The eight metre tall Buddha head that greets you at Waujeongsa Temple in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Waujeongsa Temple, which is located in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, was first established in 1970 by the monk Kim Hae-Geum. Kim was a displaced monk during the Korean War. The temple is a reflection of this displacement, as Waujeongsa Temple’s stated goal is the reunification of North and South Korea. It’s also the birthplace and headquarters to the highly unique Korean Buddhist Nirvana Order.
You first approach the temple, which is beautifully located on the southern slopes of Mt. Eunesan. Having passed through the gravel parking lot, you’ll first notice the massive, golden Buldu (Buddha’s head) straight ahead of you. Eight metres in height, this wooden head is the largest of its kind in the world and is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for this feat. Perched over top an artificial pond, this unique statue is an indication of things to come at Waujeongsa Temple.
Past the visitors’ centre, you’ll make your way up an incline towards the rest of the temple grounds. The first site to greet you is a collection of pagodas that are both unique in style and substance. These pagodas are made from stones from various religious sites throughout the world.
To the right of these pagodas is the temple’s Daeung-jeon main hall. Newly built, the main hall still lacks the typical dancheong paint scheme that makes Korean temple buildings so unique. Housed inside the main hall are a collection of five statues centred by Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). To the right of the main hall is a twelve ton Unification Bell that is gold in colour and was struck at the start of the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Spread throughout the entire temple grounds are over 3,000 statues, which starts with the twelve diminutive zodiac generals out in front of the main hall. They are also joined by a contemplative bronze Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) statue.
A little further along, and up the gradual inclines of the mountain, are a pair of fierce Vajra warrior statues that protect the entry to a cave that houses a twelve metre long statue of a reclining Buddha that was made from juniper trees from Indonesia.
To the right of the cave shrine hall is a cathedral like shrine hall that houses a Thai-influenced statue of the Buddha. The cathedral hall is beautifully adorned with intricate stain-glass windows. To the left of this hall, and past a collection of cairn pagodas reminiscent of Tapsa Temple, you’ll make your way up a path that leads you past a peeling collection of Palsang-do murals. While slowly losing their battle to time, these murals are some of the most beautiful that you’ll see at any temple in Korea.
Having made your way half-way up the slope, you’ll notice an enclave of stone statues that represent the five hundred Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). From this vantage point, you’ll notice a unique structure perched just above the tombstone-like statues of the Nahan. So make your way up the path to see yet another shrine hall housed inside a cave. The large pillars and the swirling Biseon artwork that adorns the bottom of the dome, welcomes you to the site where (I believe) some of the Buddha’s sari (crystallized remains) are housed at Waujeongsa Temple.
HOW TO GET THERE: There are two ways to get to Waujeongsa Temple from Seoul. The first is from Jamsil Station (Line 2). After taking exit #6 or #7, board Bus #5600 or #5800 to Yongjin Intercity Bus Terminal. From this terminal, take a bus to Wonsam. You’ll need to get off at the Waujeongsa Temple stop.
Another way you can get to Waujeongsa Temple from Seoul is to catch a bus from Gangnam Station (Line 2). After taking Exit #10, you can take either Bus #5001 or #5002 to the Yongjin Intercity Bus Terminal. Again, board a bus destine for Wonsam. And again, get off at the Waujeongsa Temple stop.
All the buses bound for Wonsam come at about a 15 minute interval.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10. Just for its originally alone, it rates as highly as it does. The temple’s uniqueness starts at the entry of the temple with the eight metre tall Buddha head, Buldu, and makes its way up the winding paths that comprise Waujeongsa Temple. Other amazing features are the uniquely designed pagodas, the Unification Bell, the cathedral hall, the juniper tree Buddha, as well as the Buddha’s sari. If you want to see something a little different than your typical Korean Buddhist temple, have a look at Waujeongsa Temple.
The eight metre tall Buldu at the entry of Waujeongsa Temple.
The beautiful bell that stands out in front of the eight metre tall wooden Buddha head.
The pagoda made from various religious sites from around the world.
Some of the amazing statues strewn throughout the temple grounds.
A look towards the main hall at Waujeongsa Temple.
A look inside the Daeung-jeon.
The courtyard surrounding the main hall.
The contemplative Mireuk-bul.
A roof-tile pagoda and Vajra warrior.
The cave shrine hall that houses the juniper statue of the Buddha.
The Thai-like statue of the Buddha surrounded by stain-glass windows.
A look at the field of cairns at Waujeongsa Temple.
One of the masterful Palsang-do murals at the temple.
A collection of stone statues dedicated to the Nahan.
The second cave shrine hall at Waujeongsa Temple.
The entry to the shrine hall.
The ceiling painting at the entry.
A look inside the cave shrine hall with an emaciated stone statue dedicated to the Buddha.
The view of the temple grounds.