- Haeinsa Temple
- Eighty Four Thousand Dharma Teachings, flowers in the spring and fall foliage in the autumn, all attract people to…
The true appearance of the world can’t be seen through the delusions and dreams that cloud the mind. When these dreams and illusions come to a stop, then the true face of the world can be seen for the first time. In a similar way, nothing can be reflected in water that is agitated, but everything is reflected, just as it is, in water that is still. The ancients expressed this state of mind which has left all delusion behind as being like still water reflecting anything in front of it. This can be one origin of the name Haeinsa, which implies a seal or impression (In) on the sea water (Hae), as if the temple is pointing towards this original tranquil mind with its name. Haeinsa was founded during the reign of Shilla King Aejang (802 C.E.) by Ven. Suneung and Ven. Ijeong, who were carrying on the teaching of Ven. Uisang (625-702 C.E.) After that, when Ven. Heerang rejected Gyeonhweon and assisted Goyreo King Taejo, the king repaid him by designating Haeinsa the Goryeo National Temple. During the Joseon Dynasty, a great set of sutra tablets from the Goryeo Dynasty were enshrined at Haeinsa, which is why the temple is known as the “Dharma Treasure Temple.” Since the number of wood blocks in this collection of sutra tablets totals 81,258, the entire set is known as the “Eighty Thousand Tripitaka Sutra” collection in Korean, but is often called simply the “Tripitaka Koreana” in English. The creation of the Tripitaka dates to the Goryeo Dynasty reign of King Gojong (1237 C.E.), when the ruling government created the collection over a period of 11 years in order to repel the invasion of the Mongol hordes, using the power of Buddhism. The building in which the collection is stored is called the Panjeon, and it has been designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, while the collection itself has been designated a World Cultural Record asset. After been repaired during the Joseon Dynasty reign of King Seongjong (1488 C.E.), it looks today as it once did in ancient times. The Panjeon Hall housing the tablets is famous itself for its natural design, which features different sized windows facing north and south to allow for air circulation, and an earthen floor made up of layers of ash, lime, salt and sand in order to control humidity. Haeinsa is also considered a “Chongnim Temple”, featuring a Seon (Jap: Zen) Room, Sutra School, and Precepts School, which are called together the “Haein Chongnim.” Haeinsa is also known for being the temple where the legendary Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order, Ven. Seongcheol (1912-1993) resided for many years, until he entered Nirvana.Haeinsa’s Templestay ProgramHaeinsa offers a standard two- day Templestay program, a two day freestyle program, and a five day/four night training program in the summer. The standard program is called Live Like the Wind and Water, then Leave Your Body! , and features monastic formal meals, Seon Meditation, and a variety of programs that allow for a deeper feeling for the teachings of Buddhism. Participants in Haeinsa’s program can have the unforgettable experiences of hearing the sound of the throbbing Dharma drum pierce the crisp, clear, early morning air, and visiting the mountain hermitages above the temple, where many great old monks, such as Ven. Seongcheol stayed.
- Woljeongsa Temple
- Feel the unlimited freedom on the fir tree lined forest!
The temple Woljeongsa is located on the mountain Odaesan, and is a mere two hours from Seoul. High above the temple is the legendary Jeongmyeolbogung, the “Jeweled Palace of Stillness and Extinction”, which holds some Sarira (true relics) of the historical Buddha. One route that visitors love to take when they hike on the mountain is the path through the temple’s Fir Tree forest. Especially if you hike the nine kilometer unpaved path from Woljeongsa up to the temple Sangwonsa, you can really get a feeling for the area’s natural surroundings.
Woljeongsa was founded during the reign of Shilla Queen Seondeok (643 C.E.) by the Precepts Master Ven. Jajang (590-658 C.E.) While practicing Buddhism in Tang Dynasty China, the Ven. Jajang had an encounter with Manjushri, and received transmission of some Sarira of the historical Buddha. As soon as the monk finished his training in China and returned to the Shilla Kingdom, he came to Odaesan, where Manjushri was said to reside. He then proceeded to build a hermitage to house the relics, and continued his practice. Later during the reign of Joseon King Cheoljong (1856 C.E.) the temple was greatly enlarged. However, during the Korean War, due to its strategic importance, the temple was completely destroyed, and then later rebuilt.
Woljeongsa’s best known cultural property is the octagonal, nine storey stone pagoda directly in front of the Jeokgwangjeon (Hall of Stillness and Light). It was said to have been erected by the Ven. Jajang, but the pagoda’s style suggests that it was actually from the Goryeo Dynasty. Directly in front of the pagoda is the figure of a seated, stone Bodhisattva, with two hands outstretched together, making offerings to the Buddha. This is the so-called Bodhisattva Heegyeon, who appears in the Lotus Sutra as someone who burned his own body in pursuit of Enlightenment.
Towards the end of the Goryeo Dynasty, while he was practicing at the hermitage Bukdaeam, the Ven. Naong (1320-1376) used to offer Biji (bead-curd residue) to the Woljeongsa Buddha every single day. However, one day some snow which had built up on a pine branch fell down and struck the offering for the Buddha. So the monk scolded the pine tree for failing to recognize the Buddha’s kindness, whereupon the mountain god drove pine trees away from Odaesan and made Fir Trees the lords of the mountain.
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