- 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 on the Jikjisa Tem
- 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 mo
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