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Ssangmireuksa Temple – 쌍미륵사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

Ssangmireuksa Temple in Baenaegol Valley in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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Temple History

Ssangmireuksa Temple is located at the base of Mt. Hyangrosan (726.7 m) in the very scenic Baenaegol Valley in northern Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. A beautiful flowing stream from Lake Miryang passes by the front of the temple. Ssangmireuksa Temple means “Twin Future Buddhas Temple” in English. Originally, the temple was known as Seongbulsa Temple. In 2019, the temple changed its name to Ssangmireuksa Temple. The probable reason for the name change is that the head monk at the temple probably changed, as well. The current head monk at Ssangmireuksa Temple was looking for the twin Mireuk-bul (Future Buddha) for thirty-seven years. He finally found the twin image of Mireuk on the rock face on the southern part of Mt. Hyangronsan. With this discovery, the name of the temple changed to the rather obvious Ssangmireuksa Temple.

Temple Layout

In an elbow in the stream, and past a few pensions, you’ll make your way up towards Ssangmireuksa Temple. The first thing to greet you, besides the overwhelming amount of gold found on all surfaces and statues at Ssangmireuksa Temple, is a row of three metre tall stone statues dedicated to the Zodiac, or “Sibijin-shin” in Korean.

Across from these Zodiac statues, and to the right, you’ll find five large, stone pagodas reminiscent of the ones that can be found at Tapsa Temple in Jinan, Jeollabuk-do. Past these five pagodas, you’ll come to the very golden modern compound that is Ssangmireuksa Temple. The first thing in the temple compound to greet you is the visitors centre and a set of stairs that lead up to the second story of the interlocking temple shrine halls.

Up these set of stairs, and slightly to the left, is the Daeung-jeon Hall. This hall is beautifully framed to the right by a row of red pines. The golden exterior of the Daeung-jeon Hall is adorned with a pink lotus flower. Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll first be greeted by several rows of three different figurines of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The first in the set is of Mireuk-bul (The Future) joined by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to right, and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the far right. Continuing a little further into the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll notice a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) to your left in a nook. And on the main altar straight ahead of you, you’ll notice a beautiful stone statue dedicated to Mireuk-bul with a three-story hat atop his head. This statue is then backed by seven smaller standing statues dedicated to the Future Buddha, as well. To the right of this main altar, and on a shrine of its own, is a green haired statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal.

Stepping outside the Daeung-jeon Hall, and in a clearing of her own, is a five metre tall statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. The statue serenely looks to the east and pours sweet ambrosia from her golden bottle. To the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall, on the other hand, is the rock face for which the temple gets its name. There is a sign that helps you distinguish where exactly these natural stone monuments to Mireuk-bul stand. There’s a large multi-tiered golden altar that leads up to the rocks where prayer services are frequently held.

Up a set of stairs to the left of the twin Mireuk-bul rocks, you’ll pass by a collection of three smaller sized Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag) statues, as well as three statues dedicated to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” A little further up these set of stairs, you’ll find a shrine dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). This standing statue dedicated to Sanshin is a newer outdoor shrine dedicated to this particular shaman deity. It’s also from this vantage point that you get a great view of the temple compound, the mountain azaleas, and Baenaegol Valley.

Back at the entry of Ssangmireuksa Temple, next to the visitors centre, instead of heading right up the stairs towards the Daeung-jeon Hall, you can travel to the left towards a jovial stone statue of Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag). It should be noted that Podae-hwasang is believed to be an incarnation of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha), for which the temple gets its name. Past this statue, and a pair of book-ending statues of golden Bodhidharma, you can also mount the wide stairs to make your way up to the stone altar dedicated to the twin Mireuk-buls, as well as the Daeung-jeon Hall.

To the left of this wide wooden staircase, and the collection of four Bodhidharmas, is a strange looking outdoor shrine. This outdoor shrine looks like a variation of the spinning prayer wheels which are more commonly found in Tibetan Buddhism. In this case, they are long rectangular stone monuments with sutras written on them, as you are led up to a stone turtle and a circular hole cut out of some rough stone. On the other side of this stone circular hole is a jade statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) crowning the temple’s water fountain. Rather strangely, it looks as though the jade head of the statue has been replaced or painted gold like when you were a kid and you ripped the head off of one of your dolls and attached it to the body of a different doll. Yes, it looks that strange.

To the left of this outdoor shrine is a large green haired statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the left of this outdoor shrine dedicated to the Bodhisattva of the Afterlife are a pair of pagodas. The one to the right is reminiscent of the Four Lion Three-story Stone Pagoda at Hwaeomsa Temple. The one at Ssangmireuksa Temple is five-stories instead of three like at Hwaeomsa Temple, and it’s more modern and less refined. However, it is still beautiful in its own right. To the left of this five-story lion based pagoda is the rather garish five-story slender all-gold stone pagoda. This pagoda seems to have simply been painted gold. And backing this pagoda is a large outdoor shrine dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Just a year ago, this stone statue dedicated to the shaman Mountain Spirit was situated at the entry of the temple. It’s now replaced the former statue of Mireuk-bul that once stood perched atop a wide golden outdoor altar.

There are a couple shrine halls interspersed among the folds of the large and sprawling temple complex. To the rear of the rather odd statue of Yaksayeorae-bul is the Yongwang-dang Hall. This low-ceiling shaman shrine hall houses a beautiful stone statue dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King). And it’s next to this shaman shrine hall that you’ll find the beautifully lit Gwaneum-jeon Hall. At the end of another low-lying rock cave you’ll see a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This statue is joined by a relief to the right of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

How To Get There

From the Yangsan Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take a taxi to get out to Ssangmireuksa Temple. The taxi ride takes about forty minutes, and it’ll cost you about 25,000 won one way. (The Google Map has yet to update the temple’s name to Ssangmireuksa Temple from Seongbulsa Temple).

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Ssangmireuksa Temple can be a bit much for the Korean Buddhist temple traditionalist with its gold colour everywhere including the shrine halls, statues, and pagodas. Also, the shrine halls seem to be layered on top of each other. However, if you can get past a bit of this garishness, you’ll find some beautiful Buddhist artwork like the Mireuk-bul statue inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, the outdoor Sanshin stone statue, and the Zodiac statues at the entry to the temple, as well as the rather peculiar spinning prayer wheels in stone tablet form. Adding to all this oddity is the natural beauty that surrounds Ssangmireuksa Temple in the Baenaegol Valley area of Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. So if you want to see something a little bit different, as well as something natural beauty, Ssangmireuksa Temple is the place for you.

The collection of stone statues dedicated to the Zodiac animals at the entry to Ssangmireuksa Temple.
A look through the stone pagodas towards the temple compound at a golden Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion).
One of the four golden Bodhidharma statues at the temple.
The beautiful view from near the Daeung-jeon Hall at Ssangmireuksa Temple.
A look towards the twin rock formations that give the temple its name.
The Mireuk-bul (Future Buddha) statue and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) statue inside the Daeung-jeon Hall at Ssangmireuksa Temple.
Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.
And the beautiful relief of the Bodhisattva of Compassion inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.
To the left rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall. Quite the view of the Baenaegol river valley.
A collection of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) reliefs.
The rather peculiar stone tablet outdoor shrine at Ssangmireuksa Temple.
A larger statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) that acts as a backdrop to the golden-headed statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of Medicine, and the Eastern Paradise).
And the outdoor shrine and large stone statue dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) at the temple.

Busan Covid Updates (April 15, 2021)



New Cases Recovered Currently Hospitalized Deaths
41 47 578 0
Total: 4565 Total: 3867   Total 120

COVID-19 vaccination status in Busan (As of 0:00 2021-04-15)

Eligible Number of Vaccinated % of Vaccinated
  Total (cumulative) Daily total
365,259 1st dose 96,059 2,960 26.3
2nd dose 4,161 0 1.1

Travel history of COVID-19 Patients in Busan (by BeFM, BFIC)

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Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Busan

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다가는 Continuing Actions | Live Class Abridged

Did you know that ~다가는 is not the same as the form ~다가? It's also not the same as ~아/어/etc. 다가, but that's for another lesson.

In this Advanced level class I explain what ~다가는 is, how to use it, and when you would want to use it instead of ~다가.

The post 다가는 Continuing Actions | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Meat in Korean – The Complete Guide

Welcome meat lovers! In this lesson, we’ll be teaching you everything you need to know about meat in Korean.

Whether you plan to shop at the butcher’s shop or go out for a round of delicious Korean barbecue, you’ll find yourself at an advantage learning how to say “meat” in Korean. And not only the word “meat”, but all the different meats available for you to devour in Korea. At the end of the article, we’ve also included some useful phrases, including a way to simply describe your diet in Korean if you do not eat meat.

Let’s get to learning!

different types of meat

Meat in Korean

The word for meat in Korean is 고기 (gogi). This word encompasses all the various meats. Sometimes all you need is this word, but oftentimes you may wish to know the specific type of Korean meat you’re talking about. Thus we’ll go over them all today!

Beef in Korean

The word for beef in Korean is 쇠고기 (soegogi). It is typically the most expensive type of meat in Korea. Nevertheless, it has a lot of cultural value for Koreans and is the meat you’ll want to go for when celebrating, for example. You can eat beef raw, roasted, grilled, in soups, and other ways as well.

Chicken in Korean

The word for chicken in Korean is 닭고기 (dalgogi). It is another old and valuable part of Korean cuisine. You can find chicken in various dishes, from braised, roasted, and fried chicken to soups and noodle dishes. Plus, one favorite thing to snack on during a night out with friends is chicken feet!

Pork in Korean

The word for pork in Korean is 돼지고기 (dwaejigogi). Just like beef, pork has been eaten in Korea since ancient times, with various parts of pork being cooked in various methods. It’s a widely used meat for when you go out for Korean barbecue, for example.

Fish in Korean

The word for fish in Korean is 물고기 (mulgogi), although each type of fish also has its own representative names. Fish and shellfish are another big part of Korean cuisine, eaten raw, grilled, broiled, dried, in stews and in soups, and so on.

Vocabulary for Meat in Korean

Here are the Korean words for different meat in Korea and their English counterpart. This list of words may come in handy on your next plan to eat out at a Korean restaurant or if you will buy these from the meat shop.

Meat Product With Beef Slab And Sausage Products Rested On Metal

고기 (gogi)Meat
쇠고기 (soegogi)Beef
돼지고기 (dwaejigogi)Pork
닭고기 (dalgogi)Chicken
양고기 (yanggogi)Lamb
오리고기 (origogi)Duck
사슴고기 (saseumgogi)Venison
칠면조 고 (chilmyeonjo gogi)Turkey
꿩고기 (kkwonggogi)Pheasant
자고새 고기 (jagosae gogi)Partridge
메추라기 고 (mechuragi gogi)Quail
햄 (haem)Ham
베이컨 (beikeon)Bacon
소시지 (sosiji)Sausage
갈비살 (galbisal)Rib, Chop
치돌박이 (chadolbagi)Thinly sliced brisket
등심 (deungsim)Sirloin
안심 (ansim)Tenderloin
부채살 (buchaesal)Top blade
안창살 (anchangsal)Outside skirt steal
치마살양지 (chimasal yangji)Flank steak
닭갈비 (dakgalbi)Spicy chicken ribs
삼겹살 (samgyeopsal)Pork belly

Vocabulary for Seafood in Korean

The list below shows the Korean words for different kinds of seafood.

Trendy Seafood Flat Pictures Collection. Cartoon Mussel, Fish, S

물고기 (mulgogi)Fish
연어 (yeoneo)Salmon
참치 (chamchi)Tuna
고등어 (godeungeo)Mackerel
청어 (cheongeo)Herring
새우 (saeu)Shrimp
게 (ge)Crab
조개 (jogae)Clams
굴 (gul)Oyster
전복 (jeonbok)Abalone
문어, 낙지 (muneo, nakji)Octopus
오징어 (ojingeo)Squid

Korean Barbecue

When talking about meat, the first thing that often comes to mind is Korean Barbecue. This is a method of cooking in Korean cuisine that mainly involves grilling meat indoors or outdoors with grilling stations built in each dining table in a Korean restaurant. The grilled meat can either be beef, pork, or chicken, plain or marinated.

kids eating barbecue outside

When dining here, you will usually be the one to grill the meat but you don’t need to be a great cook to do that. All you need is your table and equipment for grilling, the meat, and the rest of the condiments. If you love to cook, or if you just love to eat, you will really enjoy Korean barbecue. This has grown to be an activity enjoyed not only by Koreans but people all around the globe.

There are different ways of enjoying Korean barbecue. The whole Korean barbecue experience is beyond just eating the meat by itself as it also comes with many different side dishes and sauces. You also get to choose if you want it spicy or not. After grilling the meat and cutting it in pieces, this is usually wrapped in lettuce together with some side dish and sauce. If you’re the type of person who loves to try and taste different flavors, you can mix and match the meat with different sauces and side dishes.

불고기 (Bulgogi)

One of the popular grilled Korean meat dishes served in restaurants is called 불고기 (bulgogi) This is made of marinated beef sliced into thin pieces. This dish is usually marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sugar before grilling it.

삼겹살 (Samgyeopsal)

삼겹살 (Samgyeopsal), similar to bulgogi, is also thinly sliced, but this dish is made of pieces of pork belly. Its English translation means “three-layer-meat”. The meat is already sliced and is usually served unseasoned or only lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and sesame oil.

So, what to say if you don’t eat meat?

Here’s a couple of ways to say “I don’t eat meat in Korean”.

I don’t eat meat

저는 고기를 먹지 않습니다

(jeoneun gogireul meokji anhseupnida)

I am vegetarian

저는 채식주의자입니다

(jeoneun chaesikjuuijaipnida)

I eat fish (and chicken) but not meat

물고기(와 닭고기를) 먹지만 고기를 먹지 않습니다

(mulgogi (wa dalgogireul) meokjiman gogireul meokji anseumnida)

Do you eat meat? Have you yet tried out Korean barbecue? Let us know about your favorite meat in the comments! Next up, do you feel ready to tackle our bigger vocabulary article on Korean food?

The post Meat in Korean – The Complete Guide appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Banya Yongseon-do – The Dragon Ship of Wisdom: 반야 용선도

The Dragon Ship of Wisdom that Adorns the Geukrak-jeon Hall at Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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The Purpose of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom

One of the more distinctive paintings that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple is the Banya Yongseon-do, or “The Dragon Ship of Wisdom Mural” in English. In this painting, you’ll see a dragon-shaped boat with passengers on it and a pair of Bodhisattvas looking like they’re the captain of this symbolic ship. So what exactly is this painting meant to symbolize? How does it relate to Korean Buddhism? And who exactly are the two Bodhisattvas and passengers onboard this ship?

The purpose of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom is to help ferry devotees of Buddhism across Samsara (the endless cycle of rebirth, existence, and death) to the Pure Land, or “Jeongto” in Korean. In Korean, Samsara is known as Yunhwi. Yunhwi literally means “continuous flowing.” And it’s across the Ocean of Suffering, Samsara, that the Dragon Ship of Wisdom sails across to arrive on the other shore where Jeongto, the Pure Land, is situated.

Leaving the earthly shore to cross Samsara.
The Dragon Ship of Wisdom crossing Samsara (Yunhwi) as it approaches the other shore of Jeongto (The Pure Land).

The Dragon Ship of Wisdom Design

The Dragon Ship of Wisdom, rather expectantly, is designed like a dragon. The bow of the ship has a dragon’s head, while the stern is designed as a dragon’s tail. Usually, the Dragon Ship of Wisdom is painted blue with a collection of Buddhist devotees as occupants. Typically, you’ll find two Bodhisattvas riding the Dragon Ship of Wisdom, as well. One of these Bodhisattvas is Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). And the other is Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), who is also known as the “Earth Womb Bodhisattva.” The reason that you’ll find Jijang-bosal on the Dragon Ship is because this Bodhisattva is devoted to saving all sentient beings in the Six Realms of existence. As for Gwanseeum-bosal, the reason that you’ll find her on the Dragon Ship of Wisdom is that she takes care of all the complaints of the world. Sometimes, you’ll see Gwanseeum-bosal standing on the dragon as it sails across Samsara. Sometimes you’ll even see Yongwang (The Dragon King) accompanying Gwanseeum-bosal as her attendant. In this case, Yongwang is helping the Dragon Ship of Wisdom cross Samsara.

The Dragon Ship of Wisdom located on the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Where to Find the Dragon Ship of Wisdom at a Korean Buddhist Temple

Typically, you’ll find the Dragon Ship of Wisdom mural in one of two places at a Korean Buddhist temple, both of which, are temple shrine halls. The first temple shrine hall that you can find this mural, either inside or outside the temple structure, is the Geukrak-jeon Hall. The Geukrak-jeon Hall is dedicated to Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise), which is a rather obvious reason as to why you’ll find the mural in this location. And the other temple shrine hall that you can find the Dragon Ship of Wisdom mural is, once again, adorning the exterior or interior walls of another temple shrine hall; this time, the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. This temple shrine hall is dedicated to one of the two occupants of the Dragon Ship, Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).

More symbolically, and not in mural form, each temple shrine hall is in fact meant to embody the Dragon Ship of Wisdom. Typically, you’ll find dragon heads carved near the entry of a Korean temple shrine hall. The body of these dragons run inside and across the shrine hall. Additionally, you’ll find that the interiors have either paintings or carvings of dragons. In this case, the dragon design of the temple shrine hall is meant to symbolize the Dragon Ship of Wisdom. Each temple shrine hall is symbolically carrying humans from the shore of earthly existence, across Samsara (Yunhwi), to the Pure Land (Jeongto). So as a whole, each and every temple shrine hall at a Korean Buddhist temple is a vehicle that aids devotees towards the Pure Land.

The Dragon Ship of Wisdom found on the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Unmunsa Temple in Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do.


There are quite a few beautiful examples of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom throughout the Korean peninsula, so here are just a few. Perhaps the most masterful is the one that adorns the back exterior wall of the Geukrak-jeon Hall at Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. With its fading pastel colours, you can see this wonderful mural as you first enter the lower courtyard at the temple. Another great example can be found at Unmunsa Temple in Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do with the solitary image of Gwanseeum-bosal guiding the dead across Samsara. Other great examples of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom can be found at Pyochungsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do; Haegwangsa Temple in Gijang-gun, Busan; and Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do.


So the next time you’re at a Korean Buddhist temple, have a good look around for the dragons. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to see a ship designed like a dragon. And now you’ll know that this ship, the Dragon Ship of Wisdom, is transporting the souls of the dead across Yunhwi (Samsara) to Jeongto (the Pure Land).

The Dragon Ship of Wisdom that adorns one of the exterior walls of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Haegwangsa Temple in Gijang-gun, Busan.

One word to make your Korean more natural | Korean FAQ

The word 좀 is well known (to people who've learned it already) as a more conversational and slightly less formal version of 조금. It's commonly used in speaking, and is fine for using in almost any level of speech.

However, 좀 is also useful to make a sentence sound softer - this is especially useful when making a command that you want to sound a little bit more friendly.

And that's not all. Adding 좀 to your sentences can also make them sound a little more natural - like a native speaker. In this video I explain how you can add it to your sentences in order to 좀 improve your Korean.

One word to make your Korean more natural | Korean FAQ

The post One word to make your Korean more natural | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Spring Blossoms in Korea 2021

At long last, it feels like there is a change in the air. Well, looking at the amount of “fine dust warnings” on my phone, “air” is a relative term. However, spring is here and it is greatly welcomed. That also means that the cherry blossoms in korea have come out.

Winters in Korea are quite bland to say the least. Lifeless and banal, it is hard for even the most creative photographer to come up with a compelling image. For me, I struggle quite a bit. I often head out to the sea as I find that out on the seaside, it doesn’t change.

However, in the city and in the country, it really comes alive during the spring. That is greatly due to the amount of cherry blossom trees that can be found around the country. The floral bursts that line the paths and roads and dot the the once brown hills, are now popping with colour.

This season is not without its faults. The trees are sometimes looked upon as reminders of the Japanese colonial era. In the current time, they are a dangerous attraction as many couples and instagramers flock to take photos beneath the colourful trees. During a global pandemic this is not recommended at all.

Despite the numerous warnings, people still ventured out to enjoy the warmth of the spring season and the cherry blossoms in Korea. Places like Gyeongju were packed and I saw a number of similar images online indicating that there were a large number of photographers out this year too.

Ulsan, South Korea

As a photographer, I reluctantly went out a few times during this period to capture the beauty of the Korean landscape. During the pandemic you have to be cautious because so many people will go out to enjoy the blossoms and there is a high probability that there could be a 4th wave because of the warmer weather and crowds. At the time of this writing, numbers of infected patients are spiking across Korea.

With that being said, please enjoy some of my favorite images of the cherry blossoms in korea from this season and I hope at some point that things will get back to normal. Also this month I will be talking about the different aspects of cherry blossom photography on my podcast.

The post Spring Blossoms in Korea 2021 appeared first on The Sajin.

Grading your Korean #2 – Using advanced grammar | Billy Go

This is the second episode of my new series where I grade subscribers on their Korean abilities.

Today I'm grading Ryan and Kenji. Who should I grade next? There's info about how to send in your video in the video description.

The post Grading your Korean #2 – Using advanced grammar | Billy Go appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Wibongsa Temple – 위봉사 (Wanju, Jeollabuk-do)

A Look Through the Cheonwangmun Gate Towards the Iljumun Gate at Wibongsa Temple in Wanju, Jeollabuk-do.

This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Temple History and Myth

Wibongsa Temple is located on the south-eastern slopes of Mt. Wibongsan (557.8 m) in Wanju, Jeollabuk-do. There are a couple theories as to when, and by whom, the temple was first established. One theory states that Wibongsa Temple was first constructed in 604 A.D. by the monk Seoam-daesa during the reign of King Mu of Baekje (r. 600-641 A.D.). According to another source, Wibongsa Temple was created at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) by a man named Choi Yong-gak. According to this source, Choi Yong-gak was riding a horse one day, when he looked south. The land to the south looked like three phoenixes were wrapped around it.

Later, near the end of the Goryeo Dynasty, the famed monk Naong-hwasang (1320-1376) stayed at Wibongsa temple to rebuild and enlarge the temple grounds in 1358. Then in 1466, Wibongsa Temple was repaired by the monk Seokjam-daesa. In 1868, Wibongsa Temple was greatly expanded by the monk Poryeon-seonsa.

More recently, Wibongsa Temple has undergone extensive repair and rebuilding. In 1990, the Samseong-gak Hall was repaired. And in 1991, the Nahan-jeon Hall and the Iljumun Gate were built. Then in 1994, the Geukrak-jeon Hall, and the Amita-bul statue housed inside it, were constructed. Finally, in 2000, the Beomjong-gak (Bell Pavilion) was built, as well.

Wibongsa Temple is home to one Korean Treasure. The Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall is Korean Treasure #608.

Temple Layout

You first approach the temple grounds through the elevated Iljumun Gate. This top-heavy entry gate is the first among three at Wibongsa Temple. The Iljumun Gate at Wibongsa Temple is a beautiful example of Korean Buddhist entry gate architecture. The next gate you’ll pass through, which is just a few metres away, is the Cheonwangmun Gate. Housed inside this second entry gate are four somewhat stunned-looking statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. Next up, and just another few metres away, is the third temple entry gate at Wibongsa Temple: the Boje-ru Pavilion. Passing under the first floor of this rather long pavilion, you’ll gain admittance to the main temple courtyard at Wibongsa Temple.

To your immediate right, as you enter the main temple courtyard, is the rather large Beomjong-gak (Bell Pavilion). Also in this part of the temple grounds are the nuns dorms. And situated in the centre of the temple grounds is a large, mature twisted red pine.

Behind the mature red pine is the temple’s main hall, the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall, which is Korean Treasure #608. The Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall houses a triad of statues on the main altar. The central image is Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall is believed to have first been constructed during the mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) around the 17th century. Behind the main altar is a large all-white image of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). There are several older paintings spread throughout the interior of various Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) playing musical instruments. And above the entry to the main hall hangs a large wooden nameplate that dates back to 1828.

To the right of the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall is the Nahan-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this shrine hall are adorned with images of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). And housed inside the Nahan-jeon Hall, and resting on the main altar, is a statue dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This central image is then joined on either side by sixteen large wooden statues of the Nahan. And to the right of the Nahan-jeon Hall is the rather large Geukrak-jeon Hall.

To the left of the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall is the Yosa-jeon Hall and the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. It’s kinda a two for one deal with this I-shaped building. There are two lecture halls book-ending the central hall which is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.

And to the left rear of the temple grounds is the Samseong-gak Hall at Wibongsa Temple. The colourful interior is complimented by the three shaman murals that hang inside this shrine hall. Of these three murals, look at the golden eyes of the tiger in the Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural, the age of the Chilseong (Seven Stars) mural, and the thought bubble-like space to the left of Dokseong’s (The Lonely Saint) head with a pair of birds flying around in this space. And still in the upper courtyard to the rear of the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall is the Wibong Seonwon for nuns to meditate in at the temple.

How To Get There

To get to Wibongsa Temple in Wanju, Jeollabuk-do, you’ll first need to go to neighbouring Jeonju. From the city of Jeonju, take local Bus #806 and get off at Wibong Village. From there, you can either walk or take a taxi (if you can locate one).

Or you can take Bus #814 or Bus #838 from Jeonju that let’s you off near the neighbouring Songgwangsa Temple. From this temple, you can either walk the distance (about six kilometres) or take a taxi (again, if you can locate one).

Overall Rating: 7/10

While beautifully situated under the mountainous peak of Mt. Wibongsan, Wibongsa Temple’s main highlight is the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall. With its beautiful main altar statues, the murals that decorate its interior, as well as the large all-white incarnation of Gwanseeum-bosal that adorns the reverse side of the main altar wall, it’s no wonder the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall is the main highlight to Wibongsa Temple. Additionally, the three entry gates and the shaman murals housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall are something to keep an eye out for while at this temple.

The beautiful Iljumun Gate at the entry of Wibongsa Temple.
A look through the Iljumun Gate towards the Cheonwangmun Gate.
Damun Cheonwang, one of the four Heavenly Kings, inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.
A look towards the Boje-ru Pavilion, which is the third entry gate at Wibongsa Temple.
The Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall, which is also Korean Treasure #608.
A look inside the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall at the main altar.
The all-white incarnation of Gwanseeum-bosal that adorns the backside of the main altar wall.
One of the Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) that adorns the interior of the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall.
A look up at the Bogwangmyeong-jeon Hall from the Nahan-jeon Hall.
Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural inside the Samseong-gak Hall.
Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) who also takes up residence inside the Samseong-gak Hall at Wibongsa Temple.


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