five hermitages that’s located on the Sinwonsa Temple grounds. All of which are located in Gyeryongsan National Park. Unfortunately, very little is known about Geumryongam Hermitage. However, it does appear as though the hermitage buildings are post-Korean War (1950-1953). Overall, Geumryongam Hermitage exudes a lovely mixture of Buddhism and shamanism. Hermitage Layout You first make your way towards Geumryongam…

  • Chungcheongbuk-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Beopjusa Temple (Boeun, Chungcheongbuk-do)

    Introduction to Temple Beopjusa Temple, which is located in Songnisan National Park in Boeun, Chungcheongbuk-do, means “Dharma Residence Temple” in English. The temple was first built in 553 A.D. by the monk Uisin. After traveling to India to learn more about Buddhism, Uisin returned to the Korean Peninsula with Indian Buddhist texts. He carried these Buddhist texts on a white donkey, and he housed them at the temple he would call Beopjusa Temple. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), and in the early 1100’s, over 30,000 monks gathered at Beopjusa Temple to pray for the dying Uicheon-guksa (1055-1101). At its largest, Beopjusa Temple housed some three thousand monks. However, during the…

  • Gangwon-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Naksansa Temple (Yangyang, Gangwon-do)

    Introduction to Temple Naksansa Temple is located in Yangyang, Gangwon-do. The name of the temple is in reference to “Botarakgasan,” which is the mythical mountain, Mt. Potalaka, where Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) is believed to reside. The temple was first founded in 671 A.D. by Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) upon his return from Tang China (618–690, 705–907 A.D.). Throughout the years, Naksansa Temple has been destroyed by fire numerous times. The temple was first destroyed by the invading Mongols during the 13th century. Throughout the years, Naksansa Temple has been rebuilt and expanded numerous times including during the 15th and 17th centuries. Then in 1953, Naksansa Temple was destroyed during…

  • Gangwon-do

    Gulsansa-ji Temple Site – 굴산사지 (Gangneung, Gangwon-do)

    Temple Site History The Gulsansa-ji Temple Site is located in the southern part of Gangneung, Gangwon-do in Haksan Village. The temple site occupies an impressive 66,698 m2 in size spread out over farmland, but the exact boundaries are unknown. Gulsansa Temple was first founded by National Preceptor Beomil-guksa (810-889 A.D.) in 851 A.D. The temple was one of the Nine Mountain Schools of Seon Buddhism. Here’s a little more about Beomil-guksa. According to a legend, there was a virgin from Haksan Village. One day while drinking water from a bowl, the sun shone down on the bowl. After she drank this water, she became pregnant and eventually delivered a baby…

  • Jeollanam-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Mihwangsa Temple (Haenam, Jeollanam-do)

    Introduction to Temple Mihwangsa Temple, which means “Beautiful Yellow Temple” in English, is located in Haenam, Jeollanam-do. According to a temple myth from the Samguk Yusa, Mihwangsa Temple was first founded in 749 A.D. The temple is located to the west of Mt. Dalmasan (489 m), and it’s the southernmost temple on the Korean Peninsula. As a result, Mihwangsa Temple enjoys beautiful views of the South Sea off in the distance. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), officials and scholars from China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279) visited the temple between 1264 to 1294. Also at this time, there were twelve hermitages that were directly associated with Mihwangsa Temple on Mt. Dalmasan. During…