Recent Blog Posts

All Recent Posts

좋다 vs 좋아하다 | Korean FAQ

Both 좋다 and 좋아하다 can mean "to like" something, but their use is different and they can't be interchanged.

Do you know how to use these verbs differently, and when to use one or the other?

The post 좋다 vs 좋아하다 | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





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

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

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

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

Click here to download a free PDF of this lesson!

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

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

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


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

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

Purpose of the Brahma Bell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Korean Brahma Bell Design

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

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

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

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

Poroe Design and Myth

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Food in Korean – Top Dishes and Beverage Names

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

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

Food in Korean

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

Food in Korean

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

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

Vegetables in Korean

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

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

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

Cabbage in Korean

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

Scallion in Korean

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

Fruits in Korean

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

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

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

Banana in Korean

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

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

Meat in Korean

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

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

Marinated Beef Slices in Korean

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

Pork Belly in Korean

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

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

Cooking Ingredients in Korean

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

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

Rice in Korean

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

Soy Sauce in Korean

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

Chili Pepper Paste

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

Beverages in Korean

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

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

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

Soju 소주 (soju)

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

Types of Food Preparation in Korean

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

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

Fried in Korean

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

Stew in Korean

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

Soup in Korean

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

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

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

Noodles in Korean

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

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

Steamed in Korean

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

Roasted in Korean / Grilled in Korean

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

Side Dishes in Korean

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

Raw in Korean

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

Describing taste in Korean

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

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

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

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

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  


Please share, help Korean spread! 



Gwaneumsa Temple – 관음사 (Gokseong, Jeollanam-do)

The Geumrang-gak Pavilion and Neighbouring Ginkgo Tree at Gwaneumsa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-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

Gwaneumsa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do, not to be confused with the Gwaneumsa Temple on Jeju-do, is one of the more obscure major temples that you’ll find in Korea. Gwaneumsa Temple is named after the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Gwanseeum-bosal, and it’s located on the western foot of Mt. Seongdeoksan (646.6 m), which is named after a girl related to the origins of the temple (more on that soon). Gwaneumsa Temple is a sub-temple of the famed Hwaeomsa Temple of Gurye, Jeollanam-do.

Purportedly, Gwaneumsa Temple was founded in 300 A.D. This would make it one of the oldest temples on the Korean peninsula. Interestingly, and if true, the existence of Gwaneumsa Temple predates the adoption of Buddhism as the state religion in the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) by some eighty-four years, as the Baekje Kingdom wasn’t to accept Buddhism as a state religion until 384 A.D. The temple is known to have been founded by a laywoman of Baekje named Seongdeok, which means “virtuous saint” in Korean. This was done to enshrine a gilt-bronze statue of Gwanseeum-bosal that she found in the port of Nagan-po in present day Boseong, Jeollanam-do.

After it was established, there are no records about Gwaneumsa Temple during the Three Kingdoms of Korea (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.), Later Silla (668 – 935 A.D.), and the early part of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). However, by 1374, the Wontong-jeon Hall was restored. This was done through the support and finances of King Gongmin of Goryeo (r.1351-1374), who also ordered major renovations and expansion to the historic temple. In total, Gwaneumsa Temple has undergone five major renovations including this one during the late 14th century.

The entire temple was destroyed by fire, except the Wontong-jeon Hall, in 1597 during the second invasion of the Imjin War (1592-1598). The temple underwent further reconstruction and rebuilding after this destruction in 1604. More recently, Master Yeongdam renovated and repaired Gwaneumsa Temple after it had been partially destroyed by fire in 1912. The temple suffered heavy damage during the Korean War (1950-53), losing almost all temple shrine halls including the famed Wontong-jeon Hall, which was Korean Treasure #273 and the gilt-bronze Gwanseeum-bosal statue that was Korean Treasure #214.

The current Wontong-jeon Hall was moved to its present location at Gwanseeum-bosal from Daeeunam Hermitage which survived the Korean War. And in the 1970s, thirteen buildings were added to the temple grounds through reconstruction. The excavation of the old Wontong-jeon Hall site was conducted in 2013. This resulted in the discovery of a bronze bell and a candlestick dating back to the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).

Temple Myth

As one of the religious centres focusing on the worship of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) in Korea, Gwaneumsa Temple is connected to the popular “Tale of Sim Cheong.” The direct link to the “Tale of Sim Cheong” passes through “The History of Gwaneumsa Temple of Seongdeoksan Mountain in Okgwa-byeon.” It was written by Baek Mae-ja in 1729, and it contains a tale related to the origins of the temple. According to this tale, a girl named Won Hongjang, who was the daughter of a blind man, was offered to a Buddhist monk named Seonggong to ensure the success of a large religious project at Hongbeopsa Temple. She followed the monk to China, where she won the favor of the emperor of the Jin Dynasty (266-420). Eventually, she would marry the emperor of the Jin Dynasty. As empress, she continued to send Buddhist pagodas and images to her hometown in an effort to cure her homesickness. One such image, a gilt-bronze image of Gwanseeum-bosal arrived in her hometown. This statue was then discovered by a local girl of Okgwa named Seongdeok. She enshrined this image of Gwanseeum-bosal at the temple she later founded, which would be named Gwaneumsa Temple. The plot to this tale is very similar to the “Tale of Sim Cheong,” which is one of the most beloved traditional tales from Korea. In this story of Sim Cheong, she fulfills her filial duty to her blind father by sacrificing herself by diving into the water of Imdang-su to help her father regain his sight. Her filial piety allows her to be revived. Later, she would marry a king and eventually be reunited with her father. It would seem that the story of Seongdeok acted as the foundation for the “Tale of Sim Cheong.” So it would also seem that the “Tale of Sim Cheong” is a result of several different folk narratives being put together including the “Gwaneumsa yeongi seolhwa,” or “The Story about the Origin of Gwaneumsa Temple” in English.

Temple Layout

You first approach Gwaneumsa Temple up a long, twisting, isolated country road past the Seongdeok Dam. You’ll first approach the temple from the west past a collection of administrative buildings. It’s finally around the corner of the Jongmuso (office) that you’ll find the Geukrak-jeon Hall at Gwaneumsa Temple. The exterior walls to the Geukrak-jeon Hall are adorned with a fading collection of Shimu-do (Ox-Herding Murals). Stepping inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall, you’ll find a solitary statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) taking up residence on the main altar. This image of Amita-bul is surrounded by a beautiful fiery nimbus. Surrounding this central image, and on dozens of shelving units, you’ll find tiny white figurines dedicated to the Buddha of the Western Paradise. To the right of the main altar, and on the far right wall, is a contemporary Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

To the right of the Geukrak-jeon Hall, and past the shrubbery and stone statues dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), is the foundation for the former Wontong-jeon Hall. All that remains of the Goryeo-era Wontong-jeon Hall is the faint outline of stones to the former foundation, as well as a set of stone stairs leading up to the once standing temple shrine hall. To the rear of the Wontong-jeon Hall is another set of stone stairs that now lead up to a newly grown forest. The location must have once housed temple shrine halls, but has now been reclaimed by Mother Nature.

And to the right of the former Wontong-jeon Hall is the transplanted Wontong-jeon Hall from Daeeunam Hermitage. The exterior walls to the new Wontong-jeon Hall has various Buddhist motif murals including an all-white image dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. The interior of this Wontong-jeon Hall is adorned with wall-to-wall murals that reach all the way up to the ceiling. They include such beautiful murals as white cranes, lotus flowers, and fowl. As for the main altar, it’s occupied by Gwanseeum-bosal, who wears an extremely ornate crown. On the far right wall hangs a congested Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). This mural is joined to the left by a simplistic mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), who, in turn, is joined by a zombie-eyed tiger. To the immediate right and left of the main altar are two murals. One is dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), while the other is dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Interestingly, there’s the charred remains of a Buddha head that takes up residence on the main altar to the left of Gwanseeum-bosal. This, perhaps, is what remains of the former Wontong-jeon Hall.

And out in front of these temple shrine halls at Gwaneumsa Temple are a collection of structures. The first, and probably the spookiest of its kind that I’ve seen in Korea, is the Geumgangmun Gate. The exterior walls to this gate are stripped of colour, and when you step inside this entry gate you’ll be met by two ghost white statues of Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors) with fierce expressions on their faces. To the left of the Geumgangmun Gate is the Jong-gak (Bell Pavilion). The wooden structure surrounds a mid-sized Brahma Bell. And the final temple structure visitors can explore at Gwaneumsa Temple is the Geumrang-gak Pavilion, which spans a slow moving stream.

How To Get There

From the Gokseong Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take the bus that says “Gokseong – Okgwa (곡성 – 옥과)” on it. After twenty-two stops, you’ll need to get off at the Okgwa Terminal (옥과 터미널). The bus ride will take about one hour. From the Okgwa Terminal, you’ll need to take another bus. This bus will say “Okgwa – Gwaneumsa (옥과 – 관음사)” on it. After fourteen stops, or forty-five minutes, you’ll need to get off at the Gwaneumsa stop. From where the bus lets you off, you’ll need to walk seven minutes, about five hundred metres, to get to Gwaneumsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

So much about this temple’s lustre, tragically, is located in Gwaneumsa Temple’s past. All that made it so beautiful was destroyed in numerous wars and accidents including the gilt-bronze statue of Gwanseeum-bosal and the Wontong-jeon Hall. There are, however, still a few things to enjoy at the temple. For one, you can still see, and imagine, just how amazing Gwaneumsa Temple must have once been with the Wontong-jeon Hall site and the stone stairs that lead up to a well populated forest of trees. In addition to these sites, you can also enjoy the beautiful artwork that occupies both the Geukrak-jeon Hall and the current Wontong-jeon Hall, as well as the frightening Geumgangmun Gate and the stately Geumrang-gak Pavilion.

A look inside the Jong-gak Pavilion.
The eerie Geumgangmun Gate at Gwaneumsa Temple.
One of the frightful Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors).
The Geukrak-jeon Hall at Gwaneumsa Temple.
A look inside the the Geukrak-jeon Hall.
The stone steps to the former Wontong-jeon Hall.
Where the historic Wontong-jeon Hall once stood.
An early 20th century picture of the historic Wontong-jeon Hall (Courtesy of Bulgyo Shinmun).
The flight of stairs to the rear of the former Wontong-jeon Hall near the present day Geukrak-jeon Hall.
The current Wontong-jeon Hall.
The colourful interior of the Wontong-jeon Hall.
The Sanshin painting inside the Wontong-jeon Hall. Take a look at that tiger’s eyes!
And the remains from the Wontong-jeon Hall fire.

One Hanja every Korean learner should know 正 (한자) | Korean FAQ

I usually don't recommend that beginners learn Hanja (한자), as its benefits come mostly later on through vocabulary and making new words.

However, there are some exceptions. One of those is 正 (read as "정"). This character is useful even as a beginner, especially if you're going to be ordering food in a Korean restaurant. And fortunately it's very easy to read and fast to write with only 5 strokes.

The post One Hanja every Korean learner should know 正 (한자) | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Grading your Korean #3 – More natural intonation | Billy Go

Since changing gears in the "Grading Korean" series, we've reviewed 3 Korean learners already who are doing excellent. And today's 4th Korean speaker is Geona, who also did a great job.

In this episode I talk first about what she does well, and then focus on what she can improve on - intonation. Intonation is something most learners of all levels struggle with (I struggled with this a lot too), and I give some tips for how to improve it that are effective.

The post Grading your Korean #3 – More natural intonation | Billy Go appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Ssangmireuksa Temple – 쌍미륵사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

Ssangmireuksa Temple in Baenaegol Valley 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!

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.


Subscribe to Koreabridge MegaBlog Feed