- 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 Templestay runs two types of Templestay program called: A Green Light for My Body - Experiential Type & Relaxational Type. Experientail one is held on weekends, starting at 3pm on Sat. and ending at 13pm on Sun. Accoding to the schedule, you have an experience about Korean Buddhism Culture and traditional Culture including Seon Meditation. Relaxational one is open all year round, you just choose the days you want to stay(if you want to stay longer than 3days, please call 053-980-7978). You can stay freely in the templ area except keeping the meal time. There is also a one day Temple Life program, for several hours within a day, you can experience a temple tour, monastic formal meal, Dado(a tea ceremony) or meditation.
- 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
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