Korean Buddhist temples

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Buddhist temples are an important part of the Korean landscape. This article gives a brief overview of Korean Buddhism, then describes some of the more important temples in Korea. Most Korean temples have names ending in -sa (사, 寺), which means "temple" in Sino-Korean.

Many temples, like Sudeoksa, offer visitors a Temple Stay program.[1]


A distinctive form of Buddhism evolved in Korea. This was facilitated by the geographical location and cultural conditions. Buddhism first arrived in Korea in 372 in Goguryeo. In 374 the influential Han Chinese monk Ado arrived in the kingdom and inspired King Sosurim of Goguryeo the following year. The first two temples Seongmunsa and Ilbullansa were built in 375 on the order of the king. Buddhism soon became the national religion of Goguryeo.

With the advent of Taoism in 624 the rulers began to suppress Buddhism and its importance quickly declined. The Baekje Kingdom, on the other hand, flourished under the influence of Buddhism. In 552 Buddhist scriptures were sent to Japan. This eventually led to the establishment of Buddhism in Japan.

In Silla, Buddhism was important, too. It flourished during the reign of Jinheung of Silla (540 to 576). Heungnyunsa was built, where any commoner could become a monk. The study of scriptures was greatly highlighted. For about 250 years Buddhism thrived in Later Silla.

Buddhism was admired by Wang Geon, who was enthroned as Taejo of Goryeo. Throughout the country pagodas and other Buddhist structures were built.

In late Goryeo, Buddhism became linked with corruption of the regime. A great number of monks were involved in politics. Bit by bit anti-Buddhist sentiments grew, leading to chaos which was ended by the establishment of Joseon. Taejo of Joseon himself was a devout Buddhist, but the influence of monks was reduced. At times monks were treated as outcasts, but generally there was no hindrance to their practising. Buddhist heritage can be found all over the country in the form of temples, pagodas, sculptures, paintings, handicrafts and buildings.

Typical Layout[edit]

A typical Korean temple consists of the following elements:[2]

  1. Iljumun (일주문, 一柱門) - One pillar gate found at the entrance to temple grounds
  2. Sacheonwangmun (사천왕문, 四天王門), also Cheonwangmun - Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings, to mark the entrance of the temple's boundaries
  3. Beopdang (법당, 法堂) - Dharma hall, used for lectures and sermons
  4. Monastic quarters
  5. Jonggo (종고, 鐘鼓) - bell tower
  6. Daeungjeon (대웅전, 大雄殿) - main shrine hall housing the temple's main Buddha images
  7. Pagoda
  8. Myeongbujeon (명부전, 冥府殿) - judgment hall, housing an image of the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (지장, 地藏) and depictions of the Buddhist hell
  9. Nahanjeon (나한전, 羅漢殿) - Hall of the Arhats
  10. Sansingak (산신각, 山神閣) - a shamanic shrine dedicated to the mountain god Sanshin (산신, 山神), who can be depicted as both a male or a female.[3] Sometimes called chilseong-gak (칠성각, 七星閣) or samseong-gak (삼성각, 三星閣), this shrine is usually found behind the main shrine hall.
  11. Hermitage
Beomeosa in Busan.
Jeungsimsa in Gwangju.
Typical layout (to be completed)

North Korea[edit]

It is reported that many temples have been taken over by the state. Once the government controls these buildings, they are used mainly as museums of ancient Korean traditions. A few temples are still in use and they are considered National Treasures. Though few temples in large cities survived the US carpet bombings of the Korean War, many still survive in rural areas, and some of the more famous, large temples destroyed have since been rebuilt (such as the Ryongtongsa and Singyesa). All in all, there are 300 temples,[4] but only in a few are religious services permitted. In the list [1] that follows, temples marked with a "×" were destroyed during the Korean War or no longer exist for other reasons; temples marked with an "*" have been rebuilt.

Yongmyongsa in the 1930s
Singyesa in the 1930s
Sogwangsa in the 1930s
Mahayon Hermitage in the 1930s
Pictures taken in the 1930s

South Korea[edit]

There are about 900 traditional Buddhist temples in South Korea, out of about 20,000 Buddhist temples in total.[5]

Notable temples in both Koreas[edit]

The following list is given by provinces (SK=South Korea, NK=North Korea), but it also can be sorted by Romanized or Korean names. Some Korean names, and founding dates are to be completed (the founding date applies to the location, even if none of the original structures survive). Recommended policy: no new entries, except from temples having their own English page in Wikipedia.

Province Temple Location Hangul Hanja Founded
SK Seoul Gyeongguksa 753 Jeongneung-dong, Jongno-gu 경국사 慶國寺 1325
SK Seoul Gwaneumsa 관음사 觀音寺
SK Seoul Doseonsa Bukhansan : 264 Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu 도선사 道詵寺 862
SK Seoul Bongeunsa Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu 봉은사 奉恩寺 794
SK Seoul Bongwonsa Bongwon-dong, Seodaemun-gu 봉원사 奉元寺 889
SK Seoul Yeonghwasa 영화사 永華寺
SK Seoul Jogyesa Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu 조계사 曹溪寺 1395 & 1910
SK Seoul Jingwansa 진관사 津寬寺
SK Gyeonggi Bomunsa
SK Gyeonggi Jeondeungsa 전등사 傳燈寺
SK Gyeonggi Bongnyeongsa
SK Gyeonggi Bongseonsa 봉선사 奉先寺 969
SK Gyeonggi Silleuksa Yeoju-gun 신륵사 神勒寺 580
SK Gyeonggi Yeonjuam
SK Gyeonggi Yongjusa Hwasan, Taean-eup, Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-si 용주사 龍珠寺 854
SK Gyeonggi Jajaeam
SK Gangwon Baekdamsa near Seoraksan, Inje-gun 백담사 百潭寺 650 circa
SK Gangwon SK Guryongsa
SK Gangwon Naksansa 낙산사 洛山寺 671
SK Gangwon Deungmyeong-nakgasa
SK Gangwon Samhwasa 삼화사 三和寺
SK Gangwon Sinheungsa Seoraksan, Sokcho-si 신흥사(향성사) 神興寺(香城寺) 650 circa
SK Gangwon Oseam Seoraksan 오세암 五歲庵 643
SK Gangwon Woljeongsa Odaesan, Pyeongchang-gun 월정사 月精寺 643
SK Gangwon Cheongpyeongsa
SK North Chungcheong Beopjusa Songnisan, Naesongni-myeon, Boeun-gun 법주사 法住寺 553
SK North Chungcheong Guinsa Sobaeksan, Danyang County-gun 구인사 救仁寺 1945
SK South Chungcheong Magoksa Gongju-si 마곡사 麻谷寺 640
SK South Chungcheong Sudeoksa Deoksungsan, Deoksan-myeon, Yesan-gun 수덕사 修德寺 1308
SK North Gyeongsang Donghwasa Palgongsan, Dohak-dong, Dong-gu, Daegu 동화사 桐華寺 493 and 832
SK North Gyeongsang Pagyesa 파계사 把溪寺
SK North Gyeongsang Bogyeongsa
SK North Gyeongsang Bongjeongsa Cheondeungsan, Andong-si 봉정사 鳳停寺 672
SK North Gyeongsang Buseoksa Bonghwangsan, Yeongju-si 부석사 浮石寺 676
SK North Gyeongsang Bulguksa (including Seokguram) Tohamsan, Jinheon-dong, Gyeongju City 불국사 佛國寺 528 and 751
SK North Gyeongsang Golgulsa Yangbuk-Myeon, Gyeongju 골굴사 骨窟寺 *
SK North Gyeongsang Girimsa Hamwolsan, Gyeongju 기림사 祇林寺 643
SK North Gyeongsang Baekryulsa in Gyeongju Geumgangsan, Dongcheon-dong, Gyeongju City 백률사 栢栗寺 692
SK North Gyeongsang Hwangnyongsa Tohamsan, Gyeongju National Park 황룡사 皇龍寺 553
SK North Gyeongsang Jikjisa Hwangaksan, Daehang-myeon, Gimcheon-si, 직지사 直指寺 418
SK South Gyeongsang Ssanggyesa Jirisan, Hwagae-myeon, Hadong-gun 쌍계사 雙磎寺 772
SK South Gyeongsang Tongdosa Chiseosan, Yangsan-si 통도사 通度寺 646
SK South Gyeongsang Haeinsa Gayasan 해인사 海印寺 802
SK South Gyeongsang Haedong Yonggungsa Busan 해동용궁사 海東龍宮寺
SK South Gyeongsang Beomeosa Geumjeongsan, Busan 범어사 梵魚寺 678
SK North Jeolla Eunsusa Maisan (Horse Ear Mountain), Jinan-gun 은수사 銀水寺
SK North Jeolla Geumdangsa Maisan (Horse Ear Mountain), Jinan-gun 금당사 金塘寺 814
SK North Jeolla Geumsansa Moaksan, Gimje-si 금산사 金山寺 600 and 770
SK North Jeolla Mireuksa Iksan-si 미륵사 彌勒寺 602
SK North Jeolla Naesosa Jinseo-myeon, Buan-gun 내소사 633
SK North Jeolla Seonunsa Dosolsan, Asan-myeon, Gochang-gun 선운사 禪雲寺 577 [6]
SK North Jeolla Silsangsa 실상사 實相寺
SK North Jeolla Tapsa Jinan-gun 탑사 塔寺 1885
SK South Jeolla Baegyangsa Bukha-myeon, Jangseong-gun 백양사 白羊寺 632
SK South Jeolla Baengnyeonsa Doam-myeon, Gangjin-gun 백련사 白蓮寺 650 circa
SK South Jeolla Daeheungsa Duryunsan, Samsan city, Haenam-gun 대흥사 大興寺 514 ?
SK South Jeolla Geumtapsa Cheondeungsan, Podu-myeon, Goheung-gun 금탑사 金塔寺 650 circa
SK South Jeolla Hwaeomsa Jirisan, Masan-myeon, Gurye-gun 화엄사 華嚴寺 544
SK South Jeolla Jeungsimsa Mudeungsan, Gwangju 증심사 証心寺
SK South Jeolla Mihwangsa Dalmasan, Haenam-gun 미황사 美黃寺 749
SK South Jeolla Songgwangsa Songgwangsan, 송광사 松廣寺 867 and 1190
SK South Jeolla Unjusa (National Treasure #312) Hwasun-gun 운주사 雲住寺
SK Jeju Island Gwaneumsa
SK Jeju Island Yakcheonsa 약천사 藥泉寺
SK Jeju Island Beophwasa
SK Jeju Island Seondeoksa
NK Pyongyang Chongrungsa* Ryongsan-ri, Ryokpo-guyok 정릉사
NK Pyongyang Kwangbopsa* Taesong-dong, Taesong-guyok 광법사
NK Pyongyang Ryonghwasa Kaeson-dong, Moranbong-guyok 룡화사
NK Pyongyang Tong-kumgangamsa Osan-ri, Sunan-guyok 동금강암사 金剛)
NK Pyongyang Yongmyongsa× NK Moranbong Park, Moranbong-guyok 영명사 *
NK Pyongyang Pobun Hermitage Ryongbong-ri, Mangyongdae-guyok 법운암
NK South Pyongan Anguksa Ponghak-dong, Pyongsong 안국사 503
NK South Pyongan Chongjinsa Hyangpung-ri, Songchon-gun 정진사
NK South Pyongan Pophungsa Sinsong-ri, Pyongwon-gun 법흥사
NK North Pyongan Chonjusa Yongbyon 천주사 1684
NK North Pyongan Kaewonsa Tangsang-ri, Kwaksan-gun 개원사
NK North Pyongan Kumgwangsa Kumgwang-ri, Uiju-gun 금광사
NK North Pyongan Mannyonsa Songan-dong, Kusong 만년사
NK North Pyongan Pohyonsa Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 보현사 普賢 1025 circa
NK North Pyongan Powolsa Uhyon-ri, Kujang-gun 보월사
NK North Pyongan Pakchon Simwonsa Sangyang-ri, Pakchon-gun 심원사
NK North Pyongan Ryongmunsa Ryongdung Worker's District, Kujang-gun 룡문사
NK North Pyongan Sounsa Yongbyon 서운사
NK North Pyongan Yanghwasa Sangdan-ri, Taechon-gun 양화사
NK North Pyongan Habiro Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 하비로암
NK North Pyongan Hwajang Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 화장암
NK North Pyongan Kyejo Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 계조암
NK North Pyongan Mansu Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 만수암
NK North Pyongan Nungin Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 능인암
NK North Pyongan Puryong Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 불영대
NK North Pyongan Sangwon Hermitage Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan-gun 상원암
NK South Hwanghae Chahyesa Sowon-ri, Sinchon-gun 자혜사
NK South Hwanghae Hakrimsa× Hakrim-ri, Changyon-gun 학림사
NK South Hwanghae Kangsosa Kangho-ri, Paechon-gun 강서사 西
NK South Hwanghae Paeyopsa× Paeyop-ri, Anak-gun 패엽사
NK South Hwanghae Singwangsa× Singwang-ri, Haeju 신광사
NK South Hwanghae Woljongsa Woljong-ri, Anak-gun 월정사
NK South Hwanghae Hanging Hermitage (Changsusan) Sorim-ri, Chaeryong-gun 현암
NK South Hwanghae Songwol Hermitage Hakrim-ri, Changyon-gun 송월암
NK North Hwanghae Anhwasa Koryo-dong, Kaesong 안화사 930
NK North Hwanghae Hungwangsa× Sambong-ri, Kaepung-gun 흥왕사
NK North Hwanghae Kwanumsa Pakyon-ri, Kaesong 관음사 觀音 970 and 1393
NK North Hwanghae Kwijinsa Songwol-ri, Sohung-gun 귀진사
NK North Hwanghae Pulilsa× Sonjok-ri, Changpung-gun 관음사
NK North Hwanghae Ryongtongsa* Ryonghung-dong, Kaesong 령통사 1027
NK North Hwanghae Yontan Simwonsa Yontan 심원사 *
NK North Hwanghae Songbulsa Jongbang-ri, Sariwon 성불사 898
NK North Hwanghae Taehungsa Pakyon-ri, Kaesong 대흥사
NK Kangwon Changansa× Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 장안사
NK Kangwon Chongyangsa Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 정양사
NK Kangwon Anbyon Pohyonsa Ryongsin-ri, Anbyon-gun 보현사 普賢
NK Kangwon Myongjoksa Yongsam-ri, Wonsan 명적사
NK Kangwon Pyohunsa Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 표훈사 670
NK Kangwon Ryongchusa Mihyon-ri, Anbyon-gun 령추사
NK Kangwon Singyesa* Onjong-ri, Kosong-gun 신계사 519
NK Kangwon Sogwangsa× Solbong-ri, Kosan-gun 석왕사 1386
NK Kangwon Yujomsa× Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 유점사 550 circa and 1168
NK Kangwon Mahayon Hermitage× Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 마하연
NK Kangwon Podok Hermitage Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 보덕암
NK Kangwon Pomun Hermitage Solbong-ri, Kosan-gun 보덕암
NK Kangwon Pulji Hermitage Naegang-ri, Kumgang-gun 불지암
NK South Hamgyong Anbulsa Tonghung-ri, Kumya-gun 안불사
NK South Hamgyong Chonggwangsa× Wonsa-ri, Riwon-gun 정광사
NK South Hamgyong Kwangjesa Chuksang-ri, Pukchong-gun 광제사
NK South Hamgyong Kwijusa× Kumsil-dong, Hamhung 귀주사
NK South Hamgyong Ryangchonsa Nakchon-ri, Kowon-gun 량천사
NK South Hamgyong Ryonghungsa Ponghung-ri, Yonggwang-gun 룡흥사 1048
NK South Hamgyong Tongdoksa Tuyon-ri, Tanchon-gun 동덕사
NK South Hamgyong Hungbok Hermitage Sudong-ri, Hamhung 흥복암
NK South Hamgyong Pulji Hermitage Ponghung-ri, Yonggwang-gun 불지암
NK North Hamgyong Kaesimsa Pochon-ri, Myongchon-gun 개심사 826 and 1377
NK North Hamgyong Hwasong Ssanggyesa Puam-ri, Hwasong-gun 쌍계사
NK Chagang Wŏnmyŏngsa Ryujung-ri, Huich'ŏn 원명사
NK Chagang Mansu Hermitage Changp'yong-ri, Huich'ŏn 만수암
NK Ryanggang Chunghŭngsa Kwanp'yŏng-ri, Samsu-gun 중흥사

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cerny, Branko (4 October 2011). "Temple stay: 48 hours at Sudeoksa Temple". CNN Travel. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ Grayson, James Huntley (2002). Korea: a religious history. Psychology Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-7007-1605-0.
  3. ^ "San shin – The Mountain god (산신)". Dale's Korean Temple Adventures. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Korea, Democratic People's Republic of: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices".
  5. ^ CNN, By Cin Woo Lee. "33 of South Korea's most beautiful temples". CNN. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  6. ^ "seounsa".