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What Should You Call Your Friends | Korean FAQ

The word "친구" means "friend," but it's not always going to be the best word to use - and depending on the person it can be inappropriate too. This is because it's typically used for friends who are also the same age, and not for older or younger friends. I discuss how this works, as well as offer some better alternatives in this week's newest episode.

The post What Should You Call Your Friends | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Sinheungsa Temple – 신흥사 (Buk-gu, Ulsan)

Sinheungsa Temple in Buk-gu, Ulsan.

Temple History

Sinheungsa Temple is located in Buk-gu, Ulsan. The temple was first founded in 635 A.D. by the monk Myeongrang-beopsa. The temple was built in the hopes of peace. Originally, the temple was named Geonheungsa Temple. According to temple records, the temple helped train one hundred monks in 678 A.D. Sinheungsa Temple also played a part in the Imjin War (1592-1598). The temple sent three hundred bags of rice and warrior monks that joined the Righteous Army in the defence of the Korean peninsula. Unfortunately, because of the role it played in defending Korea, Sinheungsa Temple was destroyed by the invading Japanese. The temple was later rebuilt in 1646 by Yi Geup, who was a military commander. It was also at this time that the temple changed its name from Geonheungsa Temple to Sinheungsa Temple. Sadly, Sinheungsa temple was destroyed, once again, by fire in 1686. It was later rebuilt.

During the Korean War (1950-1953), some of the shrine halls and buildings were damaged at Sinheungsa Temple, as the area was a known area for conflict during the war. So instead of having a Daeung-jeon Hall, the temple’s Eungjin-jeon Hall was used as the temple’s main hall. Then in 1998, a newly made Daeung-jeon Hall was built at Sinheungsa Temple. This allowed the Eungjin-jeon Hall to be shifted to the left of the main hall and the newly built Daeung-jeon Hall took up the central position in the temple courtyard.

Temple Layout

You first approach Sinheungsa Temple up a long valley. Along the way, and especially if you visit during the summer months, you’ll find a lot of campers and tents in this valley. Finally at the temple parking lot, and up a steep set of stairs, you’ll pass by an ancient, towering tree. Now you’ll be standing squarely in front of a two-storied structure. The first floor acts as the Cheonwangmun Gate, while the second story acts as a lecture hall.

Passing through the Cheonwangmun Gate that has paintings of the Four Heavenly Kings on the walls of this entry gate, you’ll enter into the main temple courtyard at Sinheungsa Temple. To your far right, you’ll find the monks’ quarters. And next to this residence is a spring for which the temple is famous. And to your far left is the administrative office.

Straight ahead of you is the newly built Daeung-jeon Hall. Around the exterior walls of this large main hall are various murals that include murals dedicated to the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find that the interior walls are adorned with murals dedicated to various Bodhisattvas like Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom), Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). And hanging on the far right wall is a wood-relief carving of a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). As for the main altar triad, it rests beneath a large red canopy with an equally exquisite wood-relief carving of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) at the centre of the Buddhist artwork. As for the main altar triad, the central image is that of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha), who is joined on either side by Munsu-bosal and Bohyeon-bosal.

To the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall is the aforementioned Eungjin-jeon Hall. This compact shrine hall dates back to the late-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Out in front of the Eungjin-jeon Hall is a modern three-story pagoda. Stepping inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall, you’ll find white stone statues of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). They are joined in the centre by a triad of all-white statues. Again, Seokgamoni-bul sits in the centre of the main altar triad. Looking around the interior of the Eungjin-jeon Hall, you’ll find a beautiful collection of fading murals that include floral designs, Nahan, and dragons.

The final temple shrine hall that visitors can explore at Sinheungsa Temple is the Samseong-gak Hall. This shaman shrine hall is situated up a long, overgrown set of stairs. As you enter the Samseong-gak Hall, you’ll be greeted by three wood-relief carvings of three Korean shaman deities. They are Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). All three are masterfully executed and vibrantly painted.

How To Get There

To get to Sinheungsa Temple, you’ll first need to get to the Hogye train station in northern Ulsan. From the Hogye train station, you’ll then need to take a taxi to get to the temple. The taxi ride should take about twenty minutes, and it should cost around 8,000 won (one way).

Overall Rating: 6/10

There are a few highlights to be enjoyed at this historic temple like the main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. The wood-relief carving backing the main altar statues and the large, intricate red canopy that they all rest beneath is stunning, as well. Another highlight to the temple are the statues and dancheong inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall. And finally, the vibrant wood-relief carvings inside the Samseong-gak Hall are something to keep an eye out for, as well.

The two-story entry to the temple grounds with the Cheonwangmun Gate on the first floor of the structure.
The Daeung-jeon Hall at Sinheungsa Temple.
The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
And the Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The Eungjin-jeon Hall and three-story pagoda.
A look inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall at some of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha).
Some of the artwork inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall.
The stairs leading up to the Samseong-gak Hall.
The Samseong-gak Hall.
The main altar inside the Samseong-gak Hall. Sanshin (left), Chilseong (centre), Dokseong (right).
And the beautiful view from the heights of the Samseong-gak Hall.

Master Politeness Levels with Billy Go | #4: More 요 Form

Here's lesson 4 of my free course, "Master Politeness Levels." This is a 24 episode course all about politeness levels, and is for Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

The entire series is free and will be posted once every week, but YouTube Members are able to watch most of the course in advance. As of today, Members can watch up to lesson 18, and soon will have access to the entire course.

The post Master Politeness Levels with Billy Go | #4: More 요 Form appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

How to read Korean faster – Ways to speed up your studies

In this article, we will discuss how to read Korean faster. Since you’re here, you’ve already passed the crucial step in your Korean journey by learning how to read the Korean alphabet!

Perhaps you already have good knowledge of the language and can even read and understand a sentence just fine? And yet, something is still bugging you at this stage: your reading speed still feels terribly slow! While reading slow, especially at the beginning stages of studying Korean or other languages, is completely natural, it can also understandably be quite frustrating.

A girl reading a book with a timer beside her

Nobody wants to spend an hour getting through a few silly paragraphs! Naturally, you will quickly start wondering how to read Korean faster – and we’re here to answer that burning question for you!

How to practice reading in Korean?

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, which means learning how to read in Korean through practice is very essential. Below are the steps that you can follow.

Memorize the Korean alphabet

Before anything else, make sure you’ve got the basics of learning Korean covered. To enhance your general learning speed, you can always take advantage of our tips for learning Korean fast.

You do not need to be perfect with the Korean alphabet, but the better you have it memorized, the faster you will be at Korean writing and reading. Familiarizing yourself with Hangul (Korean script) is the first step to practicing how to read in Korean. Once you feel like you’ve got a handle on it, you can focus on bigger texts.

Utilize coursebooks and flashcards

There are numerous different coursebooks out there that specifically focus on practicing how to read. They are a great tool to use especially if you are only starting to get comfortable with Korean reading.

While reading-focused coursebooks are excellent for sentences and paragraphs, flashcards are perhaps the best way to familiarize yourself with specific vocabulary and their pronunciations. Testing yourself with flashcards, eventually moving on to one with a full sentence, can aid in quickening the pace with which you read.

Use various Korean texts

Once you are ready to advance from coursebooks specifically aimed at foreign learners, you can also try Korean poems, webtoons, and children’s books for practice, as well as, eventually, Korean novels.

In the end, the best way to learn how to read Korean smoothly is to read in Korean as much as you can. Be that subtitles, K-pop song lyrics, coursebooks, or perhaps news or Instagram captions.

You don’t even have to understand everything that you read. The point – at least initially – is to simply get comfortable with reading Korean and taking in how the sentences are constructed.

How to read Korean faster?

Now that we’ve covered some ways to practice reading in the Korean language, it’s time to give some additional tips on how to get faster and faster in your reading.

Of course, the point is not to become a speed reader, but reaching a somewhat natural pace in reading will be of advantage, especially if you’d like to be able to follow Korean texts like a native eventually.

Naturally, the further your learning Korean journey advances, the faster you should be able to read the words in front of you. But perhaps you would like to accelerate this process?

A woman using her laptop, a singing woman, a reading woman

Watch K-dramas and movies with Korean subtitles on

One fun starting point for practicing how to read in Korean fast is by watching Korean dramas and movies. You can also try watching short Korean videos on YouTube.

Set the subtitle in your native language first

First, pick a drama or a movie you think you’ll especially enjoy – or one you’ve already seen and know with certainty you loved – and then put it on with the English language (or any other language you are native or fluent in) subtitles on. Try to listen and pay attention to the sounds of how each line is spoken in this round already.

Use Korean subtitles next

Then, watch the episode or movie again! Only, this time put on Korean as the subtitle instead. The point here isn’t really to understand perfectly what the dialogue is, but to understand more clearly how each part of the dialogue is written. It can give you some great tips for Korean writing and pronunciation, and it’ll also force you to try to read as fast as possible!

Eventually, you will get so good at Korean that you will be able to also understand most of what you read, and that’s the point overall. However, getting too hung up on understanding everything from the go can hinder your overall process of learning to read faster.

Keeping up with Korean language subtitles while watching your favorite drama or a movie is an excellent way to pick up your pace when you read. The characters speak as they would in the real world, and of course, the subtitles follow the same speed. Thus, you need to become a quick reader yourself if you want to keep up with the subtitles without constantly pausing!

Read song lyrics

Another similar method to use is to listen to K-pop songs while looking at the lyrics. Not just to read the lyrics from a website, but actually reading and singing along to them while the song is on in the background. Or, even better, go to a Koreanstyle karaoke room and try to keep up with the lyrics as they pop up on the screen!

This will be a tough task unless you already know the song like the back of your hand, even as a fast reader, as the song usually progresses quicker than words spoken in your favorite drama does. However, even if you mess up the song entirely, you can easily keep practicing time and time again. And when you pick songs you love, you’ll never lack fun trying to master the song.

Get a coursebook with an audio CD

If you’re not feeling quite confident to read subtitles and song lyrics yet, but want to try something similar, then getting a coursebook that comes with an audio CD is just as great.

By utilizing the audio with what you read, you’re not only getting accustomed to how each word should be pronounced, but you’re challenging yourself to read at the same pace that the audio moves in.

This is a great practice, especially as, unlike with dramas and movies, you can easily rewind the CD and also pause it where needed. Alternatively, the coursebook’s audio files may also be available to you online.

You can use the tips already presented in the section above this one. Read them out loud slowly the first round, and then go back and read them over again, but with a faster pace. Keep at it until you are comfortable and confident to read the text at a natural-feeling pace. As long as you can create a habit out of reading Korean, you are already halfway there!

Read Korean Faster Exercises

Perhaps you can already memorize the alphabet with one of the many alphabet songs we previously introduced you to. However, you can utilize our site right away to practice your Korean reading as well.

Any “how to say” article will do! Below we’ve made a list of some useful sentences for you to immediately start practicing with. Perhaps you could make flashcards out of them so that you can use them every day or at any convenient moment?

Many of these may already be familiar sentences for you, which is great as it’ll be easier to learn to read them fast. We’ve given you romanizations and English words for aid, but try your best to read the texts without looking at the romanizations.

A: 어떻게 지내세요? A: eotteoke jinaeseyo? A: How are you?
B: 잘 지내요.B: jal jinaeyo.B: I am good.
A: 지하철역이 어디에요?

A: jihacheollyeogi eodieyo? A: Where is the subway station?
B: 모퉁이에 있는 건물에서 왼쪽으로 가세요.B: motungie inneun geonmureseo oenjjogeuro gaseyo.B: Go left from the building on the corner.
천천히 말씀해 주세요.cheoncheonhi malsseumhae juseyo.Please speak slowly.


These are just simple examples of short dialogues you can use to train your Korean language reading speed. You can start with one example. Once you feel confident in your skills, perhaps you would like to challenge your Korean friends to a speed-reading test? That could be a way to motivate yourself to keep practicing while socializing and learning the language!

If you are visiting South Korea, understanding the signage around the country will become extra easy! If you’d like to keep practicing your Korean reading skills right away, check out our list of essential Korean phrases for more inspiration!

The post How to read Korean faster – Ways to speed up your studies appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series:

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  


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Yujomsa Temple – 유점사 (Kosan, Kangwon-to, North Korea)

Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] in 1929. (Picture Courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1932).

Temple Myth

This temple post is a little different than others in that the temple no longer exists. However, because of its historical significance, and with it being in North Korea, I decided to do a post on it. And it should be noted, before I get too far ahead of myself, that this article will largely use the North Korean spelling of locations. Now, with all that being said, Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] has one of the more interesting temple myths associated with it.

Rather strangely, and according to “Saji,” a historical document, Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] was first founded in 4 A.D., which is rather odd since Buddhism first officially entered into the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C. – 668 A.D.) in the year 372 A.D. Now, as for the myth, it centres around Yujomsa Temple and 53 Buddha statues. According to a Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) historical document, after Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) entered Nirvana, the people in Sawi castle (in the middle region of India) were very sad because they couldn’t see or visit Seokgamoni-bul while he was alive. So because they couldn’t meet Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha), they decided to gather gold to make 53 statues of the Buddha. When they did this, they floated these statues on a boat, hoping that they could also enter into Nirvana.

This boat drifted around with a dragon as a guide. The boat would eventually land at Woljiguk (historians believe this now to be apart of Chungcheongnam-do). And the king would not only worship these 53 Buddha statues, but he also built a shrine for them. But for whatever reason, this shrine burnt down. So the king wanted to build a new shrine for these 53 Buddha statues, again. However, one night, while dreaming, the Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul, came to the king. In this dream, Seokgamoni-bul said, “I’m going to leave this country, so don’t try to build a new shrine.” Instead, what the king did was build a new boat for these 53 statues of Seokgamoni-bul, and he set sail to them, once more.

This boat would float around the seas and oceans for 900 years. Eventually, it would arrive at the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). A Silla court official then went out to see this miraculous boat. When he arrived, he looked inside the boat. When he did, he found that the 53 statues of the Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul, had all disappeared. Instead, what he found were leaves along the beach that led towards Mt. Kumgangsan [Mt. Geumgangsan].

So this official walked towards Mt. Geumgangsan. Along the way, a white dog appeared, so the official followed the dog. While he was walking, the official found a zelkova tree. And under this zelkova tree, the 53 Buddha statues were discovered. These were the very same statues that had been launched centuries ago from India. Hearing this, the king built a temple where they were found. This temple would be Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple].

After Korea regained its independence from Japanese Colonial Rule (1910-1945), it was revealed that three of the 53 Buddha statues were missing. Then during the Korean War (1950-1953), all of the remaining 50 were destroyed.

Temple History

Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] was located in Kosan [Gosan], Kangwon-to [Gangwon-do], North Korea. It was the largest of the four major temples around Mt. Kumgangsan [Geumgangsan] (1638 m). Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] was first founded during the 6th century as part of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). Throughout its long history, Yujomsa Temple underwent several renovations and enlargements. One of the more major enlargements of the temple took place in 1168 under King Uijong of Goryeo (r. 1146-1170). There would be subsequent work conducted on Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] in the 15th century, which would help the temple grow even larger in size.

During the Imjin War (1592-1598) against the invading Japanese, Yujomsa Temple was used as a base for the Righteous Army led by Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610). Eventually, and alongside Changansa Temple [Jangansa Temple], Pyohunsa Temple [Bohyeonsa Temple], and Singyesa Temple, the four temples would become known as the Four Great Temples of Mt. Kumgangsan [Geumgangsan]. Of the four, Yujomsa Temple was the largest and oldest. In total, Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] would grow to include some forty buildings. And between 1833 to 1885, Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] would undergo its final expansion.

During Japanese Colonial Rule (1910-1945), Mt. Kumgangsan [Mt. Geumgangsan] became a popular tourist site for the Japanese. And Yujomsa Temple, which was known as Yusen-ji Temple in Japanese, was one of the most popular destinations for travelers to Mt. Kumgangsan. Because of its popularity, Yujomsa Temple received additional funding to restore the temple during Japanese Colonial Rule. Additionally, Yujomsa Temple was one of the 31 headquarters for the nationwide organization of Korean Buddhist temples by the Japanese. And it oversaw the management of some 60 branch temples. At this time, Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] consisted of a Sanyeong-ru Pavilion, a Neunginbo-jeon Hall, a Sanshin-gak Hall, a nine-story pagoda, and dorms.

Despite its historical significance, however, Yujomsa Temple was bombed by the U.S. military during the Korean War (1950-1953). It was believed that the Korean People’s Army (North Korean Army) was using Yujomsa Temple as a base. As a result, Yujomsa Temple was bombed and nothing remains of the temple except for the temple’s foundation stones and the Joseon-era (1392-1910) bronze bell that was moved to Pohyunsa Temple [Bohyeonsa Temple] on Mt. Myohyangsan.

How To Get There

Unfortunately, you can’t. The temple simply no longer exists. But for now, all that remains of this once famous temple are the foundation stones and the temple bell at Pohyunsa Temple [Bohyeonsa Temple].

Overall Rating: 3/10

Unfortunately, Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple] no longer exists. Just like Mireuksa-ji Temple Site in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do and Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site in Gyeongju, very little of the temple outside the foundation stones still exist. And for that reason, it rates as low as it does. However, it still is North Korea, and there is still hope that one day, like the neighbouring Singyesa Temple, Yujomsa Temple will be restored. Here’s to hoping!

Historical Pictures of Yujomsa Temple

Yujeomsa Temple in 1929. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1932).
The Sanyeong-ru Pavilion in 1919. (Picture courtesy of Buddhist Art of North Korea – Documentation in Gelatin Dry Plates).
And the Sanyeong-ru Pavilion in 1929. (Picture courtesy of Buddhist Art of North Korea – Documentation in Gelatin Dry Plates).
The Neunginbo-jeon Hall at Yujomsa Temple in 1929. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1932).
The nine-story pagoda that once stood in front of the main hall. The picture is from 1929. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1933).
A look up at the eaves of the Neunginbo-jeon Hall from 1929. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1932).
A look around the interior of the Neunginbo-jeon Hall. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1932).
An Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) statue from 1912. (Picture courtesy of Buddhist Art of North Korea – Documentation in Gelatin Dry Plates).
And a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) from 1912. (Picture courtesy of Buddhist Art of North Korea – Documentation in Gelatin Dry Plates).
The 53 Buddha statue altar inside the Neunginbo-jeon Hall. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1917).
One of the 53 Buddha statues that was once located, but destroyed, at Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple]. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1917).
Yet another of the Buddha statues. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1917).
And another. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1917).
And one more. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1917).
A temple bell inside the Neunginbo-jeon Hall from 1909. (Picture courtesy of Buddhist Art of North Korea – Documentation in Gelatin Dry Plates).
And the Joseon-era bronze bell from 1929 that was saved. (Picture courtesy of Buddhist Art of North Korea – Documentation in Gelatin Dry Plates).
The bronze bell now at Pohyunsa Temple [Bohyeonsa Temple]. (Picture courtesy of Naver).
The budowon at Yujomsa Temple [Yujeomsa Temple]. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1933).
And an older biseok (stele) from 1929. (Picture courtesy of Joseon Gojeok Dobo, 1933).

~까(요) "Shall," "Could," "Would" | Live Class Abridged

This last Sunday I had a live Korean classroom, and we learned about the verb ending ~까(요).

The 까(요) verb ending can be used with both Action Verbs and Descriptive Verbs, and it can mean several things depending on how it's being used. With many Action Verbs, it can translate as "Shall I?" or "Shall we?" And with Descriptive Verbs it can translate as "Could" or "Would," among other translations.

The full live stream was over an hour long, but you can watch the abridged version right here.

The post ~까(요) "Shall," "Could," "Would" | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Korean Words Pronounced Differently Than They’re Written | Korean FAQ

Many Korean words are pronounced differently than they're written. For a beginner, this can be confusing. Even after applying sound change rules, there can be words which are not read how you'd expect.

This video will specifically cover a few words that are pronounced differently than they're written, including 닦다, 카페, 버스, 게임, 댄스, 서비사, 간단하다, 예요, and 자장면.

The post Korean Words Pronounced Differently Than They’re Written | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Putin is Turning Russia into North Korea– Isolated, Fascist, Loathed, Recklessly Waving Nukes Around, Domestically Repressive, Dependent on China, Led by a Corrupt Paranoiac

RussiaYeah, it’s a click-bait-y title, but it’s kinda true! Putin’s foolish war is turning Russia into a hated, isolated country with a lot of the same problems as North Korea, just on a larger scale.

This is a repost of an essay I wrote for

Here is my punch-line comparing the two:

There is another country much like Russia emerging from the Ukraine war: led by a paranoid, brutal, nationalistic leader toadied to by servile cronies; with a corrupt, dysfunctional economy; loathed, feared, and isolated by much of the world; served by a corrupted, bloated military; leaning into nuclear weapons for international prestige; making outlandish threats and waving its nukes around recklessly; repressive of its own people, where anyone who can leave does; with an extreme nationalist ideology; dependent on China.

Scale is the difference of course. Russia is a great power (although only sort of now), with a UNSC veto seat and a much bigger population and economy. And yes, it’s not nearly as misgoverned as NK. But if Putin doesn’t end the war soon, Russia will be isolated as a danger to the world, as NK is. US SecDef just admitted that we want to see Russia weakened. And Putin is more reckless and and expansionist than Kim Jong Un is, ironically.

So yeah, the comparison is a stretch, but the more the war drags on, the more it works.

Here’s that 1945 essay:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is destroying Russian power, and his misbegotten Ukraine war is accelerating Russian decline. Putin himself does not seem to realize this. Western officials increasingly suspect that Putin is being lied to about the war by his closest advisors. And Putin has never seemed much interested in economic affairs. He does not appear to grasp just how much the Russian economy will shrink if the sanctions on Russia are left in place for a lengthy war.

In a few years, we may look back on this war as the breaking of Russian power, as the reduction of Russia to a middle power for at least a generation.

Putin is now a Fascist War Criminal

The regime Putin has built over the last decade and a half is increasingly authoritarian, closed, hyper-nationalistic, and repressive. Putin began his presidency seeking to restore Russian stability after the chaotic 1990s. A strong hand was arguably necessary to rein in the gangsterism of post-Soviet ‘wild west’ capitalism. But Putin slid increasingly toward open authoritarianism, rigging the constitution to stay in power almost indefinitely.

Please read the rest here.

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University




Daedunsa Temple – 대둔사 (Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

The Daeung-jeon Hall at Daedunsa Temple in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Temple History

Daedunsa Temple is located on the northeastern side of Mt. Bokusan (508 m) in northern Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do. Daedunsa Temple is one of the earliest temples to have been established in Korea that’s still in existence. The temple was founded in 446 A.D. by the monk Ado, who may or may not be the same Ado that founded Jikjisa Temple.

In 1231, Daedunsa Temple was completely destroyed by fire by the invading Mongols during the Mongol Invasions of Korea (1231-1270). The temple would be rebuilt during the reign of King Chungnyeol of Goryeo (r. 1274-1308). In fact, the temple was rebuilt by Wangsogun, who was the eldest son of King Chungnyeol of Goryeo. Wangsogun became a monk in 1276 and took the Dharma name of Pungtan. After this, and the reconstruction of Daedunsa Temple, there are no records of Wangsogun in his later life.

After the Japanese invasion of the Korean Peninsula during the Imjin War (1592-1598), the warrior monk, Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610), helped to enlarge Daedunsa Temple. In the process of enlarging the temple, Samyeong-daesa included ten additional residential buildings to help house an additional ten thousand warrior monks, if a war should happen, once more, with the Japanese. While no longer as large as it once was, Daedunsa Temple gives us insight into just how important the temple was to the history of Korea and Korean Buddhism.

In total, Daedunsa Temple is home to two Korean Treasures. They are the Dry-lacquered Seated Amitabha Buddha of Daedunsa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #1633; and the Daeungjeon Hall of Daedunsa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #1945. Daedunsa Temple is also home to one Natural Monument, which are the Natural Habitat of Yoshino Cherries in Daedunsan Mountain.

Temple Layout

You first approach Daedunsa temple up a steep mountainous incline. From the temple parking lot, and to the right of a large, stone retaining wall, you’ll make your way up a set of stairs towards the main temple courtyard at Daedunsa Temple.

Straight ahead of you stands the Daeung-jeon Hall. The main hall dates back to the late 1600s. The exterior walls to the Daeung-jeon Hall are adorned with various guardian murals. Stepping inside, and rather uniquely for a Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find a solitary image of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) on the main altar under a large, red canopy. Typically, an image of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) takes up residence inside a Daeung-jeon Hall. But perhaps because the statue is a Korean Treasure, and it’s so important, it resides inside the main hall at Daedunsa Temple. Dry-lacquered Seated Amitabha Buddha of Daedunsa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #1633, dates back to the late Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). The statue stands 105.5 cm in height. The head and body of the statue are made of dry lacquer, while the hands are made of wood. The statue is a wonderful example of artistry found during the transition made between the Goryeo Dynasty and the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) in Korean Buddhist artwork. As for the rest of the interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) to the right of the main altar. And between both the main altar and the Shinjung Taenghwa is a mural dedicated to Amita-bul. This mural dates back to 1714. As for the Daeung-jeon Hall, it’s Korean Treasure #1945.

To the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and slightly up an embankment past an old, gnarled tree, is the Samseong-gak Hall. It’s inside this shaman shrine hall that you get to look at a beautiful set of older shaman murals. Of note are the intimidating eyes of the leopard-looking tiger inside the Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural. Another interesting feature is the white spider crawling into the right ear of Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). And the Chilseong (Seven Stars) mural that completes the set of the three shaman murals is an older composition, as well.

Directly to the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall, on the other hand, is the temple’s Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Surrounding the exterior walls of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall are the twelve zodiac generals, the Sibiji-shin. Housed inside this dimly lit temple shrine hall, and resting on the main altar, is a golden statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Jijang-bosal is backed by a beautiful wooden relief of himself, as well as the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). Other statues inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall are ten seated images dedicated to the Siwang, as well as two fierce statues of the Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors) at both entries to the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Adorning the rest of the interior of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall are murals dedicated to the Siwang and the ten regions they rule over in the Underworld. There’s also a Banya Yongseon-do (Dragon Ship of Wisdom Mural) inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, as well.

And perched on the far right, and past a vegetable garden, is the Nahan-jeon Hall at Daedunsa Temple. While the exterior walls are largely unadorned all but for their dancheong colours, the interior more than makes up for the exterior’s simplicity. Resting on the main altar is an unusual-looking triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). And this unusual-looking triad is joined inside the Nahan-jeon Hall on both sides by rather large wooden statues of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha).

How To Get There

From the Gumi Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take a bus bound for the Angye Bus Terminal. The trip between bus terminals should last about an hour, and it’ll cost you about 7,000 won. From the Angye Bus Terminal, you’ll next need to take a taxi to Daedunsa Temple. The ride should take about 40 minutes, and it’ll cost you about 20,000 won (one way).

Overall Rating: 7/10

The main highlight to Daedunsa Temple is the Daeung-jeon Hall and the historic image of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) that resides inside the main hall. Other beautiful features at Daedunsa Temple is the early 18th century painting dedicated to Amita-bul inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, the murals of the three shaman deities inside the Samseong-gak Hall, and the main altar statues inside the Nahan-jeon Hall. In addition to all of this artistic beauty, Daedunsa Temple is beautifully situated in northern Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

The main temple courtyard at Daedunsa Temple.
The historic Daeung-jeon Hall, which is Korean Treasure #1945.
A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The main altar statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise), which is Korean Treasure #1633.
Part of the Amita-bul triad mural that dates back to 1714 inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The Samseong-gak Hall.
The Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural inside the Samseong-gak Hall.
A look inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.
One of the Siwang (Ten Kings of the Underworld).
The Nahan-jeon Hall at Daedunsa Temple.
A look inside the Nahan-jeon Hall at the main altar.
Some of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) inside the Nahan-jeon Hall.
And the view from the Nahan-jeon Hall towards the Daeung-jeon Hall and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.


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