- 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
- 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 Buddha?only shown in public once a year?is 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 commun
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