- Donghwasa Temple
- In the southern foothills of the mountain Palgongsan, a phoenix roosting on her eggs…
You can sense a kind of pleasant familiarity as you enter the temple Donghwasa. The temple is located in the southern foothills of the famous mountain Palgongsan, which looks like a phoenix roosting on her eggs. The Foxglove (Paulownia) tree blooms in the middle of winter, and so the name of the temple reflects this auspicious symbol (Donghwasa means “Paulownia Flower Temple”). Donghwasa was founded during the reign of Shilla King Soji (493 C.E.) by Ven. Geukdal, and was originally called Yougasa Temple. Later during the reign of King Heungdeok (832 C.E.), a monk named Ven. Shimji enlarged the temple. He thought it was auspicious that the Paulownia Tree bloomed in mid-winter, so he changed the temple’s name to Donghwasa. Donghwasa has been expanded numerous times, so today it’s quite a large temple. The temple has many valuable cultural properties that are befitting its ancient history, but the most eye-catching by far is the gigantic Unification Medicine Buddha statue that was built in 1992 and is at least 17 m high. If you really want to have the sense that you’re going to a temple, instead of taking the newly built road, try passing through the Iljoomun (One Pillar Gate) and following the old road up to the temple. Along that road you can see the Buddha figure that was personally carved in a rock face by Ven. Shimji himself. In the evening light, the Buddha’s warm smile almost comes to life.Donghwasa’s Templestay ProgramDonghwasa runs a Templestay program called: Using Meditation in the Search for My True Self. Those who can unload their mind’s heavy baggage, even for a moment, can realize their dream of a happy life. This program features Seon Meditation near the stupas (reliquaries), where there is still a sense of the wisdom and energy of the great old masters guiding you. Lie down and meditate watching the stars in the nighttime sky. Completely find your True Self again, this True Self you thought you had lost. There is also a one day Temple Life program, where in the space of four hours you can experience a temple tour, monastic formal meal, and Dado (tea cer
- Mihwangsa Temple
- A beautiful temple in the village at land’s end…
Mihwangsa is an elegant temple located at the southernmost tip of the Korean Peninsula, in the so-called “Land’s End Village.” You can see at one time both the beautiful mountain Dalmasan and the cool, refreshing West Sea.
Mihwangsa was founded during the reign of Shilla King Gyeongdeok (749 C.E.), and the story of its foundation is quite interesting. One day a stone boat appeared in the sea in front of the village. People tried to approach the boat, but it would recede, and then when they pulled back and stood there, it came closer. When Ven. Uijo heard this news, he started chanting and praying, and the boat reached land safely. Inside the boat was a box made of gold and a black rock. The monk found a Buddha statue and sutras inside of the golden box, and when he broke open the rock, a black cow leapt out. That night, the monk saw a golden man in his dream, who told him that the boat had come from India, and that he should build a temple wherever the cow stopped.
The next day, the Buddha statue and sutras were loaded on the back of the cow, which started to climb up the foothills of Dalmasan. About halfway up, the cow loudly mooed, fell down and didn’t get up again. So the monk built a temple in that place and called it Mihwangsa. The name of the temple was taken from the cow’s beautiful (Mi) “Moo” sound, and from the golden man’s enchanting color (Hwang).
Mihwangsa is a temple as beautiful as its name. The rocky ridge of Dalmasan surrounds Mihwangsa, as if the landscape is from a panel on a folding screen. Also the glow of the setting sun, as seen at dusk from the temple, has been a wondrous sight for many people, since long ago. If you continue to walk towards the Budojeon (field of relic pagodas), you’ll find a good chance to look inside at yourself.Mihwangsa’s Templestay ProgramMihwangsa’s Templestay program is always open, 365 days a year, and offers a variety of special activities. For example, in the freestyle program called Sound of Silence, participants can enjoy tea and conversation with the monks, mountain hiking and, at any time, they are free to take a rest in nature. However, another program, called The Spirit of a True Person, is more systematically designed with practice as its central focus. The eight day schedule of this program gives the participant some experience of Seon Meditation. There is a Chinese character program that enables kids to make good use of their school holidays by learning about Chinese characters and the culture of a mountain temple. Also offered is a program called the Hwaeom Hwesang, which is designed for groups. Other programs, such as The Glow of the Evening Sun, Walking the Path of Dreams, display Mihwangsa’s beauty and feature the camellia flowers of winter and the azaleas in the spring. Every year in October, on the fourth Saturday of the month, a gigantic painting of the Buddhaonly shown in public once a yearis displayed during a festival. This highly attended event also features a musical concert. Mihwangsa has prepared separate room facilities for people who are not used to community living arr
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