Temple Stay: Geumsunsa Temple (Seoul)

(Courtesy of the Geumsunsa Temple website).

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Geumsunsa Temple is over 600 years old, and it’s beautifully situated in Mt. Bukhansan National Park in Seoul. Historically, Geumsunsa Temple was the place where King Jeungjo prayed for the birth of a male heir. As for the temple itself, it specializes in Seon meditation. There are a couple highlights to this temple like the beautiful stream that passes under the Hongyaekyo (Bridge of Nirvana) inside the temple grounds, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds the temple.

As for the Temple Stay program itself, it focuses on Seon meditation. Additionally, you can enjoy a hike through Mt. Bukhansan National Park, Buddhist chanting, and ringing the temple bell. This temple focuses on meditation and being at one with nature.

(Courtesy of the Korean Temple Stay website).

Directions:

To get to Geumsunsa Temple from Seoul:

Take the subway, the orange line (line #3), and get off at Gyeongbokgung Station. Take exit #3 out of the station and walk straight for about 70 metres to the bus stop. Then, take the green bus #7212 at the bus stop. Get off at the Yibukodocheong stop (이북오도청) after a 20 minute ride. Finally, walk along the main road in a northerly direction for about 20 minutes. During the first 10 minutes, you’ll walk along a road. And during the second 10 minutes of your journey, you’ll need to walk up the mountain. Along the way, you’ll be able to see street signs leading you towards Yeonhwasa Temple (연화사) and Geumsunsa Temple (금선사).

Or you can take a taxi, after arriving at Gyeongbokgung Station and taking exit #3. The taxi ride will take about 15 minutes to get you to the parking lot of Geumsunsa Temple, then you’ll need to walk 10 minutes up a mountain path.

Additionally, it’s important to inform the temple, in advance, if you’ll be bringing any heavy luggage, because the path leading up to the temple is composed of stone stairs. As a result, the temple will need to use the cable car to bring your luggage up.



General Schedule:

Geumsunsa Temple runs two types of programs at their temple. The first is the Experiential Program, while the other is the Relaxation Schedule. Here are both scheduled programs.

A: Experiential Program Schedule:

Saturday:
15:00~15:30 : Arrival and Registration.
15:30~16:00 : Orientation and Temple Etiquette
16:00~17:30 : Temple Tour and Learning a Buddhist Chanting Script
18:00~18:30 : Dinner
18:45 : Bell Ringing
19:00~19:30 : Evening Buddhist Chanting Ceremony
19:30~21:00 : Meditation and 108 Prostrations
21:00~ : Sleep

Sunday:
04:30 : Wake Up & Wash
04:45 : Bell Ringing
05:00~05:20 : Morning Buddhist Chanting Ceremony
05:20~06:00 : Meditation
06:00~06:50 : Free Time
06:50~08:10 : Baru Gongyang (Traditional Monastic Meal)
08:30~09:30 : Communal Work
09:30~11:00 : Conversation with a Monk Over Tea
11:00~11:50 : Hiking on Mt. Bukhansan (If the weather is bad, an alternative program will be run).
12:00~12:50 : Lunch & Feedback
13:00~ : Closing Ceremony

* Please make reservations at least 3 days before the date you would like to join.
* Participation of the Experiential Temple Stay is only available for an individual over age 13.
* Room arrangement: Participants share a big room together, but men and women stay separately.
* A uniform ( a vest and pants ) is provided during the program.
* Please arrive before 3 pm.
* What to bring : toiletries, a personal water bottle, loose clothes for sleep, an extra t-shirt, sneakers and socks. (Please remember that a sleeveless shirt or flip-flops are not recommended).

(Courtesy of the Korean Temple Stay website)

B: Relaxation Program Schedule:

Day 1:
15:00~17:00 : Registration and Temple Tour
18:00~18:30 : Dinner
19:00 : Evening Buddhist Chanting Ceremony
19:30~ : Free Time & Sleep

Day 2:
05:00 : Morning Buddhist Chanting Ceremony
06:30~07:00 : Breakfast
07:00~ : Free Time
12:00~12:30 : Lunch
13:00 : Check Out

* During the free time, some activities are available, such as meditation, 108 prostrations, and a conversation with a monk.
* Please make reservations at least 3 days before the date you would like to join.
* Operating days : Sunday – Friday
* Usually a 1 night and 2 day stay is only made possible depending on temple availability.
* Room arrangement: A private room is provided, but men and women stay separately.
* A uniform (a vest and pants) is provided during the stay.
* Please arrive before 3 pm.
* What to bring : toiletries, a personal water bottle, loose clothes for sleep, an extra t-shirt, sneakers, and socks. (Remember that a sleeveless shirt or flip-flops are not recommended).

Geumsunsa Temple Information:

Address : Gukidong Jongnogu, Seoul, Korea
Tel : 070-4242-9913 / Fax : 02-395-9921
homepage : http://www.geumsunsa.org
E-mail : geumsunsa@templestay.com

Fees:

Adults: 50,000 won; Teens: 40,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Experiential Schedule; 1 nights, 2 days).

Adults: 70,000 won; Teens: 70,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Relaxation Schedule; 1 nights, 2 days).

Link:

Reservations for the Experiential Temple Stay Program at Geumsunsa Temple.

Reservations for the Relaxation Temple Stay Program at Geumsunsa Temple.

(Courtesy of the Geumsunsa Temple website)

Temple Stay: Jeondeungsa Temple (Gyeonggi-do)

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(Courtesy of the Jeondeungsa Temple Stay website)

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Jeondeungsa Temple is situated on Ganghwa-do Island. Jeondeungsa Temple was first established in the 4th century by the monk Ado, and it was formally called Jinjongsa Temple. It received its current name in 1282. It’s believed by some that Jeondeungsa Temple is the oldest temple on the Korean peninsula. The temple helped defend against the invading Mongols. In fact, the Goryeo Royal Family temporarily took up residence at the temple after the capital of Gaeseong had been overrun. From 1719 until 1910, Jeondeungsa Temple was in charge of protecting the ancestral records of the Joseon Dynasty royal family. As a result, senior monks from Jeondeungsa Temple were highly regarded during the Joseon Dynasty.

As for the temple itself, Jeondeungsa Temple is situated inside the walls of Samnang Fortress, which was originally built to protect Korea from foreign invaders. You’ll have to pass through the fortress gate, which is now the gate to the temple. Jeondeungsa Temple is one of the smaller Temple Stay temples that you can stay at; but with that being said, it still has a fair bit to see like the naked woman carved into the eaves of the main hall.

Jeondeungsa Temple offers two Temple Stay programs at their temple. The first is the Recuperation Schedule, which allows participants to relax and choose whatever activities they want to ensure a stress free and relaxing stay. The other schedule, the Regular Schedule, allows participants to enjoy  a genuine monastic experience. Participants take part in Buddhist services, communal work at the temple, monastic meals, meditation, and a talk with a monk.

Winter

(Courtesy of the Jeondeungsa Temple Stay website)

Directions:

First, you’ll have to get to Incheon. Once there, and from the Shinchon Subway Station (Line #2), use exit #4 and walk 100 metres. From there, take bus #3100 to Onsuri Terminal, which can be found in front of Artreon Cinema. Get off at Onsuri. Walk to the temple from there. It should take about 20 minutes.

Or, and again from Incheon, you can take the Incheon Express City Bus, #700. From there, get off at the Onsu-ri Station. Signs should lead you the rest of the way to the temple



General Schedule:

There are two types of programs at Jeondeungsa Temple. The first is the Regular Temple Stay schedule, while the other is the Recuperation Schedule, which runs year round.

A: The Regular Temple Stay Schedule:

Day 1:
13:00: Registration & Room Allocation
14:00: Orientation – Familiarization with Basic Temple Rules & Practices
15:00: Temple Tour
17:00: Temple Dinner
18:00: Buddhist Ceremonial Service (Striking the Temple Bell)
18:30: Healing Yoga or Seon Meditation
21:00: Sleep

Day 2:
04:00: Wake Up
04:30: Buddihist Ceremonial Service (Ye-bool)
05:00: 108 Prostrations & Seon Meditation
06:00: Balwoo Gongyang (Formal Monastic Meal)
07:30: Community Work
08:00: Walking Mediation (Mt. Jeongjoksan)
09:00: Rest
09:30: Tea Time with a Monk (Tea Ceremony)
11:00: Room Cleaning
11:30: Temple Lunch
12:00: Check Out

Happy Evening with the chanting bell

(Courtesy of the Jeondeungsa Temple Stay website)

B: The Recuperation Schedule:

Day 1:

13:00~13:30: Registration & Room Allocation
13:30~17:00: Free Time
17:30~18:00: Temple Dinner
18:30~19:00: Evening Buddihism Ceremony
19:05~20:30: Tea Time with a Monk
20:30~21:00: Ready for Sleep
21:00~: Sleep

Day 2:
04:00~04:30: Wake Up
04:30~05:00: Buddhist Ceremonial Service(Ye-bool)
05:00~06:30: Free Time
06:30~07:00: Temple Breakfast
07:00~11:30: Free Time
11:30~12:00: Temple Lunch
12:00: Check Out

Jeondeungsa Temple Information:

Address : 635, Onsu-ri, Gilsang-myeon Ganghwa-gun, Incheon
Tel : 82-32-937-0152 / Fax : 82-32-232-5450
homepage : http://www.jeondeungsa.org
E-mail : jeondeungsa@templestay.com

Fees:

Adults: 60,000 won; Teens: 40,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Regular Schedule; 1 nights, 2 days).

Adults: 40,000 won; Teens: 30,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Recuperation Schedule; 1 nights, 2 days).

Link:

Reservations for the Regular Schedule at Jeondeungsa Temple.

Reservations for the Recuperation Schedule at Jeondeungsa Temple.

(Courtesy of the Jeondeungsa Temple Stay website).

Wolbongsa Temple – 월봉사 (Seodaeshin-dong, Busan)

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 The amazing view of the Busan harbour from Wolbongsa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Wolbongsa Temple is another temple in the Seodaeshin-dong area of Busan. It’s another one of the temples I explored way back in 2005, and was finally getting back to exploring anew. Wolbongsa Temple is situated at the base of Mt. Gubongsan, just on the edge of the hiking trails that zig-zag through the mountain peaks and passes.

You first arrive at the temple through some of the oldest and most dilapidated houses in Busan. When you finally do arrive at the temple, you’ll notice that Wolbongsa Temple is beautifully perched on a compact temple courtyard that overlooks Busan harbour. In fact, if you look close enough, you’ll notice the Namhangdae Bridge, which you can beautifully frame in a lot of your pictures.

Stepping into the temple courtyard, the first thing to greet you is three-tier stone pagoda that’s surrounded by a set of stone lanterns. This stone pagoda stands in front of the main hall whose exterior walls are adorned with simplistic Palsang-do murals.

Stepping into the main hall, you’ll see a row of seven golden statues on the main altar. In the middle sits a triad of statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the left, and still on the main altar, is a solitary statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the right, and still on the main altar, is yet another set of golden statues. This time, the triad is centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). The interior walls to this hall are decorated with paintings of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). And hanging on the left wall is the Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural).

To the left of the main hall is the temple’s bell pavilion. Between both the bell pavilion and the main hall is a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal that stands in the center of a smaller sized lily pond.

And to the right of the main hall, and through a narrow staircase beside the monks’ dorms, is a platform where a statue of Yaksayore-bul (The Buddha of Medicine) sits, serenely overlooking the Busan harbour.

The final building that you can explore at Wolbongsa Temple, and crowning the temple heights, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The statues inside the rocky hall seem to have been haphazardly put together. The standard Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) statue stands in the centre with a Dokseong (The Recluse) statue to the right. What is strange is that a Chinese-style Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) sits to the left, which is a first for this temple adventurer.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Wolbongsa Temple, you’ll first need to make your way to Choryang Subway Station, on the first line, stop #114. From this subway station, exit out exit #8. You’ll need to take a taxi, which should take about 8 minutes (or 1.5 k.m.). And the taxi ride should cost you under 3,000 won. You can do that, or walk, which should take about 20 minutes straight up towards Mt. Gubongsan. Head towards Busan Middle School to help you towards the temple. But in walking, it might be a lot more difficult to find Wolbongsa Temple.



OVERALL RATING: 6/10. Without a doubt, the main highlight to this temple are the views, and the potential pictures you can take of Busan harbour. Other highlights are the statues inside the main altar and the serene statues of Gwanseeum-bosal and Yaksayore-bul that either sit or stand inside the temple courtyard. And in combination with the ten other temples in the area, this makes for a beautiful day trip to the Busan Station area of Busan.

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 The houses you’ll have to pass to get to Wolbongsa Temple. But just look at the view!

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 All the buildings at Wolbongsa Temple.

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 The beautiful view with Namhangdae Bridge in the distance.

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 The view to the right. If you look close enough, you can see Busan Tower.

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 The statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.

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 The view from the main hall out onto the harbour.

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 The Palsang-do murals that surround the main hall.

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 The main altar inside the main hall at Wolbongsa Temple.

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 The descriptive Shinjung Taenghwa mural inside the main hall.

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 Just one of the Nahan paintings lining the walls inside the main hall.

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 The view to the right of the main hall with the three-tier pagoda and Busan out in front of it.

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 Yaksayore-bul overlooking both Wolbongsa Temple and Busan harbour.

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 A look up from the main hall to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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 A look inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall and the statues that inhabit it.

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 A better look at Sanshin.

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 One final look before I was off again on another temple adventure.

Temple Stay: Myogaksa Temple (Seoul)

(Courtesy of the Myogaksa Temple Facebook Page).

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Myogaksa Temple is located in downtown Seoul in the Jongno-gu district. And it’s situated at the base of Mt. Naksan, so you get a great view of the entire city of Seoul. Myogaksa Temple is a relatively new temple, at least in context to its long history. Myogaksa Temple was first established in 1930 by Ven. Taeheo. The reason that he built the temple where he did, and according to geomancy, was to put the city of Seoul at ease. The temple grounds themselves are rather small; however, the temple buildings are beautifully arranged both with each other and nature. The true highlight to this temple is the beautifully carved image of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion).

As for the Temple Stay program at Myogaksa Temple, the temple runs two kinds of programs: one is overnight, while the other is a day program. The Regular Program, which runs one night and two days, focuses on meditation, communal work, prayer, and the power of silence. The two day programs are almost identical to each other, the only major difference is that one is strictly run on Saturday (and earlier in the day), while the other runs every other day (and is later in the day). During the day programs, you can enjoy bead making, a tea ceremony, or a temple tour.

(Courtesy of the Korean Temple Stay website).

Directions:

From Seoul:

Myogaksa Temple is located near Dongmyo Apt. (동묘앞 역 Line #1 or #6) subway station. Exit Dong-Myo station at exit #2 and turn left. Walk down the street 50 metres, while following the signs to Myogaksa Temple. Find the shop named Beaute (a cosmetic store) or 7-Eleven, and turn left. Walk up the hill to the first intersection. Find a small sign on a pole to direct you. Turn right at the intersection. Find a laundry shop on your right side. And keep going until you get to the temple.


크게 보기

General Schedule:

Myogaksa Temple runs three different programs at its temple. The first, and the longest of the three, is the Regular Schedule program, which lasts one night and two days. The other two programs are day programs. One is run during the week, while the other takes place only on Saturdays.

A: Regular Schedule:

Day 1:
14:30: Registration and Distribution of Uniforms
15:00: Orientation
16:00: 108 Prostrations, Making 108 Prayer Beads, Meditation
18:00: Bell-Striking and Buddhist Ceremony
18:30: Dinner
19:30: Personal Time
20:00: Preparing to Sleep
21:00: Time to Sleep

Day 2:
04:30: Wake-Up Time
05:00: Bell-Striking & Predawn Service
05:30: Early Morning Mindful Meditation
06:00: Taking a Walk in Mt. Naksan Park (Subject to change according to the weather)
07:00: Breakfast
08:00: Tea Ceremony
09:00: Group Work (Cleaning the Temple or a Room)
10:00: Departure
*Subject to change.

B: One Day Program (other than Saturday):

10:30: Registration & Distribution of Uniforms
11:00: Orientation
11:20: Making 108 Prayer Beads
12:00: Lunch (Vegetarian)
13:00: Temple Tour
13:30: Tea Ceremony & Meditation
15:00: Departure

C: One Day Program (Saturdays):

14:30: Registration & Distribution of Uniforms
15:00: Orientation
15:30: Making 108 Prayer Beads
17:00: Meditation & Tea Ceremony
18:00: Bell Striking, Buddhist Chanting Ceremony, Temple Tour
18:30: Dinner
19:30~20:00: Departure

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(Courtesy of the Myogaksa Temple website)

Myogaksa Temple Information:

Address : 178-3, Sungin-dong Jongno-gu Seoul
Tel : 82-2-763-3109 / Fax : 82-2-763-3305
homepage : http://www.myogaksa.net
E-mail : myogaktemple@naver.com

Fees:

Adults: 95,000 won; Teens: 80,000 won; Under 13: 80,000 won (Regular Schedule; 1 nights, 2 days).

Adults: 50,000 won; Teens: 40,000 won; Under 13: 40,000 won (Both One Day Programs)

Link:

Reservations for the Regular Program at Myogaksa Temple.

Reservations for the Day Program at Myogaksa Temple.

File:Myogaksa temple.jpg

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Temple Stay: Seonunsa Temple (Jeollabuk-do)

(Courtesy of the Seonunsa Temple Stay website)

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Seonunsa Temple was first built during the reign of the Baekje king, King Wideok, in 577 A.D. by the Ven. Geomdan. During the Joseon Dynasty, the temple prospered and grew to 189 temple buildings and 89 hermitages. However, like much of Korea, it was completely destroyed during the Imjin War (1592 to 1598). Now, Seonunsa Temple consists of 13 buildings including the beautiful Daeungbo-jeon Hall (Main Buddha Hall). But perhaps Seonunsa Temple is best known for the 500 year old camellia trees that bloom behind the temple. They are designated a natural monument by the Korean government. And if you get the opportunity, a visitor should really make the extra effort to visit Dosolam Hermitage on Mt. Dosolsan to see the amazing scenery.

Seonunsa Temple has one of the more diverse and dynamic Temple Stay programs in Korea. For those simply wishing to relax, they can take advantage of the Relaxation-Type program. They can pretty much come and go as they please just as long as they attend the pre-dawn and evening ceremonies. Another program that Seonunsa Temple offers is the Practicing Program, where one comes as close to living like a monk without actually being a monk. The other three schedules, which fall under the Standard Program, are the Theme-Based schedules. In these programs, a person can pick the activities that they want to enjoy whether it be a tea ceremony, making tea, or wood carving. It truly seems like Seonunsa Temple has something for everyone.

For more on Seonunsa Temple.

(Courtesy of the Seonunsa Temple Stay website)

Directions:

From Seoul, take subway lines #3, #7, or #9 to the Seoul Express Bus Terminal, and get a bus for Gochang (3 hours 40 minutes). From the Gochang Intercity Bus Terminal, you can take a local bus to Seonunsa (30 minutes).

General Schedule:

Seonunsa Temple provides 5 different types of schedules for their Temple Stay program. There are three more general schedules, with two more specific schedules for the Theme-Type Program.

A: Relaxation-Type Program:

Here is the schedule for the Relaxation-Type Schedule. This type of program is a one night two day program that simply focuses on relaxation. Although there is no strict schedule to follow, you are encouraged to attend the pre-dawn and evening ceremonies.

Day 1:

15:00~16:00: Arrival & Registration/Temple Tour (Training, Uniform Distribution & Room Assignment)
16: 00~: Free Time
17:10~17:40: Dinner
18:00~18:20: Evening Ceremonial Service
18:20~21:00: Free Time/Conversation with a Monk
21:00~21:30: Preparing for Bed
21:30~: Bed Time (Lights out)

 

Day 2:
04:00: Wake Up
04:10~04:50: Pre-Dawn Ceremonial Service
04:50~06:10: Free Time
06:10~06::50: Breakfast
06:50~: Free Time
11:50~12:30: Lunch Time
12:30~13:00: Tidy Up the Room & Packing
13:00: Departure

 

(Courtesy of the Seonunsa Temple Stay website)

B: Practicing Program:

Here is the schedule for the practicing program at Seonunsa Temple. This program provides the unique opportunity to learn about Korean Buddhism through monastic activities including 108 bows and a relic visit.

Day 1:
15:00~16:00: Arrival & Registration (Training, Uniform Distribution and a Short Temple Tour)
16:00~16:30: Temple Manners Class
16:30~17:30: Baru Meal Offering Ceremony
17:50~18:10: Striking a Bell
18:10~18:30: Evening Ceremony
18:30~19:30: Zen Meditation
19:50~21:00: Conversation with a Monk
21:00~21:30: Preparing for Bed
21:30~: Bed Time (Lights out)

 

Day 2:
04:00: Wake Up
04:10~04:50: Early Morning Ceremony
05:00~06:00: 108 Bows
06:10~06:50: Breakfast
06:50~07:50: Rest
08:00~09:00: Zen Meditation
09:00~09:30: Rest
09:30~11:30: Walking Meditation to Dosolam Hermitage
11:40~12~30: Lunch
12:30~13:00: Tidy up the Room & Packing
13:00~: Closing Ceremony & Departure

 

(Courtesy of the Seonunsa Temple Stay website)

C: The Standard-Theme Program:

Here is just one, of the three, standard theme program schedules that they offer at Seonunsa Temple. While this schedule focuses on a tea ceremony, the other activities for the two other schedules are wood carving and making green/lotus tea.

Day 1:
15:00: Arrival & Registration, Temple Tour & Temple Manners Class (Uniform Distribution & Room Assignment)
16:00: Tea Ceremony
17:10: Dinner (Evening Meal Offering)
17:50: Striking a Bell
18:00: Evening Ceremony
18:30~19:30: Making 108 Prayer Beads
19:30~20:30: Conversation with a Monk
21:00: Bedtime (Lights Out)

 

Day 2:
04:00~: Wake Up
04:10~05:00: Early Morning Ceremony
05:00~06:00: Zen Meditation
06:10~07:00: Breakfast
07:00~08:00: Communal work
08:10~11:00: Walking Meditation to Dosolam
11:40~12:20: Lunch (Mid-Day Meal Offering)
13:00: Packing & Tidy Up the Room

 

Seonunsa Temple Information:

Address : 500, Samin-ri, Asan-myeon Gochang-gun Jeollabuk-do
Tel : +82-63-561-1375 / Fax :
homepage : http://www.seonunsa.org
E-mail : seonuntemple@templestay.com

Fees:

Adults: 60,000 won; Teens: 60,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Experience-Type Schedule; 2 nights, 3 days).

Adults: 80,000 won; Teens: 80,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Theme Schedule 1 night, 2 days).

Adults: 40,000 won; Teens: 40,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Relaxation-Type Schedule 1 night, 2 days).

Link:

Reservations for the Seonunsa Temple Stay program.

General information about the Seonunsa Temple Stay program.

(Courtesy of the Seonunsa Temple Stay website)

Sudoam Hermitage – 수도암 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

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The main hall at Sudoam Hermitage in Jirisan National Park.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Sudoam Hermitage, which means “Practicing the Way Hermitage,” in English, is located on the southwest section of Jirisan National Park. The hermitage is directly affiliated with the neighbouring Cheoneunsa Temple, and it was first founded by the Supreme Master Deokun. It was later rebuilt by the monk, Doseon. The historic hermitage is widely recognized as the first residence for a Buddhist high priest in all of Korea. However, during the Yeosun Uprising in October, 1948, which was a rebellion against the South Korean government brought on by the suppression of the Jeju Uprising and the refusal of Yeosu soldiers to help suppress the rebellion, the rebels threatened to burn the hermitage to the ground. As a result, the monks at Sudoam Hermitage donated the wood at the hermitage to build a neighbouring school. This left only the bare temple grounds. So in 1980, monk Pyeongjeon-hwasang led in the rebuilding of Sudoam Hermitage.

I had heard a lot of great stuff about this hermitage from Prof. David Mason, so I thought I would explore this little corner of Jirisan National Park.

You first arrive suddenly, through a bend in the road, at Sudoam Hermitage. You’re first greeted by what looks like a fortified brick wall. What actually lies behind it, besides the bending road that leads into the hermitage, are lines of beautiful, lush trees. Finally arriving in the hermitage parking lot, you’ll notice the large monks’ quarters to your immediate right. The only thing that surpasses the size of the monks’ quarters is the mammoth sized parking garage and storage centre straight ahead. It’s past this parking garage that you’ll have to pass by to get to the main hall, the Daeung-jeon Hall, at Sudoam Hermitage.

Turning the corner, you’ll see the beautiful main hall to your left. The golden front façade, with its beautiful golden Nathwi and potted flower latticework, are truly second to none. The exterior walls are adorned with various faded paintings of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). As you enter the main hall, you’ll be welcomed by a beautiful golden interior. Sitting on the main altar is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by two standing statues of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the right and left of this golden main altar are statues and golden reliefs of the sixteen Nahan. On the far left wall is a golden guardian relief, while to the right is a beautiful golden relief of Amita-bul (the Buddha of the Western Paradise). It’s in front of this relief that I saw a picture of the deceased monk Pyeongjeon-hwasang, who put such a great emphasis on the importance of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), as well as a picture of what looks to be his sari (crystallized earthly remains).

But the real shocker came when I went to explore what was labeled the largest Sanshin-gak in all of Korea. Well, the Sanshin-gak behind the main hall has been converted into a study hall for monks. Also, the tiny shrine to the right rear of the Sanshin-gak is also gone. The only explanation is that it was removed, under a different vision of what the hermitage was supposed to represent, by the new head-monk. I was a little disappointed, to say the least.

HOW TO GET THERE: The only way to get to Sudoam Hermitage is to take a taxi from the Gurye Intercity Bus Terminal. The ride will last about 30 minutes and cost just over 10,000 won. You’ll also need to pay to get into Jirisan National Park, as well, because Sudoam Hermitage is situated within its borders.



OVERALL RATING: 4/10. Without the memorable Sanshin-gak, Sudoam Hermitage is nothing more than a main hall. And while this main hall is impressive in its own right, it’s all that Sudoam Hermitage has to offer the temple adventurer. So if you’re visiting Jirisan National Park, and you’re in the area, I would say explore; otherwise, it’s not worth the effort.

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 The amazing view from the Sudoam Hermitage courtyard.

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 A look at the main hall and the surrounding halls at the hermitage.

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 Just one of the golden Nathwi that adorns the front doors of the main hall.

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 Just one of the Buddha paintings that surrounds the exterior walls of the main hall.

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 One of the circular Nahan paintings around the base of the exterior walls.

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 The golden main altar with Seokgamoni-bul in the centre. He’s flanked on either side by Munsu-bosal and Bohyun-bosal.

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 The golden guardian relief to the left.

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 Eight of the Nahan that are backed by a couple more golden reliefs.

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 A golden relief with Amita-bul front and centre. To the bottom right is a picture of Pyeongjeon-hwasang and possibly a picture of his sari, as well.

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 To the left rear is what I hoped was the largest Sanshin-gak in Korea. It turned out to be a newly converted monk study hall.

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 The same building with the former Sanshin-gak sign out in front of it. Just behind it, you can see the older tablet shrine dedicated to Sanshin, as well.

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 The gorgeous Sanshin painting that used to take up residence in the former Sanshin-gak. It’s whereabouts is unknown.

Temple Stay: Sudeoksa Temple (Chungcheongnam-do)

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The main hall at Sudeoksa Temple, which dates back to 1308, and is the oldest wooden structure in Korea. (Courtesy of Wikipedia).

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

The exact date as to when Sudeoksa Temple was established is unknown; however, it’s believed to date back to the reign of the Baekje king, King Wideok (r. 554-598 A.D.). Sudeoksa Temple was a large temple from the Goryeo Dynasty through to the Joseon Dynasty. In 1984, the temple was awarded the distinction of becoming a Chongmin Temple, which includes a Seon room, Sutra school and a Precepts school. In total, there are only five of these types of schools in all of Korea, with the others being Haeinsa Temple, Songgwangsa Temple, Tongdosa Temple, and Baekyangsa Temple. There are many cultural properties housed at Sudeoksa Temple, but it’s best known for the Daeung-jeon Hall (The main hall). Sudeoksa Temple was one of the very few historical temples not to be destroyed during the destructive Imjin War (1592-1598). As a result, the main hall, which dates back to 1308, is the oldest wooden structure in all of Korea. Additionally, the Samcheung-tap pagoda that dates back to around the Goryeo Dynasty, the intimidating Heavenly Kings that welcome you to the temple, and the numerous temple buildings, highlight the ancient Sudeoksa Temple.

Sudeoksa Temple is one of the more popular Temple Stay programs with foreign visitors. The program is highlighted by monastic meals, a tea ceremony, and a conversation with monks from Sudeoksa Temple. A visitor can also enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds Sudeoksa Temple by taking a beautiful hike to the top of Mt. Deoksungsan. You can also enjoy the neighbouring Jeonghyesa Temple and the amazing views from the peak.

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(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Directions:

There are two ways to get to Sudeoksa Temple from Seoul. First, take subway line # 2 to Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, or you can also take subway line # 3 to the Nambu Bus Terminal, and get a bus to Yaesan (about 2 hours 30 minutes). From the Yaesan Bus Terminal, you can take a local bus directly to Sudeoksa (about 1 hour).

The other way is to take subway line # 2 to the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, or you can take subway line # 3 to the Nambu Bus Terminal, and get a bus for Hongseong (2 hours 10 minutes). From Hongseong Bus Terminal, you can take a local bus directly to Sudeoksa (40 minutes).



General Schedule:

Day 1 :

15:30 ~ 16:00: Distribution of Uniforms and Room Assignments
16:00 ~ 17:00: Orientation to Temple Etiquette.
17:00 ~ 18:00: Evening Barugongyang
18:20 ~ 19:00: Evening Prayer Service
19:00 ~ 20:30: A Conversation with a Monk
20:30 ~ 21:00: The Study of Banyasimgyeong Text
21:00 ~ 21:30: Walking Meditation
21:30: Sleep

Day 2
03:00 : Rising and Washing
03:00 ~ 04:00: Doryangseok Ritual and Morning Service
07:00 ~ 09:00: Hiking in Mount Deoksungsan
09:00 ~ 11:00: Hot Spring Bath
11:00 ~ 11:30: Buddhist Memorial Service
11:30 ~ 12:00: Afternoon Meal

(Courtesy of the Sudeoksa Temple Stay website)

Sudeoksa Temple Information:

Address: 20, Sacheon-ri, Deoksan-myeon Yesan-gun Chungcheongnam-do
Tel: +82-41-337-0137 / Fax: +82-41-337-0072
Homepage: http://www.sudeoksa.com
E-mail: ailsun@daum.net

Fees:

Adults: 100,000 won; Teens: 50,000 won; Under 13: 0 won

Link:

Reservations for the Sudeoksa Temple Stay program.

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(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Temple Stay: Beopjusa Temple (Chungcheongbuk-do)

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 The beautiful Beopjusa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Beopjusa Temple (The Place Where Buddha’s Teachings Reside Temple) is beautifully situated in Mt. Songnisan National Park. You first approach the temple up a wide riverside path that is shaded by mature pine trees. There are quite a few unique highlights to this temple like the massive main hall, the Four Heavenly Kings stone lanterns, and the lion based lantern that dates back to 720 A.D. But the two major, and massive, highlights to the temple are the 33 metre tall bronze statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) and the Palsang-jeon wooden pagoda that dates back to 1624.

There are two different Temple Stay programs at Beopjusa Temple. The first, The Relaxation Schedule, is one designed for a person that simply wants to enjoy the stress free environment of Beopjusa Temple on their own. A person can wander the grounds without having to follow a set schedule.

The other program, the Regular Schedule, follows a set schedule. During your stay, you’ll enjoy making lotus flowers, Seon meditation, and a meditative walk through the beautiful surrounding woods. So whatever your fancy, Beopjusa Temple has you covered.

For more information on Beopjusa Temple.

(Courtesy of the Korean Temple Stay website).

Directions:

To get to Beopjusa Temple, it’s a bit out of the way. You first have to take a bus to Boeun city. From the Boeun Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll have to take a direct bus to Mt. Songnisan. This bus runs every 30 to 40 minutes throughout the day. When you arrive at Songnisan Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll have to walk 20 minutes to the Beopjusa Temple/Mt. Songnisan Ticket Office.

From Seoul, there are three different ways you can get to Beopjusa Temple by using the bus:

1. From Seoul Gangnam Central Bus Terminal (Seoul Metro Line #3, Express Bus Terminal):

Departure Time : 7am, 10:30 am, 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm
Fee : 16,500 won
Duration : 3 to 3 and a half hours

2. From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal

Departure Time : 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 9:30 am ~ 12:35 pm, 14:30, 15:30 ~~
Fee : 16,900 won
Duration : 3 and a half hours

3. From Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal

Departure Time : 13:00 16:20 20:00
Fee : 16,900 won
Duration : 3 and a half hours

General Schedule:

A: Regular Schedule, Temple Stay Program: For this type of program you follow a set schedule.

Day 1:
1:00 pm: Arrival
1:30 pm: Room Assignment
2:30 pm: Orientation & Temple Tour
3:30 pm: Hiking
5:30 pm: Dinner
6:30 pm: Buddhist Ceremonial Service (Evening Chanting)
7:30 pm: Making a Lotus Flower
8:30 pm: Zen Meditation
8:30 pm: Washing Up
9:00 pm: Sleep

Day 2:
3:00 am: Wake Up
3:20 am: Early Morning Buddhist Ceremonial Service (Morning Chanting)
4:20 am: Zen Meditation
5:30 am: 108 Prostration (Bows)
6:00 am: Breakfast
7:30 am: Walking Meditation in the Woods
9:00 am: Tea Ceremony / Q&A
10:30 am: Clean Your Room
11:30 am: Lunch
12:00 noon: Departure

B: Relaxation Schedule, Temple Stay Program: For this program, there is no set schedule. Instead, the focus is simply on relaxation and rest.

(Courtesy of the Beopjusa Temple website).

Beopjusa Temple Information:

Location: Songnisan-myeon, Boeun-gun, Chungbuk, Korea
Hours of Operation: 09:00 -17:00 Korean time [Open all year round ]
Phone: +82-43-544-5656 (Korean, English)
Email: beopjusa@gmail.com (Korean, English)
Website: http://beopjusa.org/eng/main.php?menukey=23
https://twitter.com/beopjusa
http://www.facebook.com/beopjusatemple1

Address : 405, beopjusa-ro, Sokrisan-mye Boeun-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do

Tel : +82-43-544-5656 / Fax :
homepage : www.beopjusa.org
E-mail : beopjusa@gmail.com

Fees:

Adults: 70,000 won; Teens: 0 won; Under 13: 0 won (Regular Schedule: 1 night, 2 days).

Adults: 50,000 won; Teens: 0 won; Under 13: 0 won (Relaxation Schedule: 1 night, 2 days).

Link:

For Reservations to the Regular Program at Beopjusa Temple.

For Reservations to the Relaxation Program at Beopjusa Temple.

Picture 387

The oldest wooden pagoda in Korea: The Palsang-jeon pagoda.

Cheoneunsa Temple – 천은사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

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 Just one of the fierce looking Heavenly Kings at Cheoneunsa Temple in Jirisan National Park.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Cheoneunsa Temple (“Hidden Spring Temple,” in English), which is located on the southwest section of Jirisan National Park, is said to date back to 828 A.D., when it was established by the Indian monk, Seuru, and a Korean monk, Deokun. The temple was originally called Gamnosa Temple. The temple was later destroyed, like so many other temples in Korea, during the Imjin War (1592-98). The temple was soon rebuilt in 1610, but was destroyed, once more, in 1676. Again, the temple was rebuilt in 1677. This cycle was repeated in 1773, when the temple was damaged, only to be rebuilt in 1775 by monk Hyeam. It’s from this era that the present temple buildings date back to. Currently, there are twenty buildings at Cheoneunsa Temple.

After arriving in the temple parking lot, you’ll make your way up a long pathway that leads you to the Iljumun Gate. Hanging to the left, you’ll hug the neighbouring ravine that runs into a beautiful lake. This ravine eventually takes you to a bridge that is inhabited by a quaint pavilion. A bit further along, and you’ll see the Cheonwangmun Gate up a set of steep stairs. Inside the Cheonwangmun Gate are four of the fiercest and most original four Heavenly Kings that you’ll see in all of Korea. Emerging on the other side of the gate, you’ll see the temple’s bell pavilion to your right and a very unique stone lantern with a stone set of stairs out in front of it.

Up another set of stairs and you’ll finally be in the main temple courtyard. Straight ahead is the main hall at the temple, the Geuknakbo-jeon. The exterior walls are adorned with beautifully simplistic Shimu-do, Ox-herding, murals. Also, there was a large infestation of wasps around the right rear when I visited, so be warned. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, is a large seated statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by two standing statues of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

To the right of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon hall, which is dedicated to Jijang-bosal. The exterior walls are rather plain, but they are made up for by the interior. Sitting on the main altar is a stoically seated statue of a green haired Jijang-bosal. And he’s surrounded on both sides by the Ten Kings of the Underworld both in statue and painted forms.

Through a path that leads you past the main hall and the Myeongbu-jeon, you’ll come to a set of stairs that leads you to the upper terrace of buildings at Cheoneunsa Temple. In total, there are four shrine halls that you can enter in this area. The first, and to the far right, is the Nahan-jeon. Inside, and sitting on the main altar, is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by sixteen colourful statues of the Nahan, as well as a set of vibrant paintings of the Nahan.

Next to the Nahan-jeon is the Palsang-jeon hall. Inside this hall are housed eight stunning paintings from Seokgamoni-bul’s, the Historical Buddha’s, life. These paintings inside this hall are equal to the ones that you can find at Beopjusa Temple, Tongdosa Temple, or even Beomeosa Temple.

To the left of the Palsang-jeon hall is the Gwaneeum-jeon. Inside this hall is an extremely elaborate statue of Gwanseeum-bosal. This golden, one thousand armed, Bodhisattva is truly something to behold. The final hall to the far left is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. All three paintings of the shaman deities, Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Dokseong (The Recluse), are masterfully painted. The double tiger painting of Sanshin is pretty original in its own right.

Admission to the temple, for an adult, is 1,600 won.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Cheoneunsa Temple, you’ll first have to get to the city of Gurye. And to get to Gurye from Busan, you’ll first have to get to Nopo Bus Terminal, on line 1, stop # 134. The buses to Gurye from Busan leave 18 times a day, and the trip takes about three hours.

Then from the Gurye Bus Terminal, you can take a bus directly to Cheoneunsa Temple. The bus that goes to the temple leaves 6 times a day. There is a schedule in the bus terminal that tells you the exact time that they leave, but roughly, they leave at: 8:35/10:00/12:20/14:10/16:10/17:30.

And if you visit the neighbouring Hwaeomsa Temple first, you can simply take a taxi to Cheoneunsa Temple. The ride lasts about 15 minutes (or 7.7 km), and the fee should cost about 7,000 won.



OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. This temple is well populated with shrine halls. Starting with the stunning main hall and making your way up to the second terrace with the beautiful set of halls both with beautiful paintings and statues, and you have more than enough reason to visit the temple that is unfortunately dwarfed by the neighbouring, and much more popular, Ssangyesa Temple and Hwaeomsa Temple. Add into the mix the ferocious Heavenly Kings, the best in Korea, and the beautiful scenery, and you’ll have to add this temple to your list of “must sees” in Jirisan National Park.

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The path that leads up to the Iljumun Gate.

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A look at the ravine and the pavilion that spans it.

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The view of the lake from the bridge pavilion.

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A look up at the Cheonwangmun Gate.

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Another of the intimidating Heavenly Kings that takes up residence inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.

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The stone lantern with a stone staircase out in front of it.

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The neighbouring bell pavilion at Cheoneunsa Temple.

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The main hall, the Geukrakbo-jeon, and the Myeongbu-jeon, at Cheoneunsa Temple.

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Just one, from the set of ten, Shimu-do murals.

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The main altar inside the main hall with Amita-bul front and centre.

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A look inside the Myeongbu-jeon hall reveals Jijang-bosal.

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The upper terrace at the temple that houses four unique shrine halls.

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The first is this interior of the Nahan-jeon.

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And a look inside the Palsang-jeon hall with the elaborate and vibrant Palsang murals.

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Inside the third hall, the Gwaneeum-jeon, are the helpful hands of this elaborate Gwanseeum-bosal statue.

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The final hall of the four is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Here is the beautiful painting of Chilseong.

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Next to Chilseong hangs this painting of Sanshin.

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One final look at the main hall before heading off to my next adventure at Jirisan National Park.

Temple Stay: Jikjisa Temple (Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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 The main hall at Jikjisa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Jikjisa Temple (“Direct Indicator Temple”) was first established in 418 by the monk, Ado. It’s one of the oldest temples in all of Korea. In addition to its age, Jikjisa Temple is beautifully situated amongst the pines on Mt. Hwangaksan. Besides its age and beauty, the other highlights to this temple are the vast amount of halls that you can visit. The most unique and beautiful aspect is probably the hall that houses 1,000 tiny white Buddha statues. Also, the museum is well worth a look.

The Temple Stay program at Jikjisa Temple focuses on nature. Also, a Dharma talk and the 108 bowing ceremony allow for a better understanding of Korean Buddhism.

For more information on Jikjisa Temple.

(Courtesy of the Jikjisa Temple Stay program website)

Directions:

From Seoul, and if you want to take the bus, you should first take subway line # 2 to the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, and get a bus for Gimcheon (3 hours). From Gimcheon you can take a local bus to Jikjisa Temple (25 minutes).

And if you want to go to Jikjisa Temple by train from Seoul, you should first take subway lines # 1 or # 4 to Seoul Station. By KTX, it’ll take about two hours. And by slow train, “Mugunghwa”, it takes about three and a half hours. From Gimcheon Station, take a local bus, either  #11 or #111, directly to Jikjisa Temple (25 minutes).

However, if you’re leaving from Busan, you can catch a KTX train to Gimcheon from the Hwamyeong Train Station. The train to Gimcheon is about 15,000 won, and it takes about an hour.  Once you’ve arrived at the Gimcheon train station, you can catch local buses #11, #111, or #112 from the intercity bus terminal that is just right of the train station parking lot. The bus ride is 1,300 won and lasts about 10 minutes. You can also take a taxi from just out in front of the train station, as well. If you’re travelling in a group, this may be an easier way, as the ride costs about 7,000 to 10,000 won. The bus will drop you off at the bus stop which is a nice 15 minute walk to Jikjisa Temple.

General Schedule:

There are two regular Temple Stay schedules that Jikjisa Temple provides at their temple. The first is the Regular Schedule (Looking into My Mind Straightly), while the other is the Relaxation Schedule, which has no set schedule.

A: Regular Schedule (Looking into My Mind Straightly):

Day 1:

15:00 – Opening Ceremony

16:00 – Orientation

17:00 – Dinner

18:00 – Evening Worship

19:00 – A Conversation with a Monk

20:00 – Bedtime

 

Day 2:

3:00 – Wake-up Time

3:30 – Morning Worship

4:30 – Listening to Nature

5:30 – A Walk in Nature

6:00 – Breakfast

7:30 – 108 Bowing Ceremony

9:00 – Various Activities

11:00 – Lunch

12:00 – Barefoot Nature Hike

1:00 – Departure

 

(Courtesy of the Jikjisa Temple Stay program website)

Jikjisa Temple Information:

Address : 216, Unsu-ri, Daehang-myeon Gimcheon-si Gyeongsangbuk-do
Tel : +82-54-429-1716 / Fax : +82-54-436-3174
homepage : http://www.jikjisa.or.kr
E-mail : jikjisa@templestay.com

Fees:

Adults: 70,000 won; Teens: 30,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Regular Schedule)

Adults: 50,000 won; Teens: 30,000 won; Under 13: 0 won (Relaxation Schedule)

Link:

Reservations for the Regular Schedule at Jikjisa Temple

Reservations for the Relaxation Schedule at Jikjisa Temple

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 Inside the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas.