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"To seem" ~아/어/etc. 하다 | Live Class Abridged

Most Sundays I offer free live Korean classes on my YouTube channel. Last Sunday's class was about the grammar form 아/어/etc. 하다. This grammar form is used to mean "to seem" or "to feel," and has several important uses when talking about the 3rd person.

The post "To seem" ~아/어/etc. 하다 | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Korean Conjugation – How to Use Verbs & Adjectives

In this lesson, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Korean conjugation.

We’ll explain what Korean conjugation is, how to use it, and when to use it.

Let’s go over some common Korean conjugations – and rules related to them – so that you can get kickstarted on creating your own, conjugated sentences!

A boy standing while reading a book

What is Korean conjugation?

Korean conjugations in Korean grammar determine the meaning, tense, tone, and mood of sentences. It’s important to learn conjugation as you progress in learning Korean.

For example, let’s say you’re going to use the verb “go” in a sentence. The base form is in Korean is:

Base Form: 가다 (gada) – to go

However, you need to change it to the present tense.

Conjugated verb: 저는 가요 (I go)

We’ve added 저는 (“I”) as the subject, and then conjugated 가다 (to go).

However, unlike in any other language, Korean grammar takes conjugation to another level. Korean conjugation isn’t limited to verbs. Other parts of speech such as adjectives can be conjugated.

Are Korean conjugation rules different for verbs and adjectives?

Most of the conjugation rules for Korean verbs also apply to adjectives. Once you learn the Korean verb conjugation rules, it’ll be easy to conjugate adjectives.

How many conjugations are there in Korean?

There are 40 basic verb endings but there are over 400 verb endings when all are combined. They are made up of the different Korean grammar categories such as the different tenses (past tense, present tense, and future tense), honorifics, and voices to name a few.

How do you conjugate verbs in Korean?

Korean verb conjugation is pretty easy to do. All you need to do is to drop the 다 verb endings from the verb stem and then add the appropriate verb endings. The correct verb endings to be used when conjugating verbs are determined by the final vowel after dropping the 다 verb endings from the verb stem.

We’ll get more into the details of conjugations in Korean in awhile.

What’s the common Korean verb conjugation?

The common Korean verb conjugation is the use of 아요 and 어요 which gives the Korean verb its polite and present tense form.

Let’s use the verbs 자다 and 먹다 as an example. These 2 verbs are both in their verb stem form.

As mentioned earlier, conjugations of verbs in Korean happens by dropping the 다 verb endings from the verb stem.

For the verbs 자다 and 먹다, we’ll need to drop the 다 verb endings which will make them:



If the final vowel after dropping 다 is either ㅏ or ㅗ, you’ll use 아요. But if the final vowel after dropping 다 is ㅓ, ㅣ, or ㅜ, you’ll use 어요. So for the 2 example verbs above, they’ll become



A group of people dining together in one table

How important is it to learn Korean Conjugation?

When learning the Korean language particularly the Korean grammar, Korean conjugation is very important to learn. As mentioned earlier, it sets the tense, tone, and meaning of your sentences which are basically all essential elements you’ll need when communicating.

Koreans give emphasis to politeness in everything including their language. Korean conjugation will help you show your respect and politeness towards a person.

Once you get familiar with the different conjugations, it’ll be easy for you to convey and appear to be respectful and polite.

Which part of the verb do you conjugate?

Before learning which part of the Korean verb we need to conjugate, we need to take note that each Korean verb, adverb, and adjective consist of two pieces: a stem and an ending. The first part is the stem and 다 is the ending. These are usually their dictionary form.

When you conjugate any word, you will drop the 다 and replace it with the conjugation. Whenever you conjugate a verb, you only need to think of your tense and tone. The conjugation doesn’t change for the first person, second person, multiple people, etc.

Let’s take a quick look at some common Korean verbs in their basic form or dictionary form!

말하 (malhada)

to speak

만나 mannada)

to meet

가르치다 (gareuchida)

to teach

These verbs are made up of a verb stem and a 다 ending.

How to make the conjugation form of the verbs?

In addition to what we already know about Korean conjugation, there are many conjugations that come together with a small puzzle piece that connects the stem to the conjugation in the most natural way. Let’s look at some simple examples of this.

말하다 + -아/어 → 말해요

만나다 + -아/어 → 만나요

닫다 + -아/어 → 닫아요

가르치다 + -아/어 → 가르쳐요

As you can see, the puzzle piece slightly changes the verb stem it joins. Most of the time the verbs play nice with them, so the rules are easy to learn.

How do I combine the verb stem and a conjugation?

Simply, when 아 meets 아, it drops out. And when 아 meets 오, they connect together into one syllable; for example, 보 becomes 봐. When the verb stem ends in a consonant after 아 or 오, 아 becomes its own syllable.

For all other verb stems, you connect them with 어. When the verb stem ends with 이 the 이 + 어 combination cooks up 여. Only the verb 하다 is different and turns into 해.

Some conjugations also require the puzzle piece 으 connected to stems ending with a consonant. (으)면, which we will introduce below, is one such conjugation. We’ll go over how to conjugate irregular verbs at a later time.

Girls and boys doing activities, walking, jumping, having fun.


Common Korean conjugations

In this part of the lesson, we’ll be showing the different conjugations for 2 of the commonly used Korean verb 보다 and 만들다.

보다 and 만들다 are the dictionary form of the verbs “to watch or to see” and “to make”. They both are made up of a verb stem and a 다 ending.

Let’s go over how to conjugate these common Korean verbs so that you can immediately see how all this works!

Conjugating 보다 (boda) “to watch/see”

Below is a table with the different conjugations for the verb 보다 (boda) following the different tenses (Past Tense, Present Tense, and Future) and tones.

bwaI seeInformal
봐요bwayoI see (Present Tense)Polite/Neutral
봅니다bomnidaI seeFormal
봤어bwasseoI sawInformal
봤어요bwasseoyoI saw (Past Tense)Polite/Neutral
봤습니다bwasseumnidaI sawFormal
볼 거야 bol geoyaWill seeInformal
볼 거예요bol goyeyoWill see (Future Tense)Polite/Neutral
볼 겁니다bol geomnnidaWill seeFormal

The verb 보다 (boda) can also take other forms of conjugation. Let’s take a look at the table below to get familiar with them.

Korean RomanizationEnglishTone
봐라bwaraSee!Informal Command
보세요boseyoSee!Polite Command
보십시오bosibsioSee!Formal Command
보자bojaLet's see Informal/Neutral
봅시다bopsidaLet's see Polite/Formal
보고 bogoI see, and
보면bomyeonWhen/if I see
볼 수 있어bol su isseoCan seeInformal
볼 수 있어요bol su isseoyoCan seeNeutral/Polite
볼 수 있습니다bol su isseumnidaCan seeFormal
볼 수 없어bol su eopseoCannot seeInformal
볼 수 없어요bol su eopseoyoCannot seeNeutral/Polite
볼 수 없습니다bol su eopseumnidaCannot seeFormal
봐야 해bwaya haeMust seeInformal
봐야 해요bwaya haeyoMust seeNeutral/Polite
봐야 합니다bwaya hamnidaMust seeformal
보고 싶어bogo sipeoWant to seeInformal
보고 싶어요bogo sipeoyoWant to seeNeutral/Polite
보고 싶습니다bogo sipseumnidaWant to seeFormal
보고 싶지 않아bogo sipji anaDon't want to see Informal
보고 싶지 않아요bogo sipji anayoDon't want to see Neutral/Polite
보지 않아boji anaNot see Informal
보지 않아요boji anayoNot seeNeutral/Polite
보지 않습니다boji anseumnidaNot seeFormal
보고 있어bogo isseoAm/are/is seeing Informal
보고 있어요bogo isseoyoAm/are/is seeing Neutral/Polite
보고 있습니다bogo isseumnidaAm/are/is seeing Formal
볼까bolkkaShall we see?Informal
볼까요bolkkayoShall we see?Neutral/Polite
봤더라bwatdeoraSaw itInformal Fact Declaration
봤던데요bwatdeondeyoSaw itNeutral/Polite Fact Declaration

Conjugating 만들다 (mandeulda) “to make”

Below is a table with the different conjugations for the verb 만들다 (mandeulda) following the different tenses (Past Tense, Present Tense, and Future) and tones.

만들어mandeureoI makeInformal
만들어요mandeureoyoI make (Present Tense)Polite/Neutral
만듭니다mandeumnidaI makeFormal
만들었어mandeureosseoI madeInformal
만들었어요mandeureosseoyoI made (Past Tense)Polite/Neutral
만들었습니다mandeureosseumnidaI madeFormal
만들 거야mandeul geoyaWill makeInformal
만들 거예요mandeul goyeyoWill make (Future Tense)Polite/Neutral
만들 겁니다mandeul geomnnidaWill makeFormal

The verb 만들다 (mandeulda) can also take other forms of conjugation. Let’s take a look at the table below to get familiar with them.

만들어라mandeureoraMake!Informal Command
만드세요mandeuseyoMake!polite command
만드십시오mandeusibsioMake!formal command
만들자mandeuljaLet's make Informal/Neutral
만듭시다mandeupsidaLet's make Polite/Formal
만들고mandeulgo I make, and
만들면mandeulmyeonWhen/if I make
만들 수 있어mandeul su isseoCan makeInformal
만들 수 있어요mandeul su isseoyoCan makeNeutral/Polite
만들 수 있습니다mandeul su isseumnidaCan makeFormal
만들 수 없어mandeul su eopseoCannot makeInformal
만들 수 없어요mandeul su eopseoyoCannot makeNeutral/Polite
만들 수 없습니다mandeul su eopseumnidaCannot makeFormal
만들어야 해mandeureoya haeMust makeInformal
만들어야 해요mandeureoya haeyoMust makeNeutral/Polite
만들어야 합니다mandeureoya hamnidaMust makeFormal
만들고 싶어 mandeulgo sipeoWant to make Informal
만들고 싶어요 mandeulgo sipeoyoWant to make Neutral/Polite
만들고 싶습니다 mandeulgo sipseumnidaWant to make Formal
만들고 싶지 않아mandeulgo sipji anaDon't want to make Informal
만들고 싶지 않아요mandeulgo sipji anayoDon't want to make Neutral/Polite
만들지 않아mandeulji anaNot makeInformal
만들지 않아요mandeulji anayoNot make Neutral/Polite
만들지 않습니다mandeulji anseumnidaNot make Formal
만들고 있어mandeulgo isseoAm/are/is making Informal
만들고 있어요mandeulgo isseoyoAm/are/is making Neutral/Polite
만들고 있습니다mandeulgo isseumnidaAm/are/is making Formal
만들까mandeulkkaShall we make? Informal
만들까요mandeulkkayoShall we make? Neutral/Polite
만들었더라 mandeureotdeoraMade itInformal Fact Declaration
만들었던데요mandeureotdeondeyoMade itNeutral/Polite Fact Declaration

Success! You are now ready to start putting Korean conjugations to use in your Korean studies.

There are a lot of useful conjugations in here, so make sure you refer to this list often. In addition to these conjugations, there are many more you’ll later get to learn. You can also learn about Korean particles and how they fit into Korean grammar in general.

What Korean conjugation do you think is most useful? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Korean Conjugation – How to Use Verbs & Adjectives appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Janggoksa Temple – 장곡사 (Cheongyang, Chungcheongnam-do)

The Upper Daeung-jeon Hall at Janggoksa Temple in Cheongyang, Chungcheongnam-do.

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Temple History

Janggoksa Temple, which means “Guardian Valley Temple” in English, is located on the western slopes of Mt. Chilgapsan (559.7) in Cheongyang, Chungcheongnam-do. Located in a valley, Janggoksa Temple was first established in 850 A.D. by Seon Master Chejing (804-880 A.D.).

It should be noted that Seon Master Chejing, who was posthumously awarded the title of Master Bojo, established Borimsa Temple in Jangheung, Jeollanam-do. Borimsa Temple was established in 860 A.D. ten years after the establishment of Janggoksa Temple. Borimsa Temple was made at the request of King Heonan of Silla (r. 857-861 A.D.). Borimsa Temple was one of the Gusan Seonmun, or “Nine Mountain Zen Gates” in English. According to legend, and one year after the passing of the monk Doui (?-825 A.D.) in 826 A.D., Doui’s disciples gathered. At this meeting, his disciples decided to proclaim their unity and form the Gusan Seonmun for their school of Buddhism. Eight of these nine sects were from the Great Chan Master Mazu Daoyi (709-788 A.D.) lineage. The Gajisan Sect was established by Chejing. For more on the Gusan Seonmun, check out David Mason’s website.

So before Borimsa Temple was established in 860 A.D., Janggoksa Temple was established probably as a remote meditation centre for the practice of Seon Buddhism which was growing in popularity at this time. Janggoksa Temple would grow to be a medium sized temple, and it would undergo several repairs throughout the years of its existence. However, most of the temple’s history is largely unknown except the large number of relics that remain at Janggoksa Temple from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), which would indicate that the temple flourished at this time.

The first of the known repairs took place in 1777, which was followed in 1866, 1906. Additional repairs took place at Janggoksa Temple in 1960 after the temple was partially damaged during the Korean War (1950-1953). The temple was further expanded in the 1990’s with a newly constructed Samseong-gak Hall at Janggoksa Temple. Uniquely, Janggoksa Temple is home to two Daeung-jeon Halls: the Lower and Upper Daeung-jeon Halls.

In total, Janggoksa Temple is home to two National Treasures: The Iron Seated Bhaisajyaguru Buddha and Stone Pedestal of Janggoksa Temple (N.T. #58) and the Hanging Painting of Janggoksa Temple – Maitreya Buddha (N.T. #300). There are four additional Korean Treasures that can be found at Janggoksa Temple like the Upper Daeung-jeon Hall and the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall.

Temple Layout

The first structure that greets you at Janggoksa Temple is the temple’s stately Iljumun Gate. Continuing up the country road for an additional four hundred metres, you’ll finally come to the front façade of Janggoksa Temple. You’ll need to pass under the Unhak-ru Pavilion to gain admittance to the main temple courtyard at Janggoksa Temple. Having mounted the uneven set of stairs that runs through the Unhak-ru Pavilion, you’ll notice the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) to your immediate left. The Jong-ru is filled with the four traditional Buddhist percussion instruments. But back at the Unhak-ru Pavilion, and situated on the second floor of the open pavilion, is a replica of the Hanging Painting of Janggoksa Temple (Maitreya Buddha). The original Gwaebul is National Treasure #300. The original Gwaebul was painted in 1673 by five monks for the long life of King Hyeongjong of Joseon (r. 1659-1674), his Queen, and the prince. The National Treasure stands an astounding 8.609 metres in height and 5.99 metres in width. The central image in the Gwaebul is Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). This central image is joined by six Buddhas and six Bodhisattvas. Mireuk-bul has a crown that’s adorned with the image of four Buddhas. Also, and rather interestingly, the overall aesthetic of the mural looks similar to a Vulture Peak mural.

Across the lower temple courtyard from the Unhak-ru Pavilion is the Ha Daeung-jeon Hall (Lower Daeung-jeon Hall). The Lower Daeung-jeon Hall was first constructed during the mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), and it’s Korean Treasure #181. The exterior walls to this historic main hall are adorned with simplified dancheong colours. Stepping inside the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll uniquely notice that Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha), who is traditionally housed inside a Daeung-jeon Hall, is replaced by the image of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). This statue of Yaksayeorae-bul that sits all alone on the main altar is officially known as the Gilt-bronze Seated Bhaisajyaguru Buddha of Janggoksa Temple. This gilt-bronze statue was first created in 1436, and it’s Korean Treasure #337. Yaksayeorae-bul holds a medicine case in his left hand while making a mudra (ritualized hand gesture) with his right hand. Joining the main altar statue inside the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall are a collection of three murals. To the left hangs a modern mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). And to the right hangs two additional murals. The first is a Vulture Peak mural, while the other is a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

To the right of the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall stands Janggoksa Temple’s Myeongbu-jeon Hall. This hall is dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) who appears on the main altar with a golden cap and green hair. The Myeongbu-jeon Hall is joined to the left of the Ha Daeung-jeon Hall by the Seolseon-dang Hall. Like the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall, the Seolseon-dang Hall is believed to date back to the mid-Joseon Dynasty. It was originally built as a meditation and lecture hall. It’s Korean Tangible Cultural Property #151. The exterior is unadorned, and it’s off-limits to visitors.

Climbing another set of stairs that will lead you up towards the upper courtyard at Janggoksa Temple, you’ll find three additional shrine halls. The first of these shrine halls is the Sang Daeung-jeon Hall (Upper Daeung-jeon Hall), which is the second main hall at Janggoksa Temple. The Upper Daeung-jeon Hall was first built during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), and it’s Korean Treasure #162. The interior flooring of the Upper Daeung-jeon Hall is made of bricks, some of which have an eight petal lotus pattern on them. These seem to date back to Later Silla (668-935 A.D.). The central image inside the second main hall is the Iron Seated Vairocana Buddha and Stone Pedestal of Janggoksa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #174. Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) appears to have a small triangular face with long eyebrows and small eyes. The stone base that Birojana-bul sits upon was originally designed for a seokdeung (stone lantern), so the statue doesn’t quite seem to match its base. The statue of Birojana-bul is believed to date back to the mid-9th century. Rather strangely, this statue, and the accompanying main altar statues inside the Upper Daeung-jeon, were absent during my early morning visit; instead, just a cloth hat appeared on the pedestal instead of the historic statue.

Also conspicuously absent in the Upper Daeung-jeon Hall was the Iron Seated Bhaisajyaguru Buddha and Stone Pedestal of Janggoksa Temple, which is National Treasure #58. Like the statue of Birojana-bul that rests in the centre of the three statues inside the Upper Daeung-jeon Hall, all that remained of the iron statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) was its stone pedestal and a cloth formed into a hat. The National Treasure dates back to the early 10th century. The stone pedestal is wide with holes on all four corners of it, indicating that it was once protected by a canopy. As for the statue itself, it has its right hand pointing to the ground, while the left rests on its lap. Originally, the iron statue of Yaksayeorae-bul had a medicine jar in its left hand, but it’s now missing.

The shrine hall next to the Upper Daeung-jeon Hall is the temple’s Eungjin-jeon Hall. A solitary statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) sits on the main altar on a large red silk pillow. Seokgamoni-bul is joined by a hundred Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) statues. It’s also from the upper courtyard that you get a beautiful view of the valley where Janggoksa Temple is located, as well as the lower courtyard.

The last temple shrine hall that visitors can explore at Janggoksa Temple is the crowning Samseong-gak Hall which is situated at the highest point of the temple grounds. Up a side-winding pathway, you’ll be led up to the shaman shrine hall. Housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall are three murals dedicated to the most popular shaman deities at a Korean Buddhist temple. They are Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Of the three, it’s the Santa-esque mural dedicated to Sanshin that stands out the most for its artistic originality.

How To Get There

From the Cheongyang Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch a taxi to Janggoksa Temple. It’ll cost around 17,000 won and take about 25 minutes.

Overall Rating: 8/10

It’s rare for a Korean Buddhist temple to house a single National Treasure, let along two. But not only does Janggoksa Temple house two national Treasures, it’s also home to two Daeung-jeon main halls, as well as four additional Korean Treasures. Janggoksa Temple is packed with originality and beauty; and while it’s lesser known among the major temples in Korea, it’s definitely worth a visit.

The Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) at the entry of the lower temple courtyard.
Passing under the Unhak-ru Pavilion as you enter the lower temple courtyard with the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall straight ahead. The Lower Daeung-jeon Hall is Korean Treasure #181.
The Gwaebul replica that’s housed inside the Unhak-ru Pavilion. The original is National Treasure #300.
A look inside the Lower Daeung-jeon Hall. The main altar statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha) is Korean Treasure #337.
The main altar inside the neighbouring Myeongbu-jeon Hall.
The view from the upper courtyard.
The Upper Daeung-jeon Hall (left), which is Korean Treasure #162. To the right is Janggoksa Temple’s Eungjin-jeon Hall.
A look inside at the Upper Daeung-jeon Hall. All three altar statues are absent including National Treasure #58 (far right pedestal) and Korean Treasure #174 (central pedestal).
A look inside the neighbouring Eungjin-jeon Hall.
The wandering path that leads up to the Samseong-gak Hall.
And the Santa-esque painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).

Gwimyeon – The Monster Mask: 귀면

A Gwimyeon Adorning the Daeung-jeon Hall at Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan.

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!


If you look close enough at temple paintings, you’ll probably notice a menacingly grotesque face staring back at you. To the uninitiated eye these faces appear to be nothing more than ornamental. However, these paintings do in fact have a meaning. So what are their meaning? What do they look like? And why are they are adorning Korean Buddhist temples?

Another Gwimyeon from Samgwangsa Temple at the base of the famed Daebo nine-story pagoda.

Gwimyeon Design

The name of these ornamental designs that take up residence in and around temple shrine halls are known as Gwimyeon, or “Monster Masks” in English. These ornamental Monster Masks have noses with flaring nostrils. They can also have whiskers, horns, and sharp teeth. They have a broad, menacing grin, which invites you to look at them. Another name for a Gwimyeon is Nathwi. Nathwi is a compound word. “Nat” means “face” in English, while “Hwi” is a Chinese character that means “multi-coloured” in English.

There are two types of Gwimyeon. The first type holds nothing in its mouth, while the second can hold a variety of things in its mouth. Such objects are traditionally lotus vines, a lotus bud, or some sort of foliage. This helps to differentiate it from a dragon which traditionally holds a Cintamani (Wisdom Pearl) in its mouth. Of the two types of Gwimyeon, it’s more common to find one that has something in its mouth.

Also, if you look closely at the Gwimyeon image, you’ll notice that they are often times staring in different directions. If a Gwimyeon is by themselves, they will usually stare straight ahead; however, if they are in a group of two or more, they usually stare in different directions. The diversity of their gazes allow them to protect more space at the temple. And sometimes, if a Gwimyeon is by themselves, they will be cross-eyed. Like the group of Gwimyeon, this is done to help create two lines of vision instead of one, which doubles the amount of evil spirits that might be attempting to infiltrated the inner sanctum of the temple grounds.

A pair of Gwimyeon that adorn the front doors of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Gwimyeon History

The origins of Gwimyeon date back to India. Specifically, you can find this type of ornamental designs in Hindu temple architecture in India. The specific Gwimyeon iconography comes from the image of Kirtimukha. Kirtimukha is a Sanskrit compound word meaning “Fame Glory Face” in English: “Mukha” meaning “face,” while “Kirti” means “fame glory.” Traditionally in South Indian architecture, they are placed at the highest point or entry of a temple to create awe through their intimidatingly awe-inspiring appearance.

As a Kirtimukha, they appear as having a fierce monster face with large fangs and a wide-open mouth. The Kirtimukha, and the Gwimyeon for that matter, are often confused with a lion, or even a dragon. However, what differentiates Kirtimukha and Gwimyeon from lions and dragons is that Kirtimukha and Gwimyeon are eating or swallowing something in their mouths.

A frightful older Gwimyeon painting found inside the Bukgeuk-jeon Hall at Anyangam Hermitage on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

As for where they first can be found, Kirtimukha originate in a legend from the Skanda Purana (is the largest Mahāpurāṇa, a genre of 18 Hindu religious texts) and Shiva Purana (one of the eighteen major Purānas texts). The story of Kirtimukha starts with King Jalandhara. Through King Jalandhara’s extraordinary religious austerity, the king accumulated extraordinary powers. One day, through a prideful burst of anger, Kirtimukha sent forth his messenger, the monster Rahu, who represents materialism, mischief, fear, dissatisfaction, obsession and confusion. It was Rahu’s task to eclipse the moon. By doing this task, it would challenge Shiva. Shiva’s immediate response was to explode in a tremendous burst of power from his third eye. This created a ravenous demon lion onto the world. Terrified, Rahu begged for the mercy of Shiva. Benevolently, Shiva agreed. However, Shiva still had a famished demon lion to feed. To help solve this problem, Shiva suggested that Kirtimukha should feed upon the flesh of its own feet and hands. To help pacify and placate both Shiva and the demon lion, Kirtimukha ate his own body starting with its tail and stopping with only its face remaining. Shiva was pleased with this sacrificial gesture, so he named the messenger Kirtimukha (Fame Glory Face). Shiva also declared that Kirtimukha should always have its image placed at the entry of a temple as a symbol of sacrifice and devotion, as well as the very symbol of Shiva himself.

Through Buddhist and Korean influences, the Kirtimukha became more grotesque and colourful in appearance. Like the Kirtimukha, a Gwimyeon is meant to protect a temple from malevolent spirits. That’s why you’ll typically find Gwimyeon adorning the entryway to temple shrine halls or one of the five temple entry gates like the Iljumun Gate or the Cheonwangmun Gate.

A colourful Gwimyeon that adorns the front entryway to the Daeung-jeon Hall at Pyochungsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Gwimyeon Examples

You can find great examples of Gwimyeon throughout most Korean Buddhist temples. Some personal favourites of mine can be found at Geumsuam Hermitage and Anyangam Hermitage on the Tongdosa Temple grounds. Other great examples can be found on the Daeung-jeon Hall at Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. A couple other great spots to see dazzling Gwimyeon are on the Daeung-jeon Hall at Pyochungsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do and above the Cheongun-gyo Bridge (Blue Cloud Bridge) at Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju.


So the next time you’re at a Korean Buddhist temple, especially around the temple entry and the temple shrine hall entryways, have a look for the colourful Gwimyeon that adorn these parts of the temple grounds. They’re typically masterfully executed with vibrant colours. Just try not to be too surprised or scared when you see them looking back at you!

Above the entryway to the Cheongun-gyo Bridge (Blue Cloud Bridge) at Bulguksa Temple.
A Gwimyeon that adorns the Iljumun Gate at Geumsuam Hermitage on the Tongdosa Temple grounds in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

어릴 때 vs 어렸을 때 | Korean FAQ

Both 어릴 때 and 어렸을 때 are correct, but have different meanings. In fact, both of these can actually mean "When (I) was young."

However, there are situations where one of these can be used and the other can't.

Let's learn exactly what these phrases mean, as well as a bit more about the word 때 ("time").

The post 어릴 때 vs 어렸을 때 | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #94: Two Things at Once Part 1

This will be a two part episode. This part we'll learn about the most basic way to say "WHILE" in Korean.

This course will have 100 episodes, and we're already at episode 94! There are only a few more episodes left in this series.

Remember that this course goes in order from the beginning, so I recommend moving through it in order so you don't miss anything important.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #94: Two Things at Once Part 1 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Mitaam Hermitage – 미타암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

The 8th Century Statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) at Mitaam Hermitage in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-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!

Hermitage History and Myths

Mitaam Hermitage is located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Cheonseongsan (922 m) in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The hermitage is named after Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). Mitaam Hermitage was first established by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). In addition to Mitaam Hermitage, Wonhyo-daesa built eighty-nine other temples and hermitages on Mt. Cheonseongsan (One Thousand Saints Mountain) which includes Hongryongsa Temple.

The hermitage was later expanded in 921 A.D. by the monk Jijong. It was expanded again in 1238 A.D. by the monk Jungjin. Mitaam Hermitage, and more specifically, the 8th century stone standing statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) and its grotto are immortalized in the pages of the 13th century text Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms). It’s stated in the Samguk Yusa that five monks at Mitaam Hermitage were disciplining their minds in meditation, when they ascended to the Western Paradise.

More recently, Mitaam Hermitage underwent a renovation in 1888. It should also be noted that Mitaam Hermitage falls under the administrative control of the neighbouring Tongdosa Temple, which is the 15th Headquarters of the Jogye-jong Order.

Mitaam Hermitage is also referred to as the “Third Seokguram” for the naturally occurring grotto that’s located on the hermitage grounds. The Stone Standing Amitabha Buddha at Mitaam Hermitage that’s located inside the grotto is Korean Treasure #998.

Here’s a little more about Wonhyo-daesa and his connection to Mt. Cheonseongsan. The text below can be found throughout the Naewonsa Temple valley, and it’s been translated by Andrew Douch on his website. If you haven’t been to his website Korean Trails, I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy hiking in Korea.

In 673 Wonhyo began meditating in Seon Buddhism and eventually ended up going to mainland China. There was a time during his visit when 1000 people from the temple Taehwa-sa in Tang China were in danger of being buried under a mountain of mud after torrential rains. Upon realising this, Wonhyo threw out a wooden board, the people saw this strange board hanging in the air and thinking it mysterious, ran into the prayer hall, immediately upon which the mountain collapsed behind them. On the board thrown by Wonhyo had been the words, “Throwing the board, Wonhyo saves the people.”

Because of this the 1000 sought out Wonhyo and became his disciples. Wonhyo began searching for a place for all these people to stay and upon reaching the spot where this Sanshin-gak now stands, disappeared. Wonhyo built 89 small temples in the area around Naewon-sa in which his 1000 disciples were to stay. Furthermore a large drum was placed in the area in front of Cheonseong-san which would announce the beginning of sermon to the disciples on the mountain, where he would lecture the Avatamaka Sutra. The place where he taught the sutra was called the field of Avatamaka (hwa-eom-beol) while the place where the drum was sounded was called Jipbukpong (grasp and strike drum).

Furthermore because these disciples who climbed the mountain would get entangled in arrowroot vines and trip, Wonhyo called on the mountain spirits to clear the mountain of these vines. It is said to this day Cheonseong-san has no arrowroot vines. Later it is said that the 1000 disciples who studied under Wonhyo became sages, this is why the mountain has the name.

As Andrew notes in his post, there are a few issues with the Naewonsa Temple valley text. First, Wonhyo-daesa never traveled to Tang China (618-907 A.D.); instead, he returned to Silla after attaining enlightenment while attempting to travel to further his Buddhist education in Tang China. Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.), his friend and travel companion, did in fact continue on to Tang China. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that Wonhyo-daesa would then have one thousand disciples from Tang China following him around the mountains of Yangsan. And another point that needs to be made is that Seon Buddhism wasn’t firmly established on the Korean peninsula until the late-8th and early 9th century with the founding of the Gusan Seonmun, or “Nine Mountain Meditation Gates” in English. However, it should be noted that Seon Buddhism did enter the Korean peninsula through Master Beomnang (632-642 A.D.). Beomnang was a student of Daoxin (580-651 A.D.), who is considered the Fourth Chan Patriarch. However, Beomnang’s efforts largely failed probably due to a lack of royal support. But while it took two additional centuries to take root in Korea, it would seem as though Seon Buddhism did in fact have some influence on Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.), according to scholar David Mason.

Either way, whether all or just part of the myth is true about Wonhyo-daesa and Mt. Cheonseongsan, it would appear that the famous monk did in fact play some part in the transmission of Buddhism from his home in Yangsan.

Again, if you haven’t already checked out Andrew Douch’s or David Mason’s sites, you really should!

Hermitage Layout

You’ll first make your way up to Mitaam Hermitage up a long, wandering, and very steep road, until you eventually come to a trailhead that leads you up to the hermitage grounds. The views from the trail, which is about five hundred metres in length, are gorgeous with the mountain peaks above and the neighbouring valley below. Finally, when you do arrive at the rocky ledge where Mitaam Hermitage is located, you’ll first be greeted by a gift shop to your immediate right and a coffee stand to your left. Passing by both of these commercial establishments, and the row of compact monks dorms and the visitors centre, you’ll see the stunning Daeungbo-jeon Hall.

The exterior walls to the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, rather uniquely, are adorned with simple paintings dedicated to the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). The latticework on the front door’s are beautifully adorned with wooden floral patterns. And at the base of these front doors are the descriptively designed Gwimyeon (Monster Masks).

Stepping inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, you’ll first notice the large red canopies hanging over the top of the well-populated main altar. In total, there are seven statues that take up residence along the main altar. The central three images are Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) in the middle. This statue is then flanked on either side by Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). To the left of this central triad are two Bodhisattvas. The first is Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul), who is joined to the left by a black haired image of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). To the right of the central triad is an ornate statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This statue is then joined to the right by an older, simpler statue of Seokgamoni-bul. All of these statues are joined by flying Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) and dragons up near the beautiful red canopies.

The most intriguing aspect of the artwork housed inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall is the large mural that hangs in the far right corner near the second Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) statue. In this mural, you can see Wonhyo-daesa standing in the middle of a elevated rocky perch. He’s surrounded by what looks to be one thousand of his followers for which Mt. Cheonseongsan gets its name. Joining the one thousand followers are Buddhist monks, aristocracy, and potentially Queen Seondeok of Silla (r. 632-647) making an offering to Wonhyo-daesa in the bottom left corner, and potentially Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) to the right of Wonhyo-daesa. Dokseong appears to be holding a stick with a sutra attached by a rope. He has long, white eyebrows and a leafy garment covering his body. (Thanks to David Mason for his input, as always).

Further up the trail to the right, and past the hermitage’s kitchen, you’ll come to the hermitage’s compact Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). Along this path, you’ll be headed towards an indoor pavilion that houses both the entrance to the Samseong-gak Hall, as well as the entrance to the Gulbeop-dang Hall, which houses the Stone Standing Amitabha Buddha at Mitaam Hermitage (T #998). Housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall to the right are three newer murals dedicated to three of the most popular shaman deities that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple: Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).

To the left, in a three metre wide opening to the cave, stands the 8th century statue dedicated to Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). There are new granite arches that have been installed at the naturally occurring cave entry. And the historic statue rests on top of a granite stand that has cloud designs etched onto it. The image of Amita-bul appears with a large ushnisha on top of its head. It also has long ears that fall to the top of Amita-bul’s shoulders. The left hand is attached to its body, while the right hand is placed near the centre of the statue’s chest, and it has a straight upright posture. The statue at Mitaam Hermitage follows a similar style of the more famous Stone Standing Amitabha Buddha of Gamsansa Temple, which is National Treasure #82. The Gamsansa Temple dates back to 719 A.D.

How To Get There

There are two ways that you can get to Mitaam Hermitage. The first is that you can catch Bus #2000 from the Yangsan Intercity Bus Terminal. The bus ride will take about forty minutes, and you’ll have to get off at the Jujin Village in Soju-dong. The second way you can get to Mitaam Hermitage is from the Busan City Bus Terminal in Nopo-dong. You can catch either Bus #247 or Bus #301 and get off at Jangheung. From this stop, you’ll need to follow the hermitage signs the rest of the way to lead you up to Mitaam Hermitage. Either way, make sure you pack your hiking boots because where the bus drops you off, you still have the rest of Mt. Cheonseongsan to hike to get to Mitaam Hermitage.

Overall Rating: 8/10

While definitely out of the way and quite the climb, Mitaam Hermitage more than makes up for it with its 8th century statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). Adding to this is the masterpiece painting dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, as well as the amazing views and the floral latticework adorning the main hall.

The view south from Mitaam Hermitage.
The view north from Mitaam Hermitage.
The colourful Daeungbo-jeon Hall.
The beautiful latticework adorning the Daeungbo-jeon Hall.
A look inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall.
The masterful mural dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa.
The Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) at Mitaam Hermitage.
The trail that leads up to the grotto that houses the 8th century statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise).
The 8th century statue dedicated to Amita-bul, which is Korean Treasure #998.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #93: I’m Going To

In this lesson we'll learn about a form useful for expressing your "intentions." For example, you can use this form to say that you're "going to do" something. It can also be used to say that you'll "try to do" something.

Remember that all of the episodes in this series are in order, so start from the beginning if you're new. Everything builds on the previous lessons, so if you follow from the start you'll be able to learn all the way to the end.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #93: I’m Going To appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Singwangsa Temple – 신광사 (Geoje-do, Gyeongsangnam-do)

The Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) Outdoor Island Shrine at Singwangsa Temple in Geoje, Gyeongsangnam-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

Singwangsa Temple is located on the southern coast, on the western side, of Geoje, Gyeongsangnam-do. Specifically, Singwangsa Temple is situated on the western portion of Mt. Baekamsan (494.6 m). According to the temple website, the location of Singwangsa Temple has long been regarded as a sacred place for the worship of Buddhism.

Singwangsa Temple dates back to the 1930’s, when a farmer, while digging a pond, discovered the Oryang Stone Buddha Statue. This stone Buddha statue dates back to either Later Silla (668-935 A.D.) or the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). This statue was designated Gyeongsangnam-do Tangible Cultural Heritage #48 in 1972.

More recently, Singwangsa Temple underwent extensive building during the 1980’s and 1990’s. During the 1980’s, the Iljumun Gate, the Nokyawon Shrine, the Sanshin-gak Hall, the subterranean Cheonbul-jeon Hall, and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall were built. During the 1990’s, the temple further expanded with the addition of the Beomjong-gak (Belll Pavilion) and the Nahan-jeon Hall. And in 2012, the Daeung-jeon Hall was built at Singwangsa Temple.

Temple Layout

You first approach Singwangsa Temple up a set of side-winding back roads, until you eventually see the temple’s Iljumun Gate and a collection of stupas. In a bend in the road, you’ll finally arrive at the temple parking lot. Just over a grassy knoll, and past a collection of beautiful cedar trees, you’ll see the large Daeung-jeon Hall straight ahead of you.

The exterior walls to the Daeung-jeon Hall are decorated with fading Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). In addition to this artwork, there is some beautiful latticework of dragons swirling around in their wooden frames with Gwimyeon (Monster Masks) at the base of the front doors. There are three large, dark wooden statues that take up residence inside the Daeung-jeon Hall on the main altar. The triad is centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is then flanked on either side by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) and Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). This triad was first made in the late 1980’s, and they are meant to represent the idea of Samsara. These three central statues are then joined by four standing statues on the main altar. Starting from the left, they are Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power), Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom), and Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This collection stands between 135 to 150 centimetres in height. The interior of the massive Daeung-jeon Hall is cavernous.

Just out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and to the right, is the Beomjong-gak (Bell Pavilion). Surrounding the pavilion, and on strings, are folded letters left behind by people with their hopes and dreams written on them. As for the Beomjong-gak Pavilion, there’s a large Brahma Bell that takes up residence inside it. This bell dates back to 1990.

One of the highlights to Singwangsa Temple, and to the right of the Beomjong-gak Pavilion, is a shrine dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. Past a mature collection of trees, and through an opening, you’ll come to a two-story island with a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal standing on the second story. This six metre tall statue of the Bodhisattva of Compassion stands with a bottle of ambrosia in her left hand. This bottle is turned downwards. And populating the pond that Gwanseeum-bosal stands commandingly over top of are a collection of beautiful Koi. The statue and shrine of Gwanseeum-bosal date back to 1994.

Just to the immediate right of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and up a set of stairs, you’ll arrive in the upper courtyard at Singwangsa Temple. You’ll see a glass shrine dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King) in this area. It’s just past this shrine, and up a hedgerow, you’ll come to the subterranean shrine hall at the temple. This is the Cheonbul-jeon Hall. Inside this temple shrine hall are eight bronze coloured plaques that depict various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at the entry. Passing by these, you’ll next enter the large inner cave chamber. Seated in the centre of the chamber is the historic Oryang Stone Buddha Statue. This statue is joined on all sides by a thousand golden Buddha statues dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha).

Up past the Cheonbul-jeon Hall, and another set of stairs, you’ll come to a shaman shrine hall dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and Chilseong (The Seven Stars). Besides being large in size, they are rather plain in design.

Just behind the Cheonbul-jeon Hall, and to the left of the Sanshin/Chilseong-gak Hall, you’ll come to another clearing. This time in the centre of this clearing is a beautiful stone sculpture dedicated to Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). This statue stands four metres in height; and like the Gwanseeum-bosal statue at Sinwangsa Temple, this statue also dates back to 1994. Joining the seated image of Mireuk-bul in this part of the temple grounds is the Nahan-jeon Hall. There are five hundred stone statues dedicated to the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) inside this temple shrine hall. These statues are between 30 to 33 centimetres in height, and they were first sculpted in the late 1990’s. These statues are then fronted by sixteen larger statues dedicated to the Nahan, and they stand 50 centimetres in height. The central image that sits on the main altar inside the Nahan-jeon Hall is a stone statue of Seokgamoni-bul.

To the rear of the Nahan-jeon Hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, which is unadorned around its exterior walls all but for the basic dancheong colours. Taking up residence inside this shrine hall is another stone statue; this time, dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This statue is joined on either side by a stone statue of Mudokgwi-wang (The King of Ghosts Who Purifies People’s Minds) and Domyeong-jonja. Also joining this stone statue of Jijang-bosal is another of the Bodhisattva of the Afterlife. This statue is backed by a mural of Jijang-bosal and the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld).

How To Get There

Because Singwangsa Temple is actually located closer to the neighbouring city of Tongyeong, you’ll need to get to the Tongyeong Intercity Bus Terminal first. And from the Tongyeong Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take a taxi because there’s no bus that goes directly to Singwangsa Temple. The taxi will take about 25 minutes and cost you about 14,000 won.

Overall Rating: 8/10

While it costs a fair bit to drive from Geoje-do Island from Busan, especially when you use the underwater Gadeok Tunnel, Singwangsa Temple certainly didn’t disappoint. The temple is filled with shrine halls including the underground Cheonbul-jeon Hall. In addition to the beautiful artwork that populates these shrine halls, have a look for the island shrine dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). With all this, you’ll have more than enough reason to visit the rather special Singwangsa Temple in the island city of Geoje, Gyeongsangnam-do.

The beautiful environs around Singwangsa Temple in Geoje, Gyeongsangnam-do.
The road leading up to the temple.
The large Daeung-jeon Hall at Singwangsa Temple.
The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The outdoor island shrine dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall.
A different angle to the amazing outdoor shrine.
A look inside the subterranean Cheonbul-jeon Hall.
The statue of Mireuk-bul behind the Cheonbul-jeon Hall.
A look inside the Nahan-jeon Hall.
And the main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.


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