Colonial Korea: Ssanggyesa Temple – 쌍계사 (Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

Ssanggyesa - 1916 - Jingapseon Sabi

National Treasure #47, The Stele for Master Jingam at Ssanggyesa Temple in Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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Ssanggyesa Temple, which means “Twin Streams Temple,” in English, was first founded in 722 A.D. The temple was first established by the monks Daebi and Sambeop, who were the disciples of the famed Uisang-daesa. After being instructed by the Jirisan Sanshin, in the form of a tiger, to create a temple in a valley where the arrowroot blossomed even during winter, the two set out to establish Ssanggyesa Temple just north of modern day Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do in the heart of Jirisan National Park.

So after returning from China, where they furthered their Buddhist training, they returned with the skull and portrait of Huineng (the Sixth Patriarch of Seon [Zen] Buddhism). They enshrined both under the main hall at Ssanggyesa Temple. It was only later that the skull was retrieved and enshrined in a stone pagoda behind the Daeung-jeon Hall at Ssanggyesa Temple.

Originally called Okcheonsa Temple, the monk Jingam-seonsa (774-850 A.D.) renamed the temple in 840 A.D. to Ssanggyesa Temple. A stele, which is dedicated to Jingam-seonsa, and written by Choi Chi-won (857- ?), stands in the temple courtyard. It’s designated National Treasure #47.

During the Imjin War, all the temple buildings were completely destroyed by fire. Now, most of the temple buildings date back to the 17th century.

Ssanggyesa - Jaengsang Mokpio

A wooden totem outside Ssanggyesa Temple.

Ssanggyesa2 - Iljumun

The Iljumun Gate at the temple in 1933.

Ssanggyesa1 - Cheonwangmun

Which is joined by the Cheonwangmun Gate in 1933.

Ssanggyesa4 - Geumgangmun

As well as the Geumgangmun Gate in 1933.

Ssanggyesa3 - Cheonghakru

The Cheonghak-ru Pavilion at Ssanggyesa Temple in 1933.

Ssanggyesa9 - Palsangjeon

The special Palsang-jeon Hall at Ssanggyesa Temple in 1933.

Ssanggyesa10 - Palsangjeon

A closer look at the Palsang-jeon Hall.

Ssanggyesa5 - Daeungjeon

The Daeung-jeon main hall at Ssanggyesa Temple in 1933.

Sssanggyesa1 - 1916 - Jingapseon Sabi

Another look at the Stele for Master Jingam. This picture was taken in 1916.

Ssanggyesa2 - 1916 - Jingapseon Sabi

And a closer look at the dragon swirling capstone to the stele.

Ssanggyesa6 - Daeungjeon

A closer look at the Daeung-jeon main hall.

Ssanggyesa7 - Daeungjeon

A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

Ssanggyesa8 - Daeungjeon

The expansive main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

Ssanggyesa11 - Guksajeon

The Guksa-jeon Hall at Ssanggyesa Temple in 1933.

Ssanggyesa12 - Chilseong-jeon

The Chilseong-gak at the temple.

Ssanggyesa13

And one of the stupas at Ssanggyesa Temple.

CSC_0370 - 2012

The Iljumun Gate in 2012.

CSC_0649 - 2012

The Cheonwangmun Gate in 2012.

DSC02024 - 2005

The Palsang-jeon Hall in 2005.

DSC_0237 - 2012

The main hall at Ssanggyesa Temple in 2012.

DSC02015 - 2005

National Treasure #47, The Stele for Master Jingam at Ssanggyesa Temple in 2005.

DSC_0269 - 2012

The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall at Ssanggyesa Temple in 2012.

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