• Jeollabuk-do

    Wibongsa Temple – 위봉사 (Wanju, Jeollabuk-do)

    Temple History and Myth Wibongsa Temple is located on the south-eastern slopes of Mt. Wibongsan (557.8 m) in Wanju, Jeollabuk-do. There are a couple theories as to when, and by whom, the temple was first established. One theory states that Wibongsa Temple was first constructed in 604 A.D. by the monk Seoam-daesa during the reign of King Mu of Baekje (r. 600-641 A.D.). According to another source, Wibongsa Temple was created at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) by a man named Choi Yong-gak. According to this source, Choi Yong-gak was riding a horse one day, when he looked south. The land to the south looked like three phoenixes…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Unjusa Temple – 운주사 (Hwasun, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Unjusa Temple is located in rural Hwasun, Jeollanam-do. The name of the temple, Unjusa Temple, means “The Place Where Clouds Stay Temple,” in English. The exact date of the founding of Unjusa Temple is unknown; however, it’s widely believed to have been established sometime during the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) in the late 10th century or early 11th century. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the temple was created by the monk Hyemyeong. And the temple prospered until the 12th century. The oldest historical record about Unjusa Temple is found in the book “Sinjeung Donggukyeojiseungnam” (“A Revised Book on Geography and Scenic Sites in Korea,” in English, from 1530.…

  • Gyeonggi-do

    Yeonjuam Hermitage/Yeonjudae – 연주암/연주대 (Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! This is Giuseppe with my second contribution to the site. Hope you enjoy! Throughout my years of living and traveling in Korea, I’ve always had a small collection of “comfort” places that I tried to get back to now and again, depending on where I lived. I appreciate the sense of intimacy that develops from this relationship with a place; getting to know some of the locals, enjoying a specific restaurant, finding hidden trails, knowing a place through the four seasons. Since moving to suburban Seoul, Yeonjuam Hermitage, and its spectacular Yeonjudae, perched on the edge of a sharp cliff, has been one of those places. The…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Tongdosa Temple – 통도사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Tongdosa Temple, which is located in northern Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, is the largest temple in all of Korea with twenty hermitages spread throughout its vast grounds. Tongdosa Temple means “Passing Through to Enlightenment Temple,” in English. Tongdosa Temple was first founded in 646 A.D. by the famed monk Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.). According to the “Tongdosa-sarigasa-sajeok-yannok,” the temple site was originally a large pond, but it was covered over by landfill so as to allow for Tongdosa Temple to be built. Also, according to the “Tongdosa-yakji,” the name of Mt. Yeongchuksan, which is where Tongdosa Temple is located, the mountain was named after the mountain in India where the Buddha…

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: Bicheon: Flying Heavenly Deities – 비천

    Hello Again Everyone!! Typically, you’ll find these angelic paintings up near the roofs and rafters of a Korean Buddhist shrine hall. They can be playing a musical instrument, dancing, or even sprinkling water. Beautiful and elegant in appearance, you’ll find them in and around Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. These flying heavenly deities have their origins in Hindu myth. So find out what the do and why they’re at Buddhist temples throughout Korea in this next temple artwork video. Enjoy!

  • Artwork,  Video

    Video: Gwimyeon: The Monster Mask – 귀면

    Hello Everyone!! You might have spotted this somewhat terrifying and sometimes playful figure around a Korean Buddhist temple. They can be located on wall, halls, beams, and panels. These colourful images, usually painted, but can also be a relief or a statue, is called a Gwimyeon. In English, they’re called a Monster Mask. They also go by the name Nathwi. So what exactly are these creatures? What do they do? How did they end up appearing in Korean Buddhist temples and hermitages? Well, watch this video and learn more about these wonderful and colour creatures!

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa,  Video

    Video: Seounam Hermitage – 서운암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Alongside Samyeongam Hermitage, Jajangam Hermitage, and Geukrakam Hermitage, Seounam Hermitage is another one of the beautiful hermitages that takes up residence on the Tongdosa Temple grounds. But unlike the three other hermitages, Seounam Hermitage has extensive grounds that a visitor can explore. During these explorations, you can come around a Koi pond, large clay soy pots, and even a fenced off enclosure for a collection of peacocks. The hermitage was first built in 1346. And inside the Janggyeong-gak, in the upper courtyard, you can find a collection of the Tripitaka Koreana that you can find at Haeinsa Temple. So follow me as we walk our way through…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do,  Tongdosa,  Video

    Video: Jajangam Hermitage – 자장암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hello Again Everyone!! Jajangam Hermitage is one of the beautiful hermitages located on the Tongdosa Temple grounds. The temple is named after the famed monk, Jajang-yulsa (590-658), was the location from which Jajang-yulsa built Tongdosa Temple. Now comprising of three buildings (the main hall, Chilseong-gak, and Samseong-gak), as well as a beautiful view of the valley and Mt. Yeongchuksan off in the distance, Jajangam Hermitage makes for a nice little escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So sit back and enjoy the view and the harmonious atmosphere that Jajangam Hermitage offers a visitor to its beautiful grounds.