• Jeollabuk-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Geumsansa Temple (Gimje, Jeollabuk-do)

    Introduction to Temple Geumsansa Temple is located in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do, and it was first built in either 599 A.D. or 600 A.D. When it was first built, it was rather unassuming; however, in 762 A.D., and under the guidance of the monk Jinpyo (8th century), Geumsansa Temple was rebuilt and expanded over a six year period. Geumsansa Temple underwent numerous changes during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Then during the Joseon Dynasty and the Imjin War (1592-1598), Geumsansa Temple was destroyed by the invading Japanese after the temple was used as a training ground for the Righteous Army. The restoration of Geumsansa Temple began in 1601, and it was completed over…

  • Gyeonggi-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center (Incheon)

    Introduction to Temple The Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center, much like Jeondeungsa Temple, is located on Ganghwa-do in Incheon. It’s located near the foothills of a low lying mountain and near rice fields. The center was first founded in 1997 by the monk Wonmyeong (1950-2003). Wonmyeong was a monk that spent many years abroad teaching Buddhism. So it was from this that Wonmyeong first founded the Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center. The Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center Templestay program is entitled A Lotus Flower-Lantern in your Heart!, and it focuses on meditation and chanting services. Directions From the Gimpo Goldline, which includes the Gimpo International Airport station (G109), you’ll need…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Gucheungam Hermitage – 구층암 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Hermitage History Gucheungam Hermitage is located in Gurye, Jeollanam-do on the Hwaeomsa Temple grounds to the north of the main temple courtyard. In fact, Gucheungam Hermitage is one of eight hermitages on the Hwaeomsa Temple grounds. Based on artifacts discovered on the hermitage grounds, it’s believed that Gucheungam Hermitage was built at the end of Silla (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). As for the name of the hermitage, which means “Nine Levels Hermitage” in English, it’s either a reference to a nine-story stone pagoda that once stood on the hermitage grounds or the nine grades associated with Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). However, a detailed history of the…

  • Gyeonggi-do,  Templestay

    Templestay – Jeondeungsa Temple (Incheon)

    Introduction to Temple Jeondeungsa Temple is situated on Ganghwa-do Island. Jeondeungsa Temple was first established in the 4th century by the monk Ado, and it was formally called Jinjongsa Temple. It received its current name in 1282. It’s believed by some that Jeondeungsa Temple is the oldest temple on the Korean peninsula. The temple helped defend against the invading Mongols during the 13th century. In fact, the Goryeo royal family temporarily took up residence at the temple after the capital of Gaeseong had been overrun. From 1719 until 1910, Jeondeungsa Temple was in charge of protecting the ancestral records of the Joseon Dynasty royal family. As a result, senior monks…

  • Jeollanam-do

    Yeongoksa Temple – 연곡사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

    Temple History Yeongoksa Temple is located in Gurye, Jeollanam-do, and it was purportedly first constructed in 543 A.D. by the the Indian monk Yeongi-josa, who also founded neighbouring Hwaeomsa Temple in 544 A.D. According to legend, Yeongi-josa discovered a pond while reading about the land. While he was looking out at the middle of the pond, a swallow flew out from a whirlpool of water. After that, the pond dried up and the place where the pond used to inhabit was used for the temple grounds. As a result, Yeongoksa Temple means “Swallow Valley Temple” in English. The temple was later renovated in the 9th century by Doseon-guksa. During the…

  • Seoul,  Templestay

    Templestay – Myogaksa Temple (Seoul)

    Introduction to Temple Myogaksa Temple is located in downtown Seoul in Jongno-gu. And it’s situated at the base of Mt. Naksan, so you get a great view of the entire city of Seoul. Myogaksa Temple is a relatively newer temple. Myogaksa Temple was first established in 1930 by Taeheo. The reason that he built the temple where he did, and according to geomancy, was to put the city of Seoul at ease. The temple grounds themselves are rather small; however, the temple buildings are beautifully arranged both among themselves and with nature. The true highlight to this temple is the beautifully carved image of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). Myogaksa…

  • Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Five-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Sanhae-ri – 산해리 오층모전석탑 (Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

    The History and Design of the Brick Pagoda The Five-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Sanhae-ri is located in a small farming village known as Bonggam in Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The pagoda is beautifully placed next to a meandering stream, and it’s believed that the pagoda once stood at a temple from Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.) that has long since disappeared. In fact, very little is known about the pagoda and the temple, and even less is written about it. There are simply no historical records or stories about this former temple. It isn’t until the 1930’s, and through Kyouichi Ariyama’s work, that the Five-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Sanhae-ri becomes known.…

  • Seoul,  Templestay

    Templestay – Geumseonsa Temple (Seoul)

    Introduction to Temple Geumseonsa Temple, which is also spelled Geumsunsa Temple, is over 600 years old, and it’s beautifully situated in Mt. Bukhansan National Park in Seoul. Historically, Geumseonsa Temple was the place where King Jeungjo of Joseon (r. 1776-1800) prayed for the birth of a male heir. As for the temple itself, it specializes in Seon meditation. There are a couple highlights to this temple like the beautiful stream that passes under the Hongyae-gyo Bridge (Nirvana Bridge) inside the temple grounds, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds the temple. As for the Templestay programs, the Relaxational Templestay program focuses on meditation, touring the temple, and on Buddhist…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Cheonjangsa Temple – 천장사 (Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Temple History Cheonjangsa Temple is located in southern Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do on Mt. Yeonamsan (440.8 m). In English, Cheonjangsa Temple means “Hidden by Heaven Temple.” The reason for this name is that Cheonjangsa Temple is hidden so deeply in the mountain that both the sky and the earth can’t find the temple. Additionally, the temple is classified as Traditional Temple #42. Purportedly, Cheonjangsa Temple was first built in 633 A.D. by the monk Damhwa during the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). However, there are no records or relics of the monk Damhwa. What is more likely is that Cheonjangsa Temple was first established some time during the Goryeo Dynasty…

  • Seoul,  Templestay

    Templestay – Jogyesa Temple (Seoul)

    Introduction to Temple Jogyesa Temple is located in Jong-no, Seoul. The name of Jogyesa Temple might sound familiar. It’s the headquarters to the largest Buddhist Order in Korea: the Jogye-jong Order. Jogyesa Temple has a bit of a unique history. The original building that took up residence at Jogyesa Temple was actually transferred from a temple named Gakhwangsa Temple in neighbouring Susong Park in 1938. Gakhwangsa Temple was first founded in 1395. This original structure no longer remains; but during Japanese Colonial Rule from 1910-1945, the temple would grow in importance in its resistance towards the Japanese efforts to suppress Korean Buddhism. It was in 1937 that the resistance movement was…