• Gangwon-do

    Sutasa Temple – 수타사 (Hongcheon, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Sutasa Temple in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do is located to the west of Mt. Gongjaksan (887.4 m). Sutasa Temple is located in a bend in the Deokchi-cheon River up Sutasa Valley. Purportedly, the temple was first founded in 708 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (625-686 A.D.). However, since Wonhyo-daesa died in 686 A.D., it’s kind of hard to believe that he would found a temple after his death. And originally, the temple was called Ilwolsa Temple. The temple was renamed in 1568 to Sutasa Temple. The reason for this change is that it’s believed that where Sutasa Temple is located along the foothills of Mt. Gongjaksan that it resembles…

  • Gangwon-do

    Dopiansa Temple – 도피안사 (Cheorwon, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Dopiansa Temple is located in northern Cheorwon, Gangwon-do some 9 km from the DMZ. Dopiansa Temple was first constructed in 865 A.D. by Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). There’s a legend that an iron statue of Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) was to be commissioned. And it was to be enshrined at Anyangsa Temple in Cheorwon. However, the statue disappeared on its way to be enshrined at Anyangsa Temple. Eventually, the iron statue of Birojana-bul was discovered at a previously unknown location on Mt. Hwagaesan. As a result, Doseon-guksa decided, out of respect for Birojana-bul’s choice, to build Dopiansa Temple at the site where the statue was discovered and…

  • Gangwon-do

    Cheongpyeongsa Temple – 청평사 (Chuncheon, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Cheongpyeongsa Temple is located in a long valley south of Mt. Obongsan (777.9 m) in northern Chuncheon, Gangwon-do. The temple was first constructed in 973 A.D. by the monk Seunghyeon, and it was called Baegamseonwon Temple. The temple was rebuilt in 1068 by the civil official Yi Ui. Later, and in 1089, Yi Ui’s son, Yi Ja-hyeong (1061-1225) would retire as a government official and live at the temple for the next 37 years of his life. During this time, he built several hermitages, pavilions, and ponds. In the mid-16th century, the temple was expanded by the monk Bou, and it was at this time that the temple…

  • Gangwon-do

    Samhwasa Temple – 삼화사 (Donghae, Gangwon-do)

    Temple History Samhwasa Temple is located in Donghae, Gangwon-do. More specifically, Samhwasa Temple is located up Mureung Valley north of Mt. Dutasan (1357 m). Originally, the temple was located 1.3 km to the east. In 1977, Samhwasa Temple was relocated to its current location because its former location was a mining area used for cement factories. Samhwasa Temple is now located on the former site for Jungdaesa Temple. There is a legend related to the site of Samhwasa Temple. According to this legend, there is a place called “Hoamso.” It’s said that there was a tiger running around Mt. Dutasan and Mt. Cheongaksan. The tiger fell into the valley between…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Gaesimsa Temple – 개심사 (Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Temple History Gaesimsa Temple is located in eastern Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do. Gaesimsa Temple is joined to the south by Mt. Illaksan (521.4 m). Rather confusedly, it’s written about the temple’s history that Gaesimsa Temple was built by the monk Hyegam in the 5th year of Queen Jindeok of Silla’s reign (r. 647-654 A.D.) and the 14th year of King Uija of Baekje’s reign (r. 641-660 A.D.). The only problem with this is that that would make it the year 651 A.D. during Queen Jindeok of Silla’s reign, while it would make it 654 A.D. during King Uija of Baekje’s reign. Generally, however, it’s believed that Gaesimsa Temple was first constructed in…

  • Chungcheongnam-do

    Anmyeonam Hermitage – 안면암 (Taean, Chungcheongnam-do)

    Hermitage History Anmyeonam Hermitage is located in Taean, Chungcheongnam-do on Anmyeon-do Island; from which, the hermitage gets its name. Anmyeonam Hermitage is a new hermitage first constructed in 1998. The hermitage belongs to the Jogye-jong Order, and it falls under the administration of Geumsansa Temple. Anmyeonam Hermitage was first built by the followers of the monk Jimyeong, who was the head monk at Beopjusa Temple. Anmyeonam Hermitage is a coastal hermitage that overlooks Cheonsuman Bay. There are numerous shrine halls stacked and gathered together on the hermitage grounds. Unfortunately, they’re all concrete. But while newer and concrete in composition, the coastal views are stunning. Hermitage Layout You first approach Anmyeonam…

  • 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

    Yeongheungsa Temple – 영흥사 (Gyeongju)

    Temple History Yeongheungsa Temple is located on the northern slopes of Mt. Seondosan (380.6 m) in the historic city of Gyeongju. The temple was first founded in 535 A.D. by the wife of King Beopheung of Silla. And when King Beopheung of Silla (r. 514-540 A.D.) abdicated his throne and became a Buddhist monk, he became a Buddhist monk at Yeongheungsa Temple. In addition, his wife, Queen Kim, became a nun at Yeongheungsa Temple in her later years, as well. Then in 572 A.D., during the reign of King Jinheung of Silla (r. 540-576 A.D.), King Jinheung of Silla’s wife Queen Sado (?-614 A.D.) became a nun at Yeongheungsa Temple.…

  • 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…