Founded by the Chontae Buddhist sect in 1027, the temple is believed to be one of the first of the sect's temples in Korea. Destroyed by a fire in the 16th century, and further damaged by American bombing during the Korean War, little remained of the original temple when reconstruction began in 2000 as a joint Korean cultural project. After five years of work, the restoration was completed on 31 October 2005. The temple contains the ashes of Taegak Guksa, the sect's founder. A son of Emperor Munjong of Koryo, he spent most of his life in Kaesŏng before retiring to the temple as an ascetic, where he lived until his death. The temple was thus closely connected with the royal family of Koryo, and was where they would attend services.
The main temple is divided into two sections: a west court and an east court. The main entrance to the temple is through the South Gate, in front of which are located the temple's original stone banner pillars. Through the gate is an unwalled plaza containing a monument to Taegak Guksa, founder of the Chontae sect. Erected in 1125, the much-worn stele rests on the back of a lion-turtle, and commemorates episodes from the life of the great monk. It is listed as National Treasure #155. From here, both the Middle and East Gates are accessible. The Middle Gate, directly across from the South Gate, leads to the temple's large West Court, which is dominated by Pogwang Hall (普光院, "Hall of Universal Light"), the temple's main shrine. To the right, the East Gate leads to the smaller courtyard fronting Pojo Hall (普炤院, "Hall of Universal Clarity"), devoted to veneration of the Bodhisattvas.
In front of Pogwang Hall there are three pagodas, two three-storied, and one five-storied. The smaller three-storied pagoda measures 4.1 meters, while the larger measures 4.4. The five storied pagoda is 5.5 meters. The pagodas are plainly carved in sandstone, with upturned eaves surmounting square segments decorated only with raised vertical lines on the corners. All three date to the Koryo dynasty. The pagodas are registered as National Treasure #133.
Directly behind Pogwang Hall is Chunggak Hall (重閣院), a meditation room and lecture hall decorated with paintings of important Buddhist monks. Behind this there are two gates to the back courtyard of the temple, where Sungbok Hall (崇福院) is located. This building once held the living quarters for the temple's monks.
Altogether, the reconstructed temple consists of over 26 buildings in an area of over 4,000 square meters.