- Seonunsa Temple
- A place where the spirit of practice is even brighter than the crimson Camellia Flowers…
When the Camellia Flowers are blooming at Seonunsa, the place is packed with people. Since the flowers usually come out at the end of a long winter, when there is still snow on the ground, they are called “Winter Tree Flowers.” However, the exact time when the flower blooms differs from shrub to shrub and from region to region. While the Camellias at Seonunsa do indeed bloom in the winter, they don’t reach their peak until around the middle of April. So some people joke that the flowers shouldn’t be called Dongbaek (Winter Flowers) but Chunbaek (Spring Flowers).
Seonunsa was built during the reign of Baekjae King Wideok (577 C.E.) by Ven. Geomdan. The monk reformed a thief who lived in the valley and taught him how to earn his livelihood by roasting salt. In order to repay the monk’s kindness, the thief sent some roasted salt to the temple. The temple really prospered towards the end of the Joseon Dynasty, with 189 temple buildings and 89 different hermitages.
These days Seonunsa has 13 temple buildings remaining, including the central Daeoongbojeon (Main Buddha Hall). The temple buildings stand in a long line, with the Camellia shrub forest as their background. One of the most notable buildings is the Manseru, which was made of left-over lumber after the other buildings were built. The tree trunks were just left as they were, not trimmed at all, and used to make the columns and crossbeams of the building. If you make it to Seonunsa, you should also make the extra effort to visit the hermitage Dosolam on Dosolsan, the scenery is really well worth it.
Seonunsa’s Templestay ProgramSeonunsa runs regular two, three and four day templestay programs, featuring monastic formal meals, Dado (tea ceremony), and making Lotus Lanterns. Most programs are run on the weekends, but people who wish to take advantage of the freestyle templestay program can come during the week. Participants in the freestyle program are only required to attend community meals and evening chanting services. They can also have tea and talk with the monks i
- Jikjisa Temple
- Taking a look at myself…
The region of Gimcheon, where the temple Jikjisa is located, is halfway between Seoul and Busan. The Seoul-Busan train line and the Seoul-Busan Expressway also pass by the area. If you enjoy train travel, then definitely visit Gimcheon as soon as possible, since there’s a frequent local bus waiting for you in front of Gimcheon Station that will take you right to Jikjisa. Jikjisa’s history spans more than 1600 years. It was founded during the reign of Shilla King Nulji (418 C.E.) by Ven. Ado, and during the Joseon Dynasty the temple’s influence was so great that it even owned part of downtown Gimcheon. The name “Jikji”, which means “Pointing directly”, comes from an expression in the Seon (Jap: Zen) School, “Pointing directly to Original Mind.” It also refers to the fact that Ven. Ado pointed out that this spot was a good location to build a temple. And finally, it can mean that during the Goryeo Dynasty, temples weren’t built using rulers, but instead measurements were taken by hand (“Ji” also means “finger”.) At the entrance to Jikjisa is a small park that people use as resting place, which goes to show how luxuriant the forest surrounding the temple is. Not only that, but within the temple grounds there are various flowers and trees that bloom at different times of the year and make the place really magnificent. And of course, people want to stay as long as they can in the ancient temple buildings. There’s a story that if you see the Baby Buddha first when you go into the Vairocana Buddha Hall that you’ll give birth to a son, in other words good things will happen to you.Jikjisa’s Templestay ProgramOn the second Saturday of every month there is a program called Templestay: Looing into My Mind Straighly. Another program offered in summer/winter season specially for 2nights 3days is called O-You-Ji-Jok (Be Satisfied with Whatever You Have) and is oriented towards practice. The programs all differ slightly, as some are oriented more towards experiencing nature, whereas others are focused more on the actual practice of Buddhism. There are also group Templestay programs suitable for businesses or institutions. More detailed information can be found
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