The Story of…Seonjisa Temple

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The main hall and Sanshin-gak at the very unique Seonjisa Temple in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

I first visited Seonjisa Temple a year and a half ago, and I invited people to visit this unique temple on the west side of Gimhae in Gyeongsangnam-do. I’m not sure if anyone really took me up on this offer, but I hope a few of you did just to meet the head monk.

I first heard about Seonjisa Temple while watching a Korean documentary about the temple. There are quite a few unique aspects to this temple like the Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) statue that dates back to 1605, as well as the 500 Nahan (The Disciples of the Buddha) statues that reside inside the main hall at Seonjisa Temple. And until I met the head monk at the temple, I thought the most unique feature to the temple was having Jesus in the main hall alongside Buddhist figures and paintings.

My wife and I were preparing to leave when the head monk, and only monk at the temple, waved us over for tea. He’s a very nice man that has a lot of followers that come to the temple. It was only when he started talking that I really understood that not only was he kind, but that he was a bit odd in his personal beliefs, as well.

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Jesus front and centre inside the main hall at Seonjisa Temple.

At first, he simply talked about some of the Buddha’s teachings, as well as Korean history. Then, the conversation turned left as he hit upon a few other topics. A couple things really stood out during our 45 minute conversation like how Jesus is a disciple (a Nahan) of the Buddha. Now, that’s not all together surprising as a few of their philosophical ideologies overlap; but what surprised me was when he said that Jesus visited China to learn the Buddha’s teachings and that there is actually physical proof at one of the monasteries there. And how does he know this? Well, he went and visited this monastery during one of his trips to China.

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Old or new technology? You be the judge.

Okay, a bit of a stretch, but what was to follow really threw me for a loop. He claimed that the continents separated, not from geological or seismic activity, but from nuclear bombs. He claimed that nuclear bomb technology is an old idea. In fact, if true (according to him), nuclear bomb technology is over 200 million years old. This is quite extraordinary being that homo sapiens date back to a mere 200,000 years ago. And how could he be so sure of this? According to him, he learned all of this through his studies.

As I said, while the head monk is really nice, some of his ideas are a bit out there. He only speaks a little English, so you’ll either have to speak Korean for yourself or bring a Korean friend along, if you want to hear his ideas on world and religious history. I can guarantee you, your trip to Seonjisa Temple will be well worth it.

For more on Seonjisa Temple, please follow this link.

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A broader look at the 500 Nahan statues inside the main hall at Seonjisa Temple.

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