• Gyeongju

    Dodeokam Hermitage – 도덕암 (Gyeongju)

    Hermitage History Dodeokam Hermitage is located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Dodeoksan (707.5 m) in northern Gyeongju. It’s believed that the hermitage was first founded during the reign of King Gyeongdeok of Silla (r. 742-765 A.D.). Additionally, Dodeokam Hermitage was one of twelve hermitages that belonged to Jeonghyesa Temple, which is now known as the Jeonghyesa-ji Temple Site because all that remains of the former temple is the uniquely designed thirteen-story stone pagoda. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Lee Eon-jeok (1491-1553), a philosopher and politician, stayed at Jeonghyesa Temple and Dodeokam Hermitage. It’s here that he purportedly studied. Dodeokam Hermitage is also where the memorial tablet for the Gyeongju…

  • Artwork

    Seokdeung – Stone Lantern: 석등

    Design and Location of Stone Lanterns One of the most common stone structures that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple is the stone lantern, which is known as a “seokdeung – 석등” in Korean. So what exactly do they look like? What do they mean? And where do you find them? Stone lanterns are comprised of a base, a single long octagonal pedestal, a square or octagonal body that may, or may not, be decorated. This chamber typically has four vertical, rectangular openings. And atop this chamber is a roof-cap. Stone lanterns are typically made of white granite. Stone lanterns are typically housed in the main courtyard between the…

  • Gyeongju

    Nawonsa Temple – 나원사 (Gyeongju)

    Temple History Nawonsa Temple is located in the northern part of Gyeongju in Nawon-ri. Nawonsa Temple is a restored temple that was recently rebuilt in 1975. The temple was named after its location in Nawon-ri. Before it was rebuilt, the temple was known as the Nawon-ri Temple Site. The temple site was also known as the Nanwonsa Temple Site. Additionally, the temple was once known as Daegakam Hermitage in recognition of the founder of the temple. But Nawonsa Temple is most famous for the Five-Story Stone Pagoda in Nawon-ri, which is National Treasure #39. The historic pagoda dates back to the 8th century and is located out in front of…

  • Busan

    Naewonjeongsa Temple – 내원정사 (Seo-gu, Busan)

    Temple History Naewonjeongsa Temple is located east of Mt. Gudeoksan (560 m) in Seo-gu, Busan. Naewonjeongsa Temple is a modern temple with it first being established in 1973. Then in 1983, the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall was completed. This was subsequently followed with the building of the temple’s Gwaneum-jeon Hall, the Yosachae (monks’ dorms), and the Jong-ru Pavilion. And in 1990, the Manbul-jeon Hall was built. Naewonjeongsa Temple is home to a pair of Busan Metropolitan City Tangible Cultural Property. They are the “Jineonjib” and the “Josang-gyeong.” They are a collection of sutras from a collection of woodblocks. In addition to these woodblocks, Naewonjeongsa Temple is home to another Busan Metropolitan City…

  • Gyeongju

    Jusaam Hermitage – 주사암 (Gyeongju)

    Hermitage History The little known Jusaam Hermitage is located on Mt. Obongsan (632.8 m) in western Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. Jusaam Hermitage is a branch temple of the famed Bulguksa Temple, and it was purportedly founded by Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) during the reign of King Munmu of Silla (r. 661-681 A.D.). As for how the hermitage got its name, it’s related to a myth that’s told in the “Shinjeungdonggukyeoji Seungram.” There’s another myth concerning Jusaam Hermitage and why it’s located where it is. While constructing the Busanseong Fortress in 663 A.D., which is Korean Historic Site #25, Uisang-daesa predicted that if the hermitage was placed inside the fortress, the Silla Dynasty would…

  • North Korea

    Paeyopsa-ji Temple Site – 패엽사지 (Sincheon, Hwanghaenam-to, North Korea)

    Temple History Paeyopsa-ji Temple Site [Paeyeopsa-ji Temple Site] is located in Sinchon [Sincheon], Hwanghaenam-to, North Korea on Mt. Kuwolsan (954 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. As for Mt. Kuwolsan, it gets its name from the ninth month of the lunar calendar, which is when the mountain is considered to be at its most beautiful. The area is especially popular with North Korean travelers during the summer months. Additionally, Mt. Kuwolsan [Mt. Guwolsan] is famous for its relation to Dangun, who was the legendary founder of Korea. According to…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Daeunam Hermitage – 대운암 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    Hermitage History Daeunam Hermitage is located on the southern part of the Mt. Yonggaksan (696.8 m) mountain range on Mt. Oryesan in northeastern Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do. Daeunam Hermitage was first established in 1868 near the end of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Daeunam Hermitage was eventually destroyed in the 1900s by fire, and it would be rebuilt by Buam-seonsa in 1930. More recently, Daeunam Hermitage has grown in size with the additions of the Sanshin-gak Hall in 1996, the dorms in 1998, and the Gwaneum-jeon Hall in 2000. Daeunam Hermitage is also home to Gyeongsangbuk-do Cultural Property Material #309, which is the Seated Wooden Gwaneum-bosal Statue and Accompanying Relics of Daeunam Hermitage.…

  • North Korea

    Pyohunsa Temple – 표훈사 (Kumgang, Kangwon-to, North Korea)

    Temple History Pyohunsa Temple is located in Kumgang [Geumgang], Kangwon-to [Gangwon-do], North Korea near Mt. Kumgangsan [Mt. Geumgangsan] (1638 m). And for some of this article, it should be noted, that the spelling of North Korean places will use the North Korean style of spelling. Pyohunsa Temple was first founded in 670 A.D. just two years after the unification of the Korean Peninsula under Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.) rule. The temple was established by disciples of Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.). These monks were Neungin, Sillim, and Pyohun; and originally, the temple was called Sillimsa Temple. However, the temple changed its name to Pyohunsa Temple some three years after it was first…

  • Busan

    Bokcheonsa Temple – 복천사 (Yeongdo-gu, Busan)

    Temple History Bokcheonsa Temple is located in Yeongdo-gu, Busan on the west side of Mt. Bongraesan (396.2 m). According to tradition, it’s believed that Bokcheonsa Temple was founded by the monk Naong Hyegeun (1320-1376) at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). However, the exact date of the temple’s founding remains unknown. At the time of its founding, Bokcheonsa Temple was known as Haeunam Hermitage. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Yeong-do Island was known as Jeolyeong-do Island. It was at this time that the island was closed off to the general public for a couple of reasons. First, it was to protect the land from Japanese pirates. Secondly, the land…

  • North Korea

    Sounsa Temple – 서운사 (Yongbyon, Pyonganbuk-to, North Korea)

    Temple History Sounsa Temple [Seounsa Temple] is located in Yongbyon, Pyonganbuk-to, North Korea on Mt. Yaksan. And for some of this article, it should be noted, that the spelling of North Korean places will use the North Korean style of spelling. According to the “Sounsa Hyangbuldabbi,” the temple was first founded in 1345. As for the name of the temple, the reason that it was named Sounsa Temple [Seounsa Temple] is because it was always cloudy in the area around the temple. The current temple shrine halls at Sounsa Temple [Seounsa Temple] date back to 1654. And they were rebuilt in 1678 and 1756. Until recently, Sounsa Temple consisted of…