Thursday, April 04, 2013

Notes on a few temple visits while in South Korea

I made sure to seek out various Buddhist temples while in South Korea. Though I didn't see any of the major temples, some of the "urban" pocket temples were quite interesting.

For a great account of the various temples of Korea, I recommend "Dale's Korean Temple Adventures" website.

And thanks to @Skerijayne for my primer on Buddhist temples on our trip to China.

2013.03.27-IMG_0665Temple in Namdaemun (Seoul)
Near my hotel, and visible from the window was a large temple that looked like it would be similar to one I'd seen in Taipei. On climbing a large hill, however, it was in a very urban area with no direct public access to the main hall. The entrance seemed through another doorway that, when I opened the door, rang some bells. Rather than go in, I left.

2013.03.24-IMG_0374"Happy Face" Temple (Seoul) 
On the way to Namsan Park, right alongside the road, was a tall, multi-story building with a Smiley Face on the side. Closer examination revealed it to be a small temple. Took a few photos of the gate and roof-top Buddha and then moved on.

Mitaseonwon Temple (aka Yongdusan) and Daegaksa Temple (both Busan) 
On the sides of Yongdusan Park in Busan are two temples, Mitaseonwon and Daegaksa. Mitaseonwon was located halfway down the mountain, conveniently located at a turn of the steps/escalators that take you down from the top of the mountain. A nice medium sized temple with nice statuary and an excellent view of the surrounding area.

The nearby Daegaksa Temple is located at the foot of the mountain on a busy street (across the street, I'll add) from a beautiful Starbucks. Larger than Mitaseonwon, but with less exterior sculptural decoration.

Photos of Mitaseonwon (aka Yongdusan Temple to me at least)

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Photos of Daegaksa

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2013.03.29-IMG_1176Chinatown Temple (Busan) 
Walking back from the Busan Station, took a diversion through Chinatown and ran across a small temple that was closed for the day.

Mubongsa Temple (Miryang) The temple highlight of the trip was Mubongsa. A small temple clinging to the side of the hillside overlooking the Miryang River, Mubongsa is part of the larger historical complex of Yeongnamnu Pavilion. A perfect miniature exemplar of a Buddhist temple, Mubongsa had most of the traditional elements of Buddhist temples: One Pillar Gate to Gate of Non-Duality Four Heavenly Kings of the Temple Gates The Dharma Hall and Buddha Hall of 1,000 Buddhas The Brahma Bell and Dharma Bell.

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Though I missed the major temples that I'd hoped to see (Beomeosa Temple, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Jogyesa Shrine), those are waiting for the next trip!

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