• Chungcheongnam-do

    Bowonsa-ji Temple Site – 보원사지 (Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Temple Site History The Bowonsa-ji Temple Site is located in Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do in the village of Bowon to the south of Mt. Sangwangsan (309.5 m). The exact date as to when the temple was first built is unknown. However, it’s presumed to have first been built either at the end of Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.) or the early Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Rather interestingly, the Gilt-Bronze Standing Buddha from the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) was discovered in 1968 at the temple site, and it’s now housed at the National Museum of Korea, which suggests that Bonwonsa Temple was first established during the Baekje Kingdom and not later. Rather…

  • Seoul,  Templestay

    Templestay – Jingwangsa Temple (Seoul)

    Introduction to Temple Jingwangsa Temple is beautifully located in northern Seoul on Mt. Samgaksan. The temple grounds are large and they have beautiful temple shrine halls like the Daeung-jeon Hall that’s framed nicely by the backing mountain peaks. Also, you can enjoy the stream that flows next to the temple. Jingwangsa Temple is a harmonious blend of both nature and Buddhism found in the capital of Korea. Jingwangsa Temple offers just one Templestay program. This program focuses on a temple tour, relaxation, and a tea ceremony. It’s a perfect program for those wanting to have a little time to themselves. Directions On the Seoul subway system, you’ll need to take…

  • Seoul,  Templestay

    Templestay – International Seon Center (Seoul)

    Introduction to Temple The International Seon Center first opened its doors on November 15th, 2010. The center was opened so that both Koreans and ex-pats could enjoy and experience Korean Buddhism. In total, the center consists of nine floors. The first two underground floors are reserved for parking, while the final underground floor is reserved for the Education and Culture Hall. The first floor of the building houses the center’s office and restaurant. The third and fourth floor, respectively, house the Event Hall and the Dining Room. The fifth floor, and the floor you’re probably most interested in, is reserved for the Templestay program; while the sixth and seventh floor…

  • Seoul,  Templestay

    Templestay – Hwagyesa Temple (Seoul)

    Introduction to Temple Hwagyesa Temple was first founded in 1522 A.D by the monk Sinwol. Tragically, the temple was destroyed by fire in 1618. It wasn’t until 1866, through financial support from royal elders, that the temple was rebuilt. There are numerous buildings at the temple to enjoy like the Daeung-jeon Hall, the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, and the Samseong-gak Hall. In addition to these buildings, a visitor can enjoy a small spring to the rear of the temple and Hwagye-gol Valley. The spring water from the Oktak-cheon stream is said to have curative properties for skin and stomach ailments. In total, Hwagyesa Temple offers two distinct Templestay programs. The first is…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Ganwolam Hermitage – 간월암 (Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Hermitage History Ganwolam Hermitage is a coastal hermitage located in southern Seosan, Chungcheongnam do on Ganwol-do Island. Previously, the island was known as Pian-do Island, and the hermitage was known as Piansa Temple. The hermitage is also known as Yeonhwa-dae and/or Nakgasan Wontong-dae. The reason for Yeonhwa-dae is because it’s believed that the island looks like a lotus flower floating on water. And the reason for Nakgasan Wontong-dae is because it’s believed to look like the mythical Mt. Potalaka, which is where Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) is believed to reside. As for the hermitage’s current name, Ganwolam Hermitage, it originated from the fact that Muhak-daesa (1327-1405) gained enlightenment while…

  • Gangwon-do

    Geonbongsa Temple – 건봉사 (Goseong, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Geonbongsa Temple is located in Goseong, Gangwon-do some 8 km from the DMZ. Geonbongsa Temple is part of the Mt. Geumgangsan (1,638 m) mountain range at its southern tip. Also, and of note, the DMZ divides the mountain range. The temple is also commonly referred to as Geumgangsan Geonbongsa Temple. Geonbongsa Temple was first founded in 520 A.D., and it was initially named Wongaksa Temple. The temple was then later rebuilt in 758 A.D. by the monk Baljing (?-785 A.D.). In fact, Baljing chanted Buddhist prayers for 10,000 days to be reborn in the Western Paradise, or Jeongto in Korean. Purportedly, this was the origin of this ceremony…

  • 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…