- Jogyesa Temple
A temple where you can experience traditional culture in the middle of the city….
Jogyesa Temple, which is chief temple of the Jogye order that represents the Korean Buddhism, is located in the very heart of Korean capital, Seoul. The administrative headquarters of the Jogye Order is established on the temple grounds, also Insadong, Gyeongbok-gung Palace, Changdeok-gung Palace, and other famous sites are close by, comprising a cultural district that is enjoyable for most visitors.
The temple now known as Jogyesa was founded in 1910 on the site of the former Jungdong High School, and was originally called Gakhwangsa. During the period of Japanese occupation, when much of Korean traditional Buddhist heritage was destroyed, Gakhwangsa preserved the original spirit and history of Korean Buddhism. In 1937 Gakhwangsa was moved to its current location, and the next year the name was changed to Taegosa (Great Old Temple), since it had inherited the traditions of Korean Buddhism intact.
Taegosa was a temple originally founded in 1341 C.E. by Ven. Taego Bo-U, who helped to revive Korean Buddhism during a period of decline. The temple’s name was finally changed to Jogyesa during the 1954 purification movement, when the name of the Jogye Order was chosen. The temple’s history may seem short when compared to other temples, but due to this kind of symbolism, it’s become the representative temple of Korean Buddhism.
Jogyesa is a practicing place in the heart of the city, and also provides people with a quiet place to rest. The Daeoongjeong (Main Buddha Hall) was constructed in 1938 of pine wood from Baekdusan Mountain in North Korea, and it’s always filled with the sounds of chanting. In front of the Buddha Hall is an eight sided, ten story stone Pagoda that was constructed in 2009. This Pagoda houses some genuine relics of Shakyamuni Buddha, which were presented to Korea in 1913 by the Sri Lankan monk Ven. Dalmabara. Next to the Pagoda is a giant metal plaque with an inscription of the Heart Sutra carved into it. In the main temple courtyard there are two trees which are 500 years old, a White Pine and a Chinese Scholar tree. The White Pine tree is about 10 meters high, and gave the nearby area “Su-Song Dong” its name (Song means pine tree in Korean). The Chinese Scholar tree, which is 26 meters tall and four meters in circumference, silently stands watch over the temple grounds.
But more than anything else, what really can’t be missed at Jogeysa is sound of the giant Dharma Drum and temple bell, filling the air with sound every dusk and dawn. Normally in the downtown area of a great city it would be difficult to have this experience, but you can come here and hear this sound, which resonates from the heavens deep into your soul.
The Korean Buddhist Culture and History Hall, which opened its door in 2005, is also located on the temple grounds. This building not only contains the main offices and headquarters of the Jogye Order, but also a Buddhist museum, performance hall, international conference hall, and other facilities.
- Yongjoosa Temple
- A temple full of the traditions of filial piety and Buddhist practice…
The area around Yongjoosa Temple, the temple well known for its filial propriety, is steadily becoming urbanized. Because of reckless development of this area, the surrounding rice fields and forests are slowly disappearing and tall apartments and skyscrapers are being built. Due to those changes, Yongjoosa has been transformed into a temple symbolic of preserving the area’s nature and traditions. Yongjoosa was built in 1790 by the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Jeongjo (1752-1800), in honor of his late father, Prince Sadosaeja (1735-1762). This place was the former site of the temple Galyangsa, built in 854 C.E. by the Shilla King Munseong. King Jeongjo had moved his murdered father’s tomb from its previous location in Yangjoo, Gyeonggi Province to Hwasan. He then built a temple to protect the royal tomb, and to pray for the repose of his father’s soul. The night before the opening ceremony, the King dreamed of a dragon grasping a Cintamani jewel (magic pearl) in its mouth, ascending to heaven, and so he named the temple Yongjoosa (Dragon Jewel Temple). Therefore, Yongjoosa is known as “The original temple of filial piety”, where Buddha nature and filial piety go hand in hand. Yongjoosa hasn’t changed much from the time of its foundation until now. When you pass through the Iljoomun (One Pillar Gate), the trees lining the road stretch upwards, forming a canopy that covers the sky. And the stone wall surrounding the temple blends in well with the outlying forest, producing a cozy atmosphere. Once you pass through the forest, you reach the Daeoongjeon (Main Buddha Hall), which is the central focal point of the temple, and is well placed in relation to the other buildings. In the Main Buddha Hall there is a Thangka (painting behind the Buddha) attributed to the artist Hongdo Kim (1706?) The giant bell in the Yongjoosa bell tower is said to have been cast in the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392 C.E.) But more than anything, if you mention Yongjoosa, the tablet containing the “Sutra of Filial Piety to One’s Parents” comes to mind, which was created by King Jeongjo in 1796 to repay his parents’ kindness. At Yongjoosa there is a museum praising King Jeongjo’s filial piety, and the sutra tablet itself is on display, as well as other cultural treasures related to the king.Yongjoosa’s Templestay ProgramYongjoosa runs a variety of Templestay Programs that have been designed to help us turn our attention within and illuminate our True Self. In addition, another program lets participants examine the various cultural treasures housed in the temple and helps us rediscover the
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