• Gyeongsangnam-do

    Seongdeokam Hermitage – 성덕암 (Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Hermitage History Seongdeokam Hermitage is located in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do. More specifically, it’s located on the north-eastern slopes of Mt. Daegoksan (516.8 m). Seongdeokam Hermitage was first built in 1933 by the monk Baekyongseong – 백용성. The hermitage was built for the well-being of local fishermen and townspeople, which makes sense, since it’s located so close to the Masan harbor. Currently, Seongdeokam Hermitage is home to ten different buildings, gates, and shrines spread throughout the entire grounds. Like most new temples, Seongdeokam Hermitage continues to expand and grow. Hermitage Layout After navigating your way down some local side-streets, you’ll finally be welcomed to Seongdeokam Hermitage by a three-in-one modern shrine hall.…

  • History

    Excess, Invasion and the Tripitaka – The Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392)

    Early Goryeo – 918-1000 At the end of the Unified Silla Dynasty (668-935 A.D.), there was a lot of political turmoil and chaos. As a result of this political instability, the Silla Dynasty was highly weakened and vulnerable. Specifically, the loss of control over local lords at the end of the 9th century led the nation into civil war. Under the rebellious leadership of Gung Ye (869 – 918 A.D.) and Gyeon Hwon (867 – 936 A.D.), they formed two independent states. Gyeon Hwon formed Hubaekje (meaning Later Baekje), while Gung Ye established Hugoguryeo (meaning Later Goguryeo). It was under these tumultuous conditions that Wang Geon, a subject of Gung…

  • History

    The Exporter of Buddhism – The Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.)

    The Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) was a strong kingdom that existed for well over six hundred years. The Baekje Kingdom controlled a vast area of land at the height of its power. The Baekje Kingdom mostly controlled the western portion of the Korean peninsula from north of Pyongyang, North Korea down to the southern-most portions of modern day Jeollanam-do. It was founded by King Onjo (r. 18 B.C. – 28 A.D.) at Wiryeseong (present-day southern Seoul). Also, the Baekje Kingdom became a significant maritime power with political and trade relations with both Japan and parts of China. A full twelve years after Buddhism arrived on the Korean…

  • Gyeongsangnam-do

    Cheonbulsa Temple – 천불사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

    Temple History Cheonbulsa Temple is located to the north-east of Mt. Yongcheonsan (544.7 m) in the eastern part of Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The name of the temple means “Heavenly Buddha Temple” in English, and it was originally constructed in 1974. Cheonbulsa Temple’s name refers to the energy of the temple that it gets from the heavenly realm of Tushita. When the head monk at Cheonbulsa Temple wanted to build a temple, he held a memorial service for one thousand days in a cave at Yaksuam Hermitage near Baekyangsa Temple in Gwangju. During this memorial service, the head monk received a divine revelation. In this revelation, he learned that he should find…

  • Busan

    Anjeoksa Temple – 안적사 (Gijang-gun, Busan)

    Temple History Anjeoksa Temple was founded by Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) in the first year of King Munmu of Silla’s reign in 661 A.D. to the west of Mt. Gamdimsan (308.4 m) in Gijang-gun, Busan. There is no early documented history about Anjeoksa Temple besides who founded it. With that being said, there is writing indicating that the temple was once named Unbongsa Temple. Also, there is architectural evidence at Anjeoksa Temple of a stone pagoda, roof tiles, earthenware, and more on the grounds, which points to the fact that Anjeoksa Temple existed at the end of the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) and/or the start of the Goryeo…

  • Daegu

    Namjijangsa Temple – 남지장사 (Dalseong-gun, Daegu)

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Temple History Namjijangsa Temple is located in the southern part of Daegu in Dalseong-gun. More specifically, the temple is located to the south-east of the towering Mt. Choijeongsan (905 m). As for the name of the temple, Namjijangsa Temple means “South Jijang Temple” in English, which is in reference to the Bodhisattva of the Afterlife: Jijang-bosal. And the temple is a counterpart to Bukjijangsa Temple in neighbouring Dong-gu, Daegu. Namjijangsa…

  • Daegu

    Bukjijangsa Temple – 북지장사 (Dong-gu, Daegu)

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Temple History Bukjijangsa Temple is located on the south-eastern part of Mt. Palgongsan (1192.3 m) in northern Daegu. Bukjijangsa Temple was first constructed in 465 A.D. by the monk Geukdal-hwasang. The name of the temple, Bukjijangsa Temple, means “North Jijang Temple” in English. The temple is named after the Bodhisattva of the Afterlife, Jijang-bosal. The temple is a counterpart to Namjijangsa Temple in neighbouring Dalseong-gun, Daegu. Namjijangsa Temple, which means…

  • Artwork

    Gwaebul – Large Buddhist Banner Painting: 괘불

    Introduction In yet another post about Korean Buddhist temple artwork, I thought I would discuss the Gwaebul, which is a “Large Buddhist Banner Painting” in English. So where can you find this rarely seen piece of temple artwork? What does it look like? And why do you find it at a Korean Buddhist temple? The Gwaebul A “Gwaebul – 괘불” is a large hanging mural that can be over fifteen metres in height and ten metres in width. Gwaebul are rarely seen, as they are typically only put on display once a year during Buddha’s Birthday festivities. At some temples, a Gwaebul is only put on display once every ten…

  • Ulsan

    Jeongtosa Temple – 정토사 (Nam-gu, Ulsan)

    Temple History Jeongtosa Temple is located in Nam-gu in the southern part of Ulsan past the Taehwa River. And it’s situated just to the east of the diminutive Mt. Samhosan (125.7 m). Jeongtosa Temple is named after “Jeongto,” which is the Korean word for “Pure Land” in English. Jeongto is a pure heavenly realm that’s occupied by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who have shed all of their afflictions. This is the ultimate goal of the popular Jeongto form of Korean Buddhism, which is known as the “Pure Land School” in English. Specifically, Jeongto is referring to a heaven in the Western Paradise inhabited by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise).…

  • Artwork,  Korean Temple Artwork

    Agwi – Hungry Ghosts: 아귀

    This post contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction If you’ve ever looked close enough, especially around the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, perhaps you were lucky enough to see the image of an “Agwi – 아귀,” or “Hungry Ghost/Spirit” in English. Or more likely, you’ve probably seen this demon-like creature, but you weren’t sure what it was. So what exactly is an Agwi? Where can you find them? And what are they supposed to represent? Physical Description of an Agwi…