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Cheonggoksa Temple – 청곡사 (Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do)

The Unique Wooden Seated Indra and Brahma of Cheonggoksa Temple are Korean Treasure #1232 in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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Temple History

Cheonggoksa Temple is located in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do on the southern slopes of Mt. Wolasan (468.9 m). Cheonggoksa Temple was first built in 879 A.D. by the famed monk Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). Doseon-guksa is perhaps best known for his geomancy methods, or “Pungsu-jiri” in Korean. And the location of Cheonggoksa Temple was chosen according to Pungsu-jiri. After watching a blue crane fly from the banks of the Nam River and land on the present temple location of Cheonggoksa Temple, Doseon-guksa knew that the location had divine energy because of the topography’s numerous auspicious signs. So Doseon-guksa decided to build a temple on the location where the blue crane had landed. In fact, the bridge at the entry to the temple is called “Banghak-gyo,” which reminds visitors about the creation myth surrounding the temple’s name. In English, “Banghak-gyo” means “Visiting Crane Bridge.”

The temple was later reconstructed in 1380 by the monk Silsang-daesa. Like so many other temples on the Korean peninsula during the Imjin War (1592-1598), Cheonggoksa Temple was completely destroyed by the invading Japanese in 1592. Cheonggoksa Temple was later rebuilt in 1612. And Cheonggoksa Temple was later renovated and expanded at the end of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) by the monk Pou-daesa.

In total, Cheonggoksa Temple is home to one National Treasure and three additional Korean Treasures, as well as an incense burner known as the Bronze Incense Burner with Silver Inlay from Cheonggoksa Temple that’s housed at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul. It’s typical in Buddhist ceremonies to have special implements to conduct these ceremonies with. One of the most important is the incense burner. There are a variety of incense burners that are used during Buddhist ceremonies, but the one from Cheonggoksa Temple that’s housed at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul is called a wide-rimmed bowl with a flared base, or a “hyangwan” in Korean. The inscription on the incense burner indicates that it’s from Cheonggoksa Temple. This incense burner was dedicated to Queen Sindeok (1356-1396), who was the second wife of King Taejo of Joseon (r. 1392-1398), who was the first ruler of the Joseon Dynasty. Queen Sindeok died in 1396, with this incense burner being made in 1397 as an offering for her. This incense burner is made from bronze, but the inlaid patterns that adorn it are made from silver. And the patterns that adorn this incense burner are lotus vines and the Chinese character for “Beom,” which is meant to represent inclusiveness of the Buddhist sutras.

The Bronze Incense Burner with Silver Inlay from Cheonggoksa Temple (Picture Courtesy of the National Museum of Korea in Seoul).

Temple Layout

You first approach Cheonggoksa Temple past the temple parking lot to the right. It’s up this wooded trail that you’ll come across a pond to your left. It’s from this vantage point that you get a great view of the temple beautifully framed by the surrounding mountains. A little further up the trail, and you’ll pass under the broad Iljumun Gate.

A little further along, and you’ll come across the temple’s Budowon. In total, there are eight different stupas, or “budo” in Korean, taking up residence inside this Buddhist cemetery. These stupas are joined by a darkened three-story pagoda with Manja around its base. There’s also a stone lantern near the entrance of the Budowon.

Climbing the side-winding stairs, you’ll pass through the uninhabited Cheonwangmun Gate and then under the Hwanhak-ru Pavilion to gain entry to the main temple courtyard at Cheonggoksa Temple. Straight ahead of you is the Daeung-jeon Hall. The Daeung-jeon Hall dates back to 1612, and it’s Gyeongsangnam-do Tangible Cultural Property #51. The exterior walls are adorned with the basic dancheong colours and a fading Manja crowning the roof of the main hall. Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find three large statues taking up residence on the main altar. Seated in the centre is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined to the right and left by statues of Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). This triad is believed to date back to around 1615, which is based on a later inscription that was added in 1750. There are no inscriptions identifying the makers of the three statues; however, they do appear similar to the statues found at Gwanryongsa Temple in Changnyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do by the monk sculptor Hyeonjin that were later made in 1629. The middle statue of Seokgamoni-bul stands 170 cm in height, and the triad is Korean Treasure #1688.

To the rear of the main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find a smaller mural dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul. But it’s to the left of the main altar that you’ll find the greatest surprise inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. Here you’ll find a pair of statues. The wooden statue to the left is Jaeseok-cheonwang (The Heavenly King Deity, or Indra). And the wooden statue to the right is Daebeom-cheonwang (The Great Dharma Heavenly King, or Brahma). Both Indra and Brahma were originally deities in Hinduism. After the creation of Mahayana Buddhism, both Indra and Brahma were absorbed into Buddhism as guardians. That’s why these two deities have such importance in Buddhist art. According to the Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), these two deities are painted and not sculpted in Korea. And it was common to find both Indra (Jaeseok-cheonwang) and Brahma (Daebeom-cheonwang) in Buddhist paintings during the Joseon Dynasty. That’s why the statues of both Indra and Brahma are so important at Cheonggoksa Temple. They are the only historic statues of these two deities in all of Korea. The technique of the statues date them to the late Joseon Dynasty. There is also a painting of the two backing the statues. Both Indra and Brahma are the two central figures, and the expressions on their faces are more merciful like a Bodhisattva; unlike the accompanying images of the Four Heavenly Kings (Sacheonwang) in the painting that have more fearful expressions on their faces. The Wooden Seated Indra and Brahma of Cheonggoksa Temple is Korean Treasure #1232.

To the immediate right of the Daeung-jeon Hall stands the uniquely named Eopgyeong-jeon Hall, which is more commonly known as either the Myeongbu-jeon Hall or the Jijang-jeon Hall. The “Eopgyeong” reference refers to a mythical mirror that’s held up to the dead in the afterlife by the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). In this mirror, all the good and evil actions that were performed by the deceased are reflected back at the spirit when they stand in front of the Eopgyeong-dae (Karma Mirror). Housed inside this newly refurbished shrine hall, which dates back to 1612 and is Gyeongsangnam-do Cultural Material #139, it houses a green haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on the main altar. This central statue is joined inside the Eopgyeong-jeon Hall by the Ten Kings of the Underworld. Together they are Korean Treasure #1689, and they date back to 1657. In total, there are twenty-three historic statues housed inside this temple shrine hall, and they were carved by a team of monk sculptors including Inyeong, Tanjun, Jibyeon, Hakyeom, Seomyeong, Beopyul, Jongtan, and Seonu.

And to the right rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find two additional shrine halls: The Nahan-jeon Hall and the Chilseong-gak Hall. Together they are joined by a historic three-story pagoda to the right. Housed inside the Nahan-jeon Hall, and sitting on the main altar, are a triad of white statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul. This triad is then joined by sixteen accompanying wooden sculptures of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). And to the left of the Nahan-jeon Hall is the Chilseong-gak Hall that houses older elaborate murals dedicated to each of the Seven Stars (Chilseong).

To the left rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall is a shrine hall that’s separated into three sections similar to the structure found at Beomeosa Temple in Geumjeong-gu, Busan. The first of these divided sections to the right houses a replica of a much older mural dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). Dokseong has long, curly, white eyebrows and a set of three birds that rest on a red pine tree branch above the Lonely Saint’s head. The shrine to the left is dedicated to prominent monks that once called Cheonggoksa Temple home. In fact, a mural of Doseon-guksa hangs in the centre of the half-a-dozen murals housed inside the Josa-jeon Hall. As for the central section of this peculiar shrine hall, you’ll find a pair of murals dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). The image to the left is a female Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Both the statue and painting dedicated to the female Sanshin have strong, determined features. And the male Sanshin, who doesn’t have an accompanying statue to the mural, has an almost snickering facial expression like he knows something we don’t.

Also, and something that shouldn’t be overlooked, which is housed inside the temple’s museum, is the Hanging Painting of Cheonggoksa Temple (The Vulture Peak Assembly). This large Gwaebul mural is National Treasure #302. Standing 10.4 metres in height and 6.4 metres wide, the large mural dates back to 1722. The central image in the mural is Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha), who is joined on either side by Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom).

How To Get There

From the Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to board Bus #261 to get to Cheonggoksa Temple. After twenty-seven stops, or thirty-four minutes, you’ll need to get off at the Shingi-maeul stop. From this stop, you’ll need to walk 1.5 kilometres to get to Cheonggoksa Temple.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Cheonggoksa Temple is packed with rarities, which can make for quite the experience for the temple adventurer. From the female Sanshin (Mountain Spirit), to the pair of seated statues of Indra (Jaeseok-cheonwang) and Brahma (Daebeom-cheonwang), and onto the 18th century large Gwaebul that depicts the Vulture Peak Assembly, Cheonggoksa Temple has a long list of beauty and rarities for the temple adventurer to enjoy. While Cheonggoksa Temple is lesser known, it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

The mountainside entry and Iljumun Gate at Cheonggoksa Temple.
The Budowon with the temple in the background.
The front facade to Cheonggoksa Temple.
The historic Daeung-jeon Hall that dates back to 1612.
The historic triad inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. The triad dates back to 1615, and they’re Korean Treasure #1688.
A closer look at the Wooden Seated Indra and Brahma of Cheonggoksa Temple, which are Korean Treasure #1232.
A look inside the Eopgyeong-jeon Hall at the main altar. The wooden statues of Jijang-bosal and the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld) are Korean Treasure #1689.
The uniquely designed three-in-one shrine hall to the left rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The right section is dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint).
The left section is the Josa-jeon Hall, which is dedicated to monks that once called Cheonggoksa Temple home including Doseon-guksa.
And the central section to the three-in-one temple shrine hall is dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Interestingly, there are two Sanshin murals: one female and one male.

Free Korean Typing Game – Hangul Attack (NEW UPDATE 2021)

Back in 2017 I released a free Korean typing game called "Hangul Attack." You can find the original post here. Here's the trailer for the new update.

It's the year 3021 and the Hangul Aliens have invaded the planet. Fortunately for us, they have a weakness - a standard Korean keyboard. Can you save earth from disaster?

How to play:

Type the letters or words as they fall down from the sky. If you miss one, a meteor will drop. You can shoot down meteors using your turret, which you can control using the arrow keys and the space bar. Try to shoot down any meteors before they touch the ground.

You can press Escape at any time to pause the game and practice the keyboard. Remember that some letters also require the Shift key to type.

If you'd like to practice before trying a real round, check out the Tutorial on the main menu.

There are 5 game modes, which can be chosen from the Options menu.

  • Consonants Only: This mode is for practicing only the consonants. The round ends after the timer finishes.
  • Vowels Only: This mode is for practicing only the vowels. The round ends after the timer finishes.
  • All Letters: This mode is for practicing both vowels and consonants. The round ends after the timer finishes.
  • Master Mode: Letters will continue to fall more frequently and faster over time, making it more difficult the longer you play. There is no timer, so try to score as high as you can.
  • Words: This mode is for practicing full words. Typing the wrong letter in a word will not cause a meteor to drop, but letting a word hit the ground will.

There are also a variety of falling items that you can find while playing.

  • Health Packs: These heal your health, but not completely.
  • Comets: For a short time, the screen will freeze and everything slows down to a crawl.
  • Nuclear Bombs: All letters, words, and meteors are instantly removed from the screen.
  • Bonus Powerup: For a short time, you can earn double the points for any letter or word.
  • Turret Powerup: There are 3 power levels, and each increases the size and speed of your turret's fire.

Download the game here:

Click here to download for Windows.

Click here to download for OSX (Mac).*

Click here to download for Linux.

*Note that OSX by default blocks any and all programs from outside sources (including this game). In order to play this game, you may need to temporarily allow this game to run in your system.

This new update (April 2021) brings a variety of new game improvements, some large and others small. For a complete list of changes, see below.

Updated 4/29/2021:

  • Added an additional 4 music tracks, for more variety. You can listen to the OST here.
  • Added Credits, which can be accessed by clicking "GO! Billy Korean" on the main menu.
  • Word mode now includes nearly 1,200 common vocabulary words.
  • Word mode starts off 25% slower than previously, for an easier transition.
  • Meteors now cause the ground to shake upon impact.
  • The ground will start burning as your health becomes lower.
  • The Options menu can now be exited using the Escape key.
  • Added a Quit button when the game is paused to exit the round immediately.
  • Added buttons to disable all music and/or sound effects from the Options menu.
  • The turret's power levels are now easier to distinguish by appearance.
  • Adjusted the spawn rate of power-ups to be more consistent and fair.
  • The game mode is displayed on the Game Over and Victory screens.
  • Bug fix: The game mode is now remembered between rounds.
  • Bug fix: The game window now correctly shows "Hangul Attack."
  • Bug fix: Fixed a bug where it could become impossible to exit the Options menu without starting the game.
  • Bug fix: Fixed an issue where the turret's fire could randomly disappear in full screen mode.
  • Bug fix: Fixed an issue where a blank word could randomly fall, causing the game to crash.
  • Bug fix: Longer words no longer spawn toward the edges of the screen.
  • Bug fix: Words' health bars now properly reset after completing a word.
  • New feature: Added a Tournament Mode, which removes the ability to pause the game. This can be activated by typing "bangtanacademy" on the Main Menu.

The post Free Korean Typing Game – Hangul Attack (NEW UPDATE 2021) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Hanja – All about Chinese characters & their meanings

In this lesson, you’ll be learning everything you need to know about Hanja.

The Korean language is an incredibly old one. Even the 한글 (hangeul) alphabetic system we are learning and Koreans are actively using today is centuries old. With that said, before King Sejong created 한글, a different writing system was used for written Korean: hanja. And in this lesson, we will explain to you exactly what hanja is, how important it used to be for Korean history and its status in modern Korean society.


What is hanja?

Hanja is what Koreans call their traditional writing system. The word itself translates to “Chinese character.” It comprises, for the most part of Chinese characters. Although the characters themselves derive from the Chinese language, they each have a Korean pronunciation in hanja, using a similar structure as 한글-based pronunciation does. Koreans began using hanja during the Gojoseon period, so 400 BCE already.

Is Hanja the same as China’s Hanzi?

Hanzi is used to refer to Chinese characters. Although there are some differences in stroke orders, for the most part, the hanja letters are identical to the original traditional Chinese characters, even today.

Interestingly, the characters currently in use in mainland China, as well as Japan (where they are called kanji), have been simplified. This means they no longer look exactly like the traditional characters, unlike hanja.

Do Hanja and China’s Hanzi have similar pronunciations?

Hanja characters are read and pronounced differently from the Chinese characters, Hanzi. They may have a similar meaning or representation, but they have different pronunciations.

Can Chinese read Hanja?

Hanja uses a different set of Chinese characters so the Chinese can’t read Hanja. If they do, they’ll only be able to identify the characters but may have a different meaning for them.

What is Hanja-eo?

Another term used often when talking about hanja is hanja-eo. It refers to Korean words that can be written using Hanja or Chinese Characters.

Hanja-eo is the term used to talk about Sino-Korean vocabulary. That means both words that were directly borrowed from Chinese as well as words that are fully Korean but were created from Chinese characters.

A Student Reading A Book

How many Hanja characters are there?

According to 한한대사전 Han-Han Dae Sajeon, which refers to the Korean Hanja to Hangul dictionary, there are around 53,667 Hanja characters.

How many Hanja characters do I need to learn?

There’s no exact number of Hanja characters you must learn. However, if you want to recognize Sino-Korean words, 2000 Hanja characters will be a good amount of Hanja.

How are Hanja and Kanji the same?

Just like the term hanja means hàn (the Chinese word for Chinese characters), so does the Japanese term kanji. If you wrote any of them as a traditional Chinese character, they would all look like 漢字. In other words, hanja and kanji both mean the Chinese character writing system, with hanja in use in Korea and kanji in Japan.

Why did Korea stop using Hanja?

Actually, Korea has not stopped using hanja entirely. However, it has been largely replaced by 한글 for everyday writing. Also, despite 한글 being created in the early 15th century, it did not become widespread to use until between the 19th and 20th centuries. Until then, hanja was the primary system used for the written word.

Is Hanja still taught?

Hanja is still taught today in high schools. They are taught in a separate class from a regular Korean language class.

Happy female student with backpack and stack of books

Do I need to learn Hanja?

Although it is not mandatory for you to learn hanja to manage a visit and life in Korea, as well as to speak the Korean language, learning some hanja characters will help you tremendously. You see, even today approximately 60% of the Korean language is made up of words of Chinese origin. Therefore you will see hanja all around you when you’re in Korea!

For example, you may see some hanja characters every single day you spend in Korea. We will explain this in a little more detail below.

How important is it to learn Hanja?

Learning hanja may aid you in understanding the Korean language more deeply and even help you widen your vocabulary. In fact, you’ll find hanja a lot in Korean dictionaries, although each Korean word is first and foremost written in 한글. Yes, even words of Sino-Korean origin. Hanja is mostly present in a dictionary to explain a word’s origin. But if you are truly interested in learning hanja for yourself, a Korean dictionary is a great place to start memorizing them! Learning hanja now will also give you an excellent advantage in case you ever take up Chinese or Japanese as a language to learn.

Otherwise, you may be encouraged to learn hanja if you want to be able to understand old idioms, academic texts, and legal documents in full. Also, you will not be able to read old scholarly texts without having a handle on hanja characters first! And of course, for much traditional art and culture, such as calligraphy, hanja is essential.

As far as modern books and magazines go, hanja is rarely used. Its purpose there is only to explain a word that may otherwise be ambiguous in its meaning. However, hanja is more commonly seen in newspaper headlines! This is exactly to squash any ambiguity of a headline.

Do note that hanja’s status is more prevalent in modern South Korean society than it is in North Korea. Their hanja no longer exists even in academic settings.

Where can I see Hanja used in Korea?

For starters, you may see hanja in as simple of places as a restaurant menu, typically to indicate the size of the dish. You may come across the same characters in a supermarket. It is also not surprising to see hanja characters depicted in public bathroom doors, for women and for men.

Also, it is important for you to note that, though not widely used anymore, Korean personal names are typically based in hanja. Though the use of native Korean words when naming children is becoming more common now, this is still the primary way to name a person. Therefore in official documents, even today, each person’s names continue to be recorded in hanja.

Additionally, you may see hanja characters sprinkled into brochures, restaurant signs, branding and logos, advertising, legal documents, academic texts, and so on, even if the text is otherwise written in 한글. A lot of street and place signs also incorporate hanja.

3 students writing on a paper while sitting down

What is some basic hanja I could learn today?

Based on the above information, we wanted to share with you some of the basic hanja characters you may come across daily in Korea.

small소 (so)
medium중 (jung)
large대 (dae)
person인 (in)
man남 (nam
female여 (yeo)
mountain산 (san)
door문 (mun)
month달 (dal)
day일 (il)

And there you have it, your small and compact information package on hanja! How interested in learning more about hanja characters did this article make you? And do you have previous experience in learning Chinese characters or Japanese kanji?

The post Hanja – All about Chinese characters & their meanings appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Geumdangsa Temple – 금당사 (Jinan, Jeollabuk-do)

The Golden Roof of the Daeung-jeon Hall at Geumdangsa Temple in Jinan, Jeollabuk-do.

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Temple History

Geumdangsa Temple is located in Jinan, Jeollabuk-do near the entrance of Maisan Provincial Park. In fact, just a little up the paved pathway about six hundred metres past Geumdangsa Temple, you’ll come to the famed Tapsa Temple. Both temples are housed within the park grounds of Maisan Provincial Park. Geumdangsa Temple means “Golden Hall Temple” in English, and it has two differing stories as to when it was first established.

According to one story, Geumdangsa Temple was first established in 814 A.D. by the Chinese monk Hyegam. Another story relates how in 650 A.D. the monk Muri came to the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) from the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C. – 668 A.D.). Of the two, and the one that the temple promotes, it’s the date of 814 A.D., so perhaps this is the more plausible of the two temple creation dates. At the time of the temple’s original construction, it was some 1.5 kilometres away from its present location. Geumdangsa Temple was moved to its present location in 1675. This was done after it was destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-1598) in 1592 during the first wave of the Japanese invasion of the war.

Geumdangsa Temple was also a place where the Goryeo (918-1392) monk Naong Hyegeun (1320-1376) practiced Buddhism. In fact, if you look closely up at the neighbouring mountainside to the west, you’ll find Naongam Hermitage, which is a secluded grotto where Naong Hyegeun once meditated. More recently, in 1894, General Jeon Bongjun’s daughter sought refuge at the temple after her father led the Peasant Revolution in 1894 against high taxation and extortion. Ultimately, this would lead to the anti-foreign campaign, mainly against the Japanese, which resulted in the execution of General Jeon Bongjun. Geumdangsa Temple also acted as a base for Korean guerrilla force in the Jinan area in opposition to Japanese Colonial rule (1910-1945).

More recently, Geumdangsa Temple has undergone expansion with the inclusion of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall in 1978, the Samseong-gak Hall in 1987, and the Geukrak-jeon Hall in 1990.

Geumdangsa Temple is home to Korean Treasure #1266: a late 17th century Gwaebul (A Large Buddhist Banner Painting). It’s also home to a late Goryeo Dynasty/early Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) stone pagoda, which is designated Jeollabuk-do Cultural Heritage Material #122.

Admission to Geumdangsa Temple is 2,000 won because of the provincial park entry fee to Maisan Provincial Park.

Temple Layout

When you first approach the temple grounds, you’ll be greeted by the visitors centre at Geumdangsa Temple to your right. Just a little further past this administrative building, and you’ll see a pair of mythical Haetae stone statues staring in on each other. To the far left is a golden statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) to the rear of a beautiful artificial pond. Just before you reach this pond, you’ll notice a large collection of stacked stones that travelers have left behind for good luck and a safe journey.

To the right of the pond is an all-new shrine hall that houses a replica of the historic Gwaebul (A Large Buddhist Banner Painting). The original, which is Korean Treasure #1266, dates all the way back to 1692. This Gwaebul was completed by four artists. The original stands 8.7 metres in height and 4.74 metres in width. The large mural depicts Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). The face of Gwanseeum-bosal is disproportionately large compared to the rest of her body. The Bodhisattva of Compassion holds a lotus in her hands, and she is adorned in a striking gown and regal crown. Surrounding the central image are twenty additional images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in a multi-coloured fiery nimbus. In the past, this Gwaebul was brought out into the main temple courtyard and prayed to for rain. Alongside the Gwaebuls at Tongdosa Temple and Muryangsa Temple, it’s purportedly one of the most masterful paintings of its kind in Korea.

Next to this temple shrine hall, and to the right, is the Geukrak-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this shrine hall are painted with Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life). As for the interior, you’ll find a triad of murals on the main altar. The one in the centre is dedicated to Amita-bul, while the accompanying two murals are dedicated to the infant incarnations of Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) riding a white elephant and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) riding a blue tiger.

Just up the embankment, and past the Geukrak-jeon Hall to the right, is the Samseong-gak Hall. Inside, you’ll find two newer paintings dedicated to the shaman deities Yongwang (The Dragon King) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). These two vibrant paintings flank an older mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). Uniquely, and between the main hall and the Samseong-gak Hall, you’ll find a stone monument with a large golden tiger crawling across the top of it.

The most unique hall at Geumdangsa Temple is the Daeung-jeon Hall. This main hall was built some three hundred years ago, and it’s been topped, rather fittingly, with a fresh coat of gold paint in and around the roof. The exterior walls of the Daeung-jeon Hall are adorned with some rather simplistic Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life). Inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find a main altar triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul and joined on either side by Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). On the far right wall, you’ll find a collection of natural wood Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) statues, as well as a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

The final shrine hall visitors can explore at Geumdangsa Temple is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Inside this simplistically designed exterior, you’ll find a stately statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on the main altar. This statue green haired statue is joined on either side by some yellow accented murals of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). The one in the collection of yellow accented murals to the far left depicts the Dragon Ship of Wisdom, while the mural to the far right is dedicated to Jijang-bosal.

In front of the Daeung-jeon Hall, there are a pair of pagodas. The first, which is the newer of the two and the one closer to the main hall, is a nine-story structure with smaller sized three-story pagodas surrounding it. And to the front of this newer pagoda is the Goryeo-era pagoda that stands five stories in height.

How To Get There

From the Jinan Bus Terminal you’ll need to take a bus bound for Maisan Provincial Park. These buses leave every forty minutes and first depart the terminal at 7:30 a.m. in the morning and run until 6 p.m. at night. Once you’re dropped off at the entry to Maisan Provincial Park, you’ll need to walk up the path that leads you towards Tapsa Temple. A couple hundred metres up the path, and just beyond the restaurants and stores, you’ll see Geumdangsa Temple to your left. It only takes about five minutes from where the bus lets you off to get to Geumdangsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Surprisingly, especially for a smaller temple, there’s a fair bit to see at Geumdangsa Temple. The two main attractions are the large sized replica of the historic Gwaebul, as well as the five-story historic pagoda that dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty. Other highlights are the extremely unique murals inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, the vibrant shaman murals housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall, the tiger crawling the stone monument, and the golden roofed Daeung-jeon Hall. It’s a nice little stop along the way, as you make your way up towards the better known Tapsa Temple.

A look up towards Naongam Hermitage as you near Geumdangsa Temple.
The main temple courtyard at Geumdangsa Temple with the Goryeo-era pagoda in the foreground and the golden Daeung-jeon Hall in the background.
The artificial pond at Geumdangsa Temple with a golden Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) backing the pond.
An up-close of the replica of the historic Gwaebul, which is Korean Treasure #1266.
The stone monument next to the Daeung-jeon Hall with a golden tiger on top of it. In the background is the Samseong-gak Hall.
One of the murals housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall. This is a vibrant mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).
A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall at Geumdangsa Temple.
And the main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.

Learn Korean Ep. 119: 채(로) “In the State Of”

For the first time, Keykat has actually volunteered to help me clean! I'm so shocked, I don't even know what she should help with. I guess she should be able to clean the ceiling lights?

It's time for a new "Learn Korean" episode! Let's learn about the grammar form 채(로).

채(로) is used to describe the current state of a noun, and it's used with an action verb. Essentially, it's using a verb to describe a noun.

Click here to download a free PDF of this lesson!

The post Learn Korean Ep. 119: 채(로) “In the State Of” appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Poroe – The Dragon that Adorns the Top of the Temple Bell: 포뢰

Poroe Atop the Brahma Bell at Seokbulsa Temple in Buk-gu, Busan.


One of the most common things that you’ll see at a Korean Buddhist temple outside a pagoda or temple shrine hall is the Brahma Bell, which is a large, decorative bronze bell. The Brahma Bell, which is known as a “Beomjong – 범종” in Korean, is well-crafted and is usually several hundred years old. Typically, the exterior walls of the bell are adorned with various Buddhist figures like Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities), Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. Joining these bell reliefs is a decorative metal hook that holds the bell to the rafter’s of the bell pavilion. The decorative metal hook that crowns the top of the bell is designed like a dragon. So why is this metal dragon hook crowning the top of the Brahma Bell? And why is it a dragon? First, it’s important to know the significance of the Brahma Bell to better understand the purpose behind the dragon hooks.

Poroe atop the Brahma Bell at Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
A golden Poroe atop the Brahma Bell at Taeansa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do.

Purpose of the Brahma Bell

During the day, there are two main times that the Brahma Bell is struck. The temple bell is struck twenty-eight times in the morning and thirty-three times at night. The reason that the bell is struck twenty-eight times in the morning is in hopes that the sound will travel throughout the twenty-eight levels of heaven, which are to be found within three bigger worlds.

So in Buddhism, there’s believed to be three worlds/realms which are known as “Samgye – 삼계” in Korean. These three worlds are known as “Trailokya” in Sanskrit, and they are in reference to the destination of ones karmic rebirth. The first of these three worlds is known as “Kāmaloka” in Sanskrit. In Korean, this world is known as “Yokgye – 욕계,” or “Field of Desire” in English. In this world, it’s a world of desire which is typified by base desires. This world is populated by hellish beings, Agwi (Hungry Ghosts), animals, humans, and lower demi-gods.

The second world is known as “Rūpaloka” in Sanskrit. In Korean, this world is known as “Saekgye – 색계,” or “Field of Forms” in English. This is the world of forms, which is a world free of baser desires. This world is populated by Dhyāna (perfected mindfulness) dwelling beings.

The third world is known as “Arūpaloka” in Sanskrit. In Korean, this world is known as “Musaekgye – 무색계,” or “Field of Formlessness” in English. This is the world of formlessness. This world is populated by the four heavens. It’s also the world for those that are almost ready to enter Nirvana.

In these worlds of existence, those that live in them are determined according to their karma and wisdom. As for humans, they are separate. In order to enter into these realms, they need to adhere to the ten rules that ban things like killing, stealing, lying, obscenity, and adultery. So the reason that the bell rings thirty-three times at night is in hopes that the sound will travel throughout the thirty-three heavens located in Yokgye, or “The Field of Desires” in English.

The Bell of King Seongdeok, which is also known as the Emile Bell. Arguably Korea’s most famous bell is located at Gyeongju National Museum, and it’s National Treasure #29.

Korean Brahma Bell Design

While each Korean temple bell is unique in its own way, they all have fairly common characteristics. For example, each bell has a dangjwa, which is the round spot in the middle of the bell where the striker is meant to hit the temple bell. Usually, a large wooden striker, sometimes designed as a whale, will hit the dangjwa of the temple bell. Interestingly, bells made during the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) had two dangjwa on opposite sides of the bell. The Silla dangjwa was traditionally surrounded by a lotus design. Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) dangjwa, on the other hand, were placed on all four sides of the Brahma Bell.

Another feature that distinguishes one Brahma Bell from the other is the actual exterior wall designs of the temple bell. For Silla Dynasty bells, it was typical to find Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) with flowing clothes kneeling on top of lotus flowers or riding clouds, while playing a musical instrument. During the Goryeo Dynasty, this changed. Instead of Bicheon, it was more common to find a Buddha or Bodhisattva sitting on top of a lotus flower. And in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), larger images of the Buddha appeared praying while standing on top a lotus flower.

Yet another indicator of the age of the Brahma Bell outside the central image or images on the surface of the bell are the secondary designs. If the Brahma Bell is from the Silla Dynasty, the secondary designs were either vines or floral patterns. This largely changed during the Goryeo Dynasty, when lightning and chrysanthemum designs became more popular. And finally, during the Joseon Dynasty, the predominant secondary designs were lotus flower patterns.

The Brahma Bell at Baeknyulsa Temple in Gyeongju. The bell depicts the events surrounding the adoption of Buddhism in the Silla Kingdom and Ichadon’s (501-527 A.D.) role.

Poroe Design and Myth

So what does all this have to do with Poroe? In general, there are metal hooks that hold the Brahma Bell to the rafters using a chain. These hooks are shaped like a dragon. This dragon can be highly ornate in design or a little more simplistic. As a result, these metal hooks are known as the “dragon hook” in English. More specifically, the dragon that adorns the top of a Korean Brahma Bell is known as “Poroe – 포뢰” in Korean.

So why does Poroe adorn the top of the Brahma Bell? Poroe, rather interestingly, is mentioned in the historic Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms). According to this myth, Poroe is a mythological dragon that’s afraid of whales in the East Sea. So whenever Poroe encounters a whale, Poroe let’s out a large scream. So what exactly does this have to do with a Korean temple bell, you might be asking yourself? Well, if you look at the wooden striker that hits the bell, traditionally, these wooden strikers were whale-shaped. While not as common these days, they can still be found at some Korean Buddhist temples. So when the whale-shaped striker hits the Brahma Bell, coming close in contact with Poroe atop the temple bell, Poroe lets out a loud scream. This helps the bell, according to the Poroe myth, to sound even louder. In Korean, that’s why the sound that a bell makes is known as a “whale sound.” And rather uniquely, Poroe is exclusive to Korean Brahma Bells. You won’t find this mythological dragon adorning the tops of Buddhist temple bells in neighbouring China or Japan.

Poroe atop the Brahma Bell at Eunhaesa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
Poroe atop the Brahma Bell at Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan.
Poroe atop the Brahma Bell at Dorimsa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do.


So the next time you’re at a Korean Buddhist temple, take a look around the temple grounds for the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). Whether it’s big or small, the temple should have a Brahma Bell. Not only will you now better understand the overall design of the Brahma Bell, but you’ll now better understand the cetaphobia dragon that adorns the top of this bell: Poroe – The Dragon that Adorns the Top of the Temple Bell

아/어/etc. 다가 Changing Locations | Live Class Abridged

Have you heard of the ~아/어/etc. 다가 form before? This form is not the same as the regular ~다가 form, nor is it the ~다가는 form I taught previously. It's also not ~에다가, which can attach to nouns. And finally it's not the same as ~ㅆ다가 which I also explain in this live stream.

~아/어/etc. 다가 is an advanced level grammar form that's used to show that two actions happen in order, that both actions happen in different locations, and that an object is moved from one location to the next one.

The post 아/어/etc. 다가 Changing Locations | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Food in Korean – Top Dishes and Beverage Names

Korean cuisine is filled with many kinds of delicious foods which makes learning food in Korean crucial. The types of food you can find in Korea are so vast that every experience you have from street food to eating Korean dishes and delicacies in a restaurant is all worthwhile. In fact, we already have a post dedicated to introducing you to Korean food.

But in this article, we will be learning the different Korean terms for food – as in what the different vocabulary for different vegetables, fruits, noodles, etc. is. This will be crucial when you are in South Korea especially if you plan to shop for groceries at the supermarket! Let’s begin!

Food in Korean

First things first, let’s learn the Korean word for food: 음식 (eumsik). It simply means food in general and is the big term you’ll want to use when you speak of your country’s cuisine.

Food in Korean

Another Korean word for food is 밥 (bap). Now, this word actually means “rice”, just like in 비빔밥 (bibimbap), so you don’t want to use it the same way as 음식. However, a common conversation topic of Koreans is asking others whether they’ve yet eaten, and it’s the word 밥 that is typically used in that situation. That is, of course, because rice is a staple food item in Korean cuisine, found on the table during nearly every meal, including breakfast. In South Korea, when you are thanking for a well-done meal, you’ll also use the word 밥.

But now, without further ado, let’s get to learning the food vocabulary in Korean!

Vegetables in Korean

These healthy vegetables are essential in Korean cuisine and can be used in different Korean dishes especially in soup, stew, stir-fried dishes, and noodles.

Large set of fresh vegetables, pumpkin, avocado, chili. Whole and half. collection of decorative cliparts for food design, recipes, menus, icons.Flat vector illustration, isolated on white background

양파 (yangpa)Onion
마늘 (maneul)Garlic
봄양파 (bomyangpa)Scallion
당근 (dangeunCarrot
무 (mu)Radish
양배추 (yangbaechu)(Chinese) Cabbage
상추 (sangchu)Lettuce
고추 (gochu)
Red Pepper
피망 (pimang)Bell Pepper
생강 (saenggang)Ginger
인삼, 진생 (insam, jinsaeng)Ginseng
브로콜리 (beurokolli)Broccoli
버섯 (beoseot)
감자 (gamja)Potato
고구마 (goguma)Sweet Potato
가지 (gaji)Eggplant
애호박 (aehobak)Zucchini
호박 (hobak)Pumpkin
시금치 (sigeumchi)Spinach
콩나물 (kongnamul)Bean Sprouts
연근 (yeongeun)
Lotus Root
파 (pa)Green Onion
토마토 (tomato)Tomato
오이 (oi)Cucumber
청경채 (cheonggyeongchae)Bok Choy
꽃양배추 (kkochyangbaechu)Cauliflower
완두콩 (wandukong)
파슬리 (paseulli)
비트 (biteu)Beetroot
셀러리 (selleori)Celery
아스파라거스 (aseuparageoseu)Asparagus
콘 (kon)Corn
콩 (kong)Beans

Cabbage in Korean

Cabbage in Korean is 양배추. This is the main ingredient for the popular Korean side dish called Kimchi. It’s made of cabbage and chili powder. However, kimchi isn’t limited to cabbage.

Scallion in Korean

The Korean term for scallion is 봄양파 (bomyangpa). This is used alongside seafood to create the famous dish 해물파전 (haemul pajeon) which is a savory pancake. This vegetable is also similar to green onions which translate to 파 (pa) in Korean.

Fruits in Korean

This list shows Korean words for healthy foods that can be enjoyed as is or can be made into something even better.

Half fruits circle icons. Cute cartoon healthy vegan natural products plants food orange lemon apple vector clipart set. Food healthy, half organic freshness, fresh ripe natural illustration

망고 (manggo)Mango
포도 (podo)Grape
복숭아 (boksunga)Peach
바나나 (banana)Banana
오렌지 (orenji)Orange
한라봉 (hallabong)Jeju Orange
파파야 (papaya)Papaya
사과 (sagwa)Apple
수박 (subak)Watermelon
파인애플 (painaepeul)Pineapple
멜론 (mellon)Melon
감 (gam)Persimmon
석류 (seongnyu)Pomegranate
딸기 (ddalgi)Strawberry
자몽 (jamong)Grapefruit
자두 (jadu)Plum
산딸기 (sanddalgi)Raspberry
귤 (gyul)Mandarin, Tangerine

Banana in Korean

This is very easy to remember as the Korean term for banana is also 바나나 (banana).

For even more vegetable and fruit vocabulary, we have an article solely dedicated to them right here!

Meat in Korean

Meat in Korean is 고기 (gogi). These are used as the main ingredient for plenty of food that Koreans and people all around the globe enjoy.Set fragments of pork, beef meat. Assortment of meat slices.

소고기 (sogogi)Beef
돼지고기 (dwaejigogi)Pork
닭고기 (dalgogi)Chicken
물고기 (mulgogi)
오리고기 (origogi)
삼겹살 (samgyeopsal)Pork Belly
불고기 (bulgogi)
Marinated Beef Slices
스테이크 (seuteikeu)Steak
베이컨 (beikeon)Bacon
햄 (haem)
닭갈비 (dakgalbi)Chicken Ribs
두부 (dubu)Tofu
계란 (gyeran)Eggs
치즈 (chijeu)Cheese

Marinated Beef Slices in Korean

Marinated beef slices in Korean are called 불고기 (bulgogi). This meat is often served in barbecue places or can also be stir-fried.

Pork Belly in Korean

Pork belly in Korean is called 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal). These are pork strips which are also often grilled in Korean barbecue restaurants. You can eat it with rice, lettuce or side dishes like kimchi. Whichever flavor suits your palate!

For more vocabulary for the different meats and meat dishes, you can check out our article on meat in Korean!

Cooking Ingredients in Korean

Each ingredient on the list helps enhance the flavor of the dish that you plan to make to match your palate.

밥 (bap)Rice
소금 (sogeum)Salt
후추 (huchu)Black Pepper
식초 (sikcho)Vinegar
간장 (ganjang)Soy Sauce
기름 (gireum)Oil
설탕 (seoltang)Sugar
밀가루 (milgaru)Flour
버터 (beoteo)Butter
케첩 (kecheop)Ketchup
마요네즈 (mayonejeu)Mayonnaise
중조 (jungjo)Baking Soda
베이킹파우더 (beikingpaudeo)Baking Powder
빵 (ppang)Bread
파스타 (paseuta)Pasta
꿀 (kkul)Honey
핫 소스 (hat soseu)Hot Sauce
시나몬 (sinamon)Cinnamon
고춧가루 (gochutgaru)Chili Powder
고추장 (gochujang)Chili Pepper Paste
해초 (haecho)Seaweed
참기름 (chamgireum)Sesame Oil

Rice in Korean

Rice in Korean is 밥 (bap) and this staple food is an ingredient used in 비빔밥 (bibimbap). This dish means “mixed rice” where rice is mixed in a bowl with different ingredients. This may include vegetables, ground beef, seasoned seaweed, and sauce made from chili paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar. Oftentimes, you can top this with kimchi and fried egg too, depending on your variation!

Soy Sauce in Korean

This important ingredient is well-known and is essential in different cuisines around the world but in Korea, soy sauce is called 간장 (ganjang).

Chili Pepper Paste

The chili paste is part of most dishes cooked in Korea and is called 고추장 (gochujang). A red chili paste gives a dish its flavor and fiery color that is common in cuisines cooked by Koreans especially in soup or stew dishes.

Beverages in Korean

Another important vocabulary to learn is what we usually pair with our food which is the beverages.

Soft drink cans and bottles. Soda bottled drinks, soft fizzy canned drinks, soda and juice beverages isolated vector illustration icons set. Beverage fizzy juice, soda in plastic and tin

물 (mul)Water
우유 (uyu)Milk
커피 (keopi)Coffee
차 (cha)Tea
주스 (juseu)Juice
탄산음료 (tansaneumnyo)Soda
콜라 (kolla)Coca Cola
맥주 (maekju)Beer
소주 (soju)Soju
막걸리 (makgeolli)Rice Wine

Soju 소주 (soju)

This alcoholic beverage is a signature drink enjoyed by Koreans. It’s can be paired with anything, from fried chicken to Korean BBQ, to any various street food.

Types of Food Preparation in Korean

In this section, we will teach you vocabulary that is based on the method with which a dish in Korea, from meat dishes to soup or stew types of dishes were prepared. These methods of cooking contribute to the variation of Korean dishes. You will usually find these words included in the name of the dish, just like in other languages.

Tiny people with food. Flat foods, friends cooking garden vegetables. Female eating and products preparation, healthy dish vector. Mini character with fish and meat, fruit and vegetable illustration

Fried in Korean

The term for fried in Korean is 볶음 (bokkeum). For example 볶음밥 (bokkeumbap), which is fried rice. Another example is 제육볶음 (jeyuk bokkeum) which means stir-fried pork.

Stew in Korean

The word for stew in Korean is 찌개 (jjigae). For example 김치찌개 (kimchi jjigae), which is kimchi stew. Army Stew or 부대찌개 (budaejjigae) and 순두부찌개 (sundubu jjigae) are another known examples of a stew in South Korea.

Soup in Korean

For soup in Korean, there are two words. A bowl of these will surely keep you warm.

The first word is 국 (guk), which is a native Korean word and usually attached to dishes that are lighter and have a lot of vegetables, such as 미역국 (miyeokguk), which is seaweed soup.

The second word is 탕 (tang), which is a Sino-Korean word. These soups may be heavier and less watery, for example, 삼계탕 (samgyetang), which is a ginseng chicken soup made with a whole chicken. Another example is 설렁탕 (seolleongtang) also known as ox bone soup which is made from ox bones and other cuts. Boiling this soup for several hours creates a rich beef broth.

Noodles in Korean

There are different noodle dishes and we’ll show you three words for noodles in Korean.

The first word is 사리 (sari), which refers specifically to uncooked noodles. The native Korean word for noodles is 국수 (guksu), such as 칼국수 (kalguksu), which stands for handmade chopped noodles. The Sino-Korean word for noodles is 면 (myeon), such as 라면 (ramyeon), which means instant noodles or 냉면 (naengmyeon) which is made of cold buckwheat noodles. Otherwise, there is no big distinction when you use 국수 and 면.

Steamed in Korean

The word for steamed in Korean is 찜 (jjim). For example 찜닭 (jjimdal), which can be translated as both steamed chicken or braised chicken.

Roasted in Korean / Grilled in Korean

Although not exactly the same method of cooking, for both roasted and grilled dishes, we use the word 구이 (gui). For example, 조개구이 (jogaegui), which means roasted clams.

Side Dishes in Korean

As there are a variety of side dishes eaten at every meal in Korea, it is also good to learn the general term for a side dish in Korean, which is 반찬 (banchan). The most common side dish that you can find during meals is 김치 kimchi. There are plenty of other side dishes but some other examples are 해물파전 (haemul pajeon), sweet potatoes, fish cake, and mung bean sprout.

Raw in Korean

Some food in Korea is also eaten raw, and therefore it’s good to know this word as well. The word for it is 회 (hoe). For example, 육회 (yukhoe), which is raw beef.

Describing taste in Korean

We already have a separate article to help you with ordering food in Korea, but we wanted to quickly go over some basic phrases and terms with which you can describe the food you are eating.

쓴 맛 (sseun mat)Bitter taste
매워요 (maewoyo)Spicy
두거워요 (dugeowoyo)
달콤해요 (dalkomhaeyo)Sweet
맛있어요 (masisseoyo)
맛 없어요 (mat obseoyo)
Not good
맛이 풍부해요 (masi pungbuhaeyo)
Rich in flavor
새콤해요, 시큼해요 (saekomhaeyo, sikeumhaeyo)Sour
음식이 상했다 (eumsigi sanghaetda)It’s gone bad
즙이 많아요 (jeubi manayo)
쫄깃쫄깃하다, 쫀득쫀득하다, 볼강볼강 (jjolgitjjolgithada, jjondeukjjondeukada, bolgangbolgang)Chewy

Wow, did this post make you massively hungry for Korean food? Because it sure made us! Hopefully, this was educational and will make your next meal a more exciting experience. Next up do read our article introducing specific dishes from Korean cuisine!

The post Food in Korean – Top Dishes and Beverage Names appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


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