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Donghaksa Temple – 동학사 (Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do)

Fri, 2020-10-23 08:25
The View from the Samseong-gak Hall at Donghaksa Temple.

 Hello Again Everyone!!

Donghaksa Temple, which means “Eastern Crane Temple,” in English, is located in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do. Originally, the temple was first constructed in 724 A.D. by the little known monk Sangwon-josa. One source claims Sangwon-josa was a monk from Tang China. The temple was called Cheongryangsa Temple, or “Clear Cold Temple,” in English. It was called this in honour of the cool mountain stream that flowed, and still flows, in front of the temple. According to one legend, Sangwon-josa saved the life of a tiger. In order to repay the monk, the tiger brought a young woman to the temple. Sangwon-josa decided to adopt the young woman, and he treated her like a sister. Together, Sangwon-josa taught the woman, and they studied the dharma side-by-side.

Later, the temple was re-established by Hoeui-hwasang, when Hoeui-hwasang built two pagodas to preserve the remains of his master, Sangwon-josa, and to honour both his master and his adopted sister.

Later, the temple was reconstructed in 920 A.D. under the order of the Goryeo Dynasty founding king, King Taejo Wang Geon (r. 918-943 A.D.). The reason that the temple was rebuilt was to protect the kingdom from its enemies. The temple was rebuilt under the guidance of the geomantic principles found in the Pungsu-jiri philosophy of Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.). Prior to it being rebuilt, Doseon-guksa had declared this site to be an important place for the defense of the nation and its prosperity.

In 936 A.D., Cheongryangsa Temple was expanded by Yuchadal. The temple was enlarged by Yuchadal, who was a surviving vassal of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). In order to establish his loyalty to the newly formed Goryeo Kingdom, Yuchadal expanded the temple. In addition to helping establish his loyalty, Yuchadal also provided a remote training centre for monks in the highly sacred mountain range of Mt. Gyeryongsan (845 m). Furthermore, the temple was expanded to help balance Gapsa Temple and Sinwonsa Temple that are located to the west.

It was also at this time that Cheongryangsa Temple was renamed by Yuchadal. The temple name was changed to its current name: Donghaksa Temple. The reason it was renamed Donghaksa Temple, or “Eastern Crane Temple,” in English, is because there was a rock that looked like a crane standing on the east side of the temple grounds. Additionally, the name of the temple, Donghaksa Temple, can also mean “Crane on the East.” This idea is related to the notion that a white crane is a sacred bird in Buddhism. It symbolically means the virtue of scholarship and communication with heaven. This rock, sadly, was destroyed during the Musin Revolt.

Throughout the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Donghaksa Temple remained a influential and important temple. Tragically, Donghaksa Temple was destroyed by fire in 1754. Donghaksa Temple was later rebuilt in 1814 by the monk Geumbongworin-hwasang. In 1864, the temple was renovated by the monk Boseon-seonsa.

During the latter part of the 19th century, Donghaksa Temple became newly famous as the teaching temple of Master Gyeongheo (1849-1912). Gyeongheo was the most important Seon master at the end of the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongheo was the 75th Patriarch of Korean Seon. He also helped revive Seon Buddhism in Korea. Perhaps most importantly of all is that his disciples were extremely important in the transmission of the dharma in Korea.

Donghaksa Temple was completely destroyed by fire, once again, during the Korean War (1951-1953). However, from 1960 to 1975, Donghaksa Temple was rebuilt. Currently, it’s used as a nuns’ training centre. It was the first such temple in Korea; and in total, it currently houses one hundred and fifty nuns who study and reside at Donghaksa Temple.

In total, Donghaksa Temple is home to two Korean Treasures. Additionally, the Samseong-gak Hall at Donghaksa Temple is Chungcheongnam-do Cultural Heritage #57.

Donghaksa Temple is located up a long valley to the east of Mt. Gyeryongsan. The trail up to the temple skirts a meandering stream from the temple’s origin story. Along the way, you’ll come across a handful of hermitages that are directly associated with Donghaksa Temple like Munsuam Hermitage, Gwaneumam Hermitage, Gilsangam Hermitage, and Mitaam Hermitage.

Just before you arrive at the temple, you’ll find a memorial compound with locked doors. In total, there are three shrines: Sukmo-jeon, Donggyesa, and Sameun-gak. The first of the three, and the most important, is the Sukmo-jeon Shrine. The memorial tablet for King Danjong of Joseon (r.1452-1455), who was overthrown and killed under the orders of King Sejo (r.1455-1468), is housed at this shrine. Additionally, six court officials that attempted to restore King Danjong to the throne the following year, and were subsequently killed in the process, also have their memorial tablets housed inside the Sukmo-jeon Shrine, as well. This shrine has been destroyed and rebuilt several times just like Donghaksa Temple.

Another of these shrines is the Donggyesa Shrine. Housed inside this shrine is the memorial tablet for Park Jesang, who was a loyal royal servant to King Nulji of Silla (r.417-458 A.D.). According to history, Park Jesang sacrificed his life to save the life of the king’s brother from Japanese captivity. In 936 A.D., during the early part of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), Yuchadal memorialized Park Jesang’s sacrifice through a memorial tablet and shrine. Later, in 1956, Yuchadal was also enshrined at Donggyesa Shrine.

The final shrine of the three is dedicated to three late Goryeo Dynasty loyalists. Jeong Mongju, Lee Saek, and Gil Jae all have their memorial tablets housed inside this shrine.

Continuing up the trail, you’ll finally come to the Donghaksa Temple courtyard. The temple grounds are beautifully maintained. In front of the Daeung-jeon Hall stands a three-story stone pagoda that’s believed to date back to 723 A.D. While the base is new in construction, the body is original. Past the three-story stone pagoda that stands squarely in the temple courtyard, you’ll see the Daeung-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life). These paintings are beautifully rendered, and they even have English explanations attached to them. One of the main highlights to Donghaksa Temple is the gorgeous latticework that adorns the front doors to the main hall. Resting on the main altar are a triad of wooden statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). These statues are Korean Treasure #1719. The statues were first created in 1606, and there were prayer scrolls found inside one of them which is Korean Treasure #1720. These scrolls predate the Imjin War (1592-1598); and therefore, the statues that they were found in.

Another impressive highlight to Donghaksa Temple is the Samseong-gak Hall to the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall. Uniquely, there are in fact four paintings housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall at Donghaksa Temple. In addition to having paintings of Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), there’s also a painting of a seated image of Yongwang (The Dragon King). There are also older Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deity) paintings that adorn the ceiling of this shaman shrine hall, so take your time and enjoy all that this amazing Samseong-gak Hall has to offer a visitor.

To the left of the Samseong-gak Hall and the Daeung-jeon hall is a newly built building meant for the housing and training of Korean Buddhist nuns.

Admission to the temple is 3,000 won.

HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get to Donghaksa Temple is from the city of Daejeon. You can take Bus #107 from the Yuseong Intercity Bus Terminal. The bus goes directly to Donghaksa Temple, and the bus ride takes forty minutes.

OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10. So much of Donghaksa Temple’s appeal is the natural beauty that surrounds it at Mt. Gyeryongsan National Park. Added to all of this natural beauty are the beautiful shaman murals housed inside the Samseong-gak Hall, the triad that rests on the Daeung-jeon Hall main altar, the ornate latticework adorning the front doors of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and the history found inside the loyalist shrines just outside the Donghaksa Temple grounds.

The beautiful stream that joins you on your way up to Donghaksa Temple. More from the beautiful valley leading up to Donghaksa Temple. The entry to the Sukmo-jeon, Donggyesa, and Sameun-gak shrines The three-story stone pagoda at Donghaksa Temple. The Daeung-jeon Hall. The eighth painting in the Palsang-do set. A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. The Yongwang (Dragon King) painting inside the Samseong-gak Hall. And the Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) painting at Donghaksa Temple.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #55: Comparisons

Fri, 2020-10-23 03:22

In this lesson (episode 55) you'll learn how to make comparisons - how to compare a noun to another noun. You'll learn how to say something is "more" or "less" than something else, as well as how to say something is the "same" or "different" or "similar." And you'll learn how to say that something is "like" something else, as well as how to say that something is the "most" or the "best."

Remember that all videos in this series go in order, so start from the beginning if it's your first time here. There will be a total of 100 episodes once this series is completed.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #55: Comparisons appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.




Eric Podcast Host By Jannelle

Thu, 2020-10-22 18:55

Liquid Arts Network · Eric Podcast Host By JannelleIn this episode, host Janelle Caldwell interviews New York native and Gwangju-based folk singer Eric Ratner. They discuss Eric's life before Korea, his journey to Korea, how he came to music. Eric also performs three songs, including two covers by well-known Korean singer-songwriters. Guest: Eric Ratner Host: Janelle CaldwellProduced by Valerie Mabelle

"About" 쯤 정도 약 | Live Class Abridged

Thu, 2020-10-22 02:37

This past Sunday we had a live Korean class about words for "about" and "approximately."

These included 약, 쯤, 정도, and others.

We also covered the grammar forms 정도로, 쯤 하다, and 즈음 (즘).

This level was for both beginners and intermediate learners.

The post "About" 쯤 정도 약 | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

The Best Way to Explore Incheon in Korea

Wed, 2020-10-21 14:09

Venture into the city of the international airport, Incheon. Surrounded by the west sea, the city is all about versatility from the port, old downtown to sleek skycrapers. 

If you're especially into taking pictures of your travel memories, Incheon has plenty of wonderful photo spots ready for you! 


1. Wolmi Island

Wolmi Island is one of the must-see attractions in Incheon and it is a place for a perfect getaway from busy city life. Wolmi Island is a small islet with a spectacular view of the sea and the lighthouse. Wolmido Light House Road is one of the best photo zones in Wolmi Island. There is also an iconic ‘Incheon’ sign just like ‘Iamsterdam’ in Amsterdam, which is a popular selfie spot.

Wolmi Theme Park & My Land are the iconic theme parks in Wolmi Island that reminds of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Like Coney Island, it is next to the sea and the attractions are very colorful and vintage. Biking and Disco Pang Pang are the most popular rides that you must try out!


2. Sinpo International Market Area

Sinpo International Market is a local market where you can try delicious local foods, such as chicken, dumplings, Konggalbbang (a Korean snack originally introduced by the local Korean Chinese people), and many more. The most popular food is Sinpo Dakgangjeong, which is a crunchy Korean fried chicken, and you will see the long queue in front of the shop even on weekdays.


3. Open Port Area (Gaehangjang)

Since there are old remains of the first foreign settlers of Korea in the Open Port Area, you can take photos as if you have traveled back in time. You can also dress up as a character from Korean history, by renting Korean traditional hanbok or 19th-century costume! Visiting the Life Museum is highly recommend as well since you can see how the lifestyle of Koreans has evolved. Taking Instagram photos with the background of exhibitions is a plus!


4. China Town

Just next to the Open Port Area, there is China Town, where you can experience the Chinese influence on the city and feel as if you are in China! There are also many good Chinese restaurants where you can try the Korean version of Chinese Food, such as Jajangmyeon (a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of chunjang), Jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle), and Tangsuyuk (sweet and sour beef or pork). The extravagant red color of the buildings makes the place photogenic!


5. Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village

Last but not least, Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village is strongly suggested to Instagram and TikTok lovers. It is a small residential area next to China Town, where you can see the fairy tale themed decorations on every corner and wall. Have fun trying to find all 10 landmark photo spots that include fairy tale characters, such as Pinocchio, Snow White, and Spider-Man!

Visit to find out more things to do in Incheon, the city where you can meet the past and the present.
a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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Taeansa Temple – 태안사 (Gokseong, Jeollanam-do)

Wed, 2020-10-21 09:35
The Picturesque Yeon-ji Pond at Taeansa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Taeansa Temple, which is located on Mt. Bongdusan (753.8 m), or Mt. Dongrisan (as the temple calls this mountain), in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do. And even though it’s several kilometres away from Mt. Jirisan (1915 m), the temple is still considered part of the greater Mt. Jirisan area. The name of the temple means “Grand Peace Temple,” in English. According to historical documents, Taeansa Temple was first constructed in February, 742 A.D. by three master monks. Later, Great Meditation Master Hyecheol Jeogin-seonsa (785-861 A.D.), who received Buddhist teachings from Grand Master Seodang-jijang of Tang China, returned to the Silla Kingdom. He established Dongrisanmun, which was one of the Gusan Seonmun (Seon’s Nine Original Sects). He expanded the formerly small Taeansa Temple.

Later, Doseon-guksa (826-898 A.D.), the founder of Pungsu (Korean Geomancy), learned under Master Hyecheol. Doseon-guksa achieved enlightenment at Taeansa Temple. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), the temple was repaired and expanded by the monk Gwangja-daesa (864-945 A.D.) in 919 A.D. The temple, at this time, housed forty buildings. It was also home to a famous statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise), which stood 1.4 metres in height and was made from iron.

The temple was again repaired in 1223 by the influential official Choi U. Also, Hyoryeong, the second son of King Taejong (r.1400-1418), stayed at Taeansa Temple. During his stay, he built Wandang (a temple building) and wrote the Wandang Wangi. At this time, the temple became a site of royal patronage.

Sadly, the temple was completely destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-1598) by the invading Japanese. However, not long after, it was rebuilt and restored to its former condition. During Japanese Colonization (1910-1945), Taeansa Temple became a branch temple to Hwaeomsa Temple. But once more, tragedy struck, as most of the temple buildings like the Daeung-jeon Hall were destroyed during the Korean War (1950-1953). A few of the temple structures that weren’t destroyed were the Iljumun Gate (The One Pillar Gate), the Boje-ru Pavilion, and the Neungpa-gak Bridge. Fortunately, reconstruction of the temple commenced in the 1970’s to return Taeansa Temple to its former glory. Still large parts of the temple are off-limits, as the temple is known as a quiet contemplative site for meditation. Previously, Taeansa Temple was only open once a year for Buddha’s Birthday. Now, the temple is open to the public.

In total, Taenansa Temple is home to five Korean Treasures. It also houses three additional provincial treasures.

The long valley, which stretches up a dirt road for 1.8 kilometres, is one of the most beautiful temple entries in all of Korea. The entry is especially beautiful during the fall months with the colourful foliage. You’ll know that you’re nearing the temple grounds when you encounter a large pagoda dedicated to the Korean War.

A little further up the dirt road, and you’ll notice the Neungpa-gak Bridge. This wooden bridge links the temple grounds to the hermitages that surround Taeansa Temple. This beautiful wooden bridge has a blue dragon adorning the ceiling, and this blue dragon has extra long whiskers. Neungpa-gak Bridge spans a narrow stream that flows down and through jagged rocks, creating a cascade of rolling water.

The next thing to greet you at Taeansa Temple is the elevated artificial pond at the temple. This pond is called Yeon-ji Pond, and sitting in the centre of Yeon-ji Pond is a three-story stone pagoda that’s believed to date back to the early Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). This pagoda was recently restored from the gathered remains of a pagoda that formerly stood around the stupa dedicated to the monk Gwangja-daesa. This pagoda is Jeollanam-do Cultural Material #170. Additionally, there is a stone bridge that spans the length of the pond which allows you up-close access to the ancient pagoda.

Now approaching from the south-west, you’ll be welcomed to the temple grounds by the ornate Iljumun Gate, or the “One Pillar Gate,” in English. This entry gate survived the destruction that consumed most of the temple grounds. The Iljumun Gate was first constructed at Taeansa Temple in 1683, and it underwent two repairs in 1917 and 1980. The Iljumun Gate is Jeollanam-do Tangible Cultural Heritage #83. Interestingly, there are two name plaques on the gate. One reads “Taeansan Temple of Dongrisan Mountain.” And the other reads, “Bonghwangmun Gate.”

To the east, you’ll notice the recently renovated Budowon, which houses the stele and stupas of monks that once called Taeansa Temple home. Of this collection, it’s the Stele of Buddhist Monk Gwangja (Korean Treasure #275) and the Stupa of Buddhist Monk Gwangja (Korean Treasure #274) that are most noteworthy. The stele’s body has been destroyed with only fragments of it still remaining. The base of the stele is a short-necked turtle. And the capstone of the stele is highly ornate with four snake-heads on each of the corners, either vines or clouds intertwining throughout the capstone, and a Geungnakjo (Imaginary Bird that Lives in the Buddhist Heavens) at the front and centre of the capstone. This stele was built in 950 A.D., which was five years after Gwangja-daesa died. As for the stupa, it’s well-preserved. The body of the stupa is adorned with the Four Heavenly Kings, and lotus flowers are carved onto the upper pedestal. This stupa, like the stele dedicated to Gwangja-daesa, was constructed in 950 A.D.

A little further up the path, you’ll notice the Boje-ru Pavilion to your left. This pavilion is joined by the temple’s bell pavilion, which is called a Jong-gak Pavilion, in Korean. As you enter the main temple courtyard, you’ll notice the Daeung-jeon Hall straight ahead of you. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with Buddhist motif murals. And as you step inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, and resting on the main altar, is a triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). The murals inside the Daeung-jeon Hall are dedicated to famous monks like the Bodhidharma. Hanging on the left wall is a mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal, and hanging on the right wall is the Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

To the left rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall is the newly built Samseong-gak Hall. Housed inside this shaman shrine hall are three murals dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), and Dokseong (The Lonely Spirit). Previously, there had been no Samseong-gak Hall at Taeansa Temple, which made it one of the few Jogye-jong Order temples not to have this shaman shrine hall. I guess this decision was recently reconsidered. Now, you’ll find three newly painted shaman murals with a very aggressive-looking tiger in the Sanshin mural.

To the right rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall is the Yaksa-jeon Hall, which was formerly the Cheonbul-jeon Hall (at least according to the temple map at Taeansa Temple). Except for the dancheong traditional colours, the Yaksa-jeon Hall exterior walls are unadorned. As for the interior, you’ll find a solitary statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) on the main altar.

To the rear of the Yaksa-jeon Hall, and up a set of uneven stone stairs and through an entry gate, you’ll find another Budowon. Housed inside this area is the Stupa of Master Jeokin, which is Korean Treasure #273. The stupa is believed to date back to 861 A.D. This highly ornate stupa is adorned with lions around the base, the Four Heavenly Kings around the base of the stupa, and symbolic images of elephant eyes carved on each side of the middle pedestal.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Gokseong Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take a bus bound for Wondal using the Amnok bus. The bus ride will take an hour and a half, and it lasts forty-nine stops. You’ll need to get off at the Wondal Stop, which is where Taeansa Temple is located, and then walk the 2.5 km into the temple.

OVERALL RATING: 8/10. Taeansa Temple is scenically located deep in the mountain away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In fact, and until recently, the temple was off-limits to visitors to preserve the tranquil meditative nature of the Taeansa Temple. In addition to its beautiful location, Taeansa Temple has a handful of treasured historic artifacts and an exquisite three-story pagoda in the centre of a large artificial pond. Taeansa Temple seems like a temple from a different century, preserving the original nature of Seon Buddhism.

The Neungpa-gak Bridge at the entry of Taeansa Temple. The Yeon-ji Pond with the three-story Goryeo Dynasty pagoda at its centre. The Stele of Buddhist Monk Gwangja (Korean Treasure #275). The Stupa of Buddhist Monk Gwangja (Korean Treasure #274). Inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. The newly constructed Samseong-gak Hall. Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) inside the Samseong-gak Hall. A look towards the Yaksa-jeon Hall. The Stupa of Master Jeokin (Korean Treasure #273).

Gwaneum-jeon – Hall of Avalokitesvara: 관음전

Tue, 2020-10-20 12:56
Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) from Okjeongsa Temple in Gijang-gun, Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Perhaps the most popular shrine hall at a Korean temple, outside the Daeung-jeon main hall, is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. The Gwaneum-jeon Hall is a hall dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). Compassion, in this sense, is often associated in Korean Buddhism with the unconditional love of a mother. This hall is typically packed with worshipers all hours of the day and days of the week.

Gwanseeum-bosal means “the hearer of cries,” in English. Gwanseeum-bosal was born from a ray of light emanating from Amita-bul’s right eye. As a result of her origins, Gwanseeum-bosal is closely associated with Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). In fact, Gwanseeum-bosal is thought to be the Bodhisattva incarnation of Amita-bul, and so she’s often situated to the left of Amita-bul in Korean Buddhist temples as an aid that brings enlightenment (a freedom from suffering) to all sentient beings.

Inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall at Suwolseonwon Temple in Buk-gu, Busan.

As for Gwanseeum-bosal’s appearance, she’s one of the easier figures to identify in Korean Buddhism for a couple of reasons. The first is the very sex of Gwanseeum-bosal. In India, Gwanseeum-bosal is male; however, in Korea, she closely resembles a female, even though in some statues and paintings Gwanseeum-bosal sports a moustache. The reason for this change came with the migration of Buddhism eastwards, where emotions like compassion and mercy are generally thought to be feminine traits. Another easy way to identify Gwanseeum-bosal is that she usually wears a large and regal-looking golden crown with an image of Amita-bul squarely in the centre of the crown. This is a sign of the emanation of Amita-bul’s wisdom.

But perhaps the most common representation of Gwanseeum-bosal, at least in Korea, is the one where she has a thousand hands and eyes. These hands and eyes are used to reach out to those in need of help. In addition to these hands and eyes, Gwanseeum-bosal can also have nine or eleven heads, which represents her all-knowing understanding and acceptance of nature. In her eleven-headed incarnation, the three heads to the left signify anger, while the three to the right have a serene smile. The three heads to the back bear an expression of compassion, while the largest one to the front exudes a balance of serenity. The eleventh, and final, head at the very back is laughing, which is a sign of her wisdom.

Cheonbulsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

However, Gwanseeum-bosal can also be depicted in 33 different forms. These 33 different forms exist so as to help save sentient beings from their different needs. With this in mind, other ways Gwanseeum-bosal can appear is either seated or standing. She can also be holding any number of objects in her hands. One such object is a bottle. This bottle is said to be filled with ambrosia for quenching the thirst of sentient beings, while also washing away their troubles. And in her other hand she can hold a willow spray. This willow spray represents her ability to sprinkle “sweet dew” on the needy. The willow, which has long been considered to have medicinal purposes, also symbolizes her role as a healer. As for paintings, Gwanseeum-bosal is often depicted near water alongside Yongwang (The Dragon King). This depiction suggests her closeness to her paradise. In paintings, Gwanseeum-bosal is often wearing white clothes. In addition to her white clothing, she’s often wearing jewelry and a regal crown.

Inside the Wontong-jeon Hall at Beopjusa Temple. And inside the Wontong-jeon Hall at Haeunjeongsa Temple in Haeundae-gu, Busan.

In temples where Gwanseeum-bosal is the central image inside the main hall, the main hall is called a Wontong-jeon. Wontong-jeon means “Passing Through with Ease,” in English. This refers to the idea that Gwanseeum-bosal has the power to get by any difficulty, so a person should pray for her blessings. Specifically, she can be found in Wontong-jeon Halls at Haeunjeongsa Temple in Busan, or Beopjusa Temple in Boeun-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do.

Because of her popularity, Gwanseeum-bosal often appears throughout temples as a statue. Great examples of this can be seen at Naksansa Temple in Yangyang, Gangwon-do, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in eastern Busan, and the multi-armed and headed Gwanseeum-bosal at Girimsa Temple in Gyeongju.

So the next time you’re at a Korean Buddhist temple, have a look for this ornate figure. Gwanseeum-bosal is probably easy to find because the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, where she is typically housed, is well-attended by devotees.

Why the Last Name “Kim” (김) is Written as “Gold” (金) | Korean FAQ

Tue, 2020-10-20 02:19

The Korean last name 김 is actually written in 한자 using 金.

金 is read as 금, and means "gold."

So then why is the last name 김, and not 금?

The answer has to do with history, and specifically the Mongolians.

The post Why the Last Name “Kim” (김) is Written as “Gold” (金) | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Singyesa Temple – 신계사 (Onjong-ri, Kosŏng-gun, Kangwon-do, North Korea)

Mon, 2020-10-19 08:45
The Taeung-jeon Hall and Silla-era Three-Story Pagoda at Singyesa Temple in North Korea.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Singyesa Temple, which is located in Onjong-ri, Kosong-gun, Kangwon-do, North Korea, was first founded in 519 A.D. The temple was founded during the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. to 935 A.D.), and it was once one of the largest Buddhist temples in and around Mt. Kumgangsan (1638 m). The location of Singyesa Temple was initially chosen as a site in the Mt. Kumgangsan area because of the mountain’s natural beauty. Through the centuries, Singyesa Temple continued to grow until it became one of the four major temples of Mt. Kumgangsan alongside Pyohunsa Temple, Jangansa Temple, and Yujomsa Temple.

Singyesa Temple lasted until Japanese Colonization (1910-1945), when the temple became a well-known destination for Japanese tourists. During Japanese Colonization, Japanese tourists would refer to the temple as Shinkei-ji (Japanese pronunciation). Sadly, the entire temple complex, including all the historic temple shrine halls, were destroyed by U.S. fighters planes in 1951, at the start of the Korean War (1950-1953). The justification for the firebombing of Singyesa Temple by the U.S. Air Force is that it was believed that the temple was housing soldiers from the North Korean Army (The Korean People’s Army).

Today, North Korea claims that it has about ten thousand Buddhists that still practice. And hundreds of Buddhist temples, as well. Buddhism seemed to have fared better after the Communists took power in North Korea after World War Two, and Japanese Colonization came to an end, than its Christian counterpart. In fact, some 1,500 churches were destroyed in North Korea at this time. Currently, there are only three churches in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, that largely serve non-North Koreans. It would seem that there are three reasons for this. One is that Buddhism in Korea, both North and South, is so ingrained in their history and culture. The second reason is that Buddhism in North Korea doesn’t have a strong history of social activism. And the third reason is that some North Koreans view organized religion as a foreign intrusion. “There used to be foreign missionaries in this area, and they robbed people and stole cultural relics,” said Kim Song Gun, 37, a guard at Mt. Kumgang.

The temple lay in waste, from its destruction in 1951, until the reconstruction of Singyesa Temple began in 2004. Financed by the Jogye-jong Order, which is the largest Buddhist Order in South Korea, and the Korean Buddhist Association in North Korea. The temple was completed as an inter-Korean cultural project. Construction of the Singyesa Temple complex was completed in 2006. Its reopening was attended by leading members of both Buddhist groups.

Singyesa Temple is home to North Korean National Treasure #95, which is the temple itself. In 2019, a Singyesa Temple Stay program, similar to the one in South Korea, was proposed by the Jogye-jong Order. It seems as though talks are advanced, so hopefully there will be a chance for people to enjoy this popular program north of the DMZ.

I was fortunate enough to visit Singyesa Temple in 2007, before trips to Mt. Kumgangsan were closed down to foreign visitors. At that time, most of the buildings at the temple complex were rebuilt and being supervised by the head-monk, a South Korean monk from the Jogye-jong Order named Jejeong. At this time, the North Korean’s viewed Singyesa Temple as a cultural site and less as a religious site, and perhaps this is still the case.

In total, there are five temple buildings at Singyesa Temple. The first, as you enter the temple grounds, is the Manse-ru Pavilion. This two-story structure acts as an entrance on the first floor, and as a lecture hall on the second floor. Once you pass through this plainly painted pavilion with the traditional dancheong colours on it, you’ll enter the main temple courtyard at Singyesa Temple. Straight ahead is the only historic artifact to have survived the 1951 bombing by U.S. forces: the Silla-era three-story stone pagoda. The base of this pagoda is adorned with the eight dharma guardians.

Behind the ancient stone pagoda is the temple’s Taeung-jeon Hall (Daeung-jeon Hall). The original Taeung-jeon Hall was built during the 18th century; but like the rest of the temple, it was destroyed in 1951. Its current incarnation was the first of the temple structures to be rebuilt. The exterior walls to the Taeung-jeon Hall are elaborately adorned with Palsang-do, or the “Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals,” in English; the Sacheonwang, “The Four Heavenly Kings,” in English; and both Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). And resting inside the Taeung-jeon Hall, on the main altar, is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha).

To the right of the Taeung-jeon Hall is the Jong-ru Pavilion, which is the temple’s bell pavilion. This diminutive bell pavilion houses a replica of the 16th-century bell that once took up residence at Singyesa Temple until 1951. The other buildings housed at Singyesa Temple are the monk’s living quarters and kitchen.

Interestingly, Kim Il Sung (The Supreme Leader of North Korea) visited Singyesa in 1947 and 1948, before the original temple was destroyed by bombs. There is a stone marker that commemorates these visits at the entrance of the temple grounds. It reads: “Our Great Leader Kim Il Sung, and our Dear Leader Kim Jung Il and a communist revolutionary fighter/leader Kim Jung Suk visited in Juche 36 (1947), on Sept 28th, and the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung visited here again in Juche 37 (1948), in October, where he taught us these meaningful words: ‘That this temple was made with flying gable roofs and nice buildings and the three-storied pagoda is worth being a national heritage treasure. Singyesa Temple was a big temple which is amazing and graceful in its architecture. Singyesa Temple used to have many treasures, but in our homeland’s liberation war, it was brutally bombed by America. So everything was burned and only the sights remain. Singyesa Temple’s worth as a national treasure is to show Chosun’s history of architecture and progression.'” Quite the welcome to the temple, and a reminder that you’re north of the DMZ.

HOW TO GET THERE: You don’t. At least not right now in the current state of political relations between the world and North Korea.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10. Just for being in North Korea alone, and scared out of my mind the entire time, the temple rates as high as it does. The main highlights of the temple are the Silla-era three-story pagoda and the colourful Taeung-jeon Hall. Also, the political agenda behind the resurrection of Singyesa Temple from the ashes is made more than plain at the entry of the temple grounds with the stone marker commemorating and celebrating Kim Il Sung (The Supreme Leader of North Korea).

The Kim Il Sung visitor marker at the entry of Singyesa Temple. A broad view of the temple grounds. The Manse-ru Pavilion. The Silla-era three-story pagoda. The same pagoda from 1916. The ornate Taeung-jeon Hall at Singyesa Temple. The Taeung-jeon Hall from 1932. Some of the amazing dancheong colours adorning the Taeung-jeon Hall. One of the Palsang-do murals on the Taeung-jeon Hall. And one of the Four Heavenly Kings. A Munsu-bosal mural that also adorns the main hall at Singyesa Temple.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #54: How Are You?

Sun, 2020-10-18 02:18

Learn how to say "How are you doing?" and other useful phrases in lesson 54 of the Beginner Korean Course.

Remember that all of the lessons in this series go in order (starting with the alphabet), and there will be a total of 100 episodes once it's all uploaded.

You can start learning Korean from the very beginning with this course, and finish this course with a decent introductory knowledge of the Korean language.

I'll keep uploading two episodes every week until it's completed.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #54: How Are You? appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #53: I Have

Fri, 2020-10-16 00:53

We're up to lesson 53 in our series! It's time we learn a little bit more about the verb 있다, as well as how we can use the verb 가지다 to say that we "have" something.

Remember that these videos go in order, so start from the first episode if this is your first time seeing one of these videos. There will be a total of 100 episodes in this series.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #53: I Have appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

2020 Korean Population and Housing Census

Thu, 2020-10-15 12:38


What is the Population and Housing Census?

The Population and Housing Census surveys all Koreans and foreigners residing in Korea and also their housing. Similar censuses are conducted in most countries around the world. Foreign nationals having resided in Korea for three months or more are obligated to participate in the Census. The responses you provide will be strictly protected under the law and used solely for statistical purposes.

How to Participate in the Population and Housing Census?

<Online Census>

  • Access 2020 Population and Housing Census website
  • Click the green ‘Participate in the online Census’ button in the bottom
  • Enter the participation code
       *Your participation code will be sent to your home by mails
  • Mobile participation is also available

<Door-to-Door Interview>

  • If you did not or were unable to respond to the census online, census workers will visit your home

When to respond to the Population and Housing Census?

  • Online Census : 15th to 31st of October
  • Door-to-Door Interview : 1st to 18th of November

Is the data protected and kept safe?

Your responses to the census is strictly protected by Article 33(Protection of Secrets) of Statistics Act. Collected data will be used only to produce statistics.

The law ensures that your responses cannot be utilized against you by any government agency or court. Therefore, there will be no penalty imposed on undocumented immigrants for answering.

2020 Population and Housing Census

2020 人口住宅普查

Tổng điều tra dân số và nhà ở năm 2020

Всеобщая перепись населения 2020 года



Daeung-jeon – Great Hero Hall: 대웅전

Thu, 2020-10-15 09:10
The Daeung-jeon Hall at Sudeoksa Temple, which is National Treasure #49.

Hello Again Everyone!!

When you visit a Korean Buddhist temple, you’ll see numerous halls dedicated to various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and deities. The diversity at a Buddhist temple comes from Korean shamanism, as well as Mahayana Buddhism. Within Mahayana Buddhism, there are literally hundreds of Buddhas (fully enlightened beings) and Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings, who through compassion forgo nirvana in order to help save other beings). And while Mahayana Buddhism has hundreds of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the Korean form of Mahayana Buddhism usually only worships a select few.

The central figure to Buddhism is Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Inside the Daeung-jeon Hall sits a centrally located statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) on the main altar. Daeung-jeon literally means “The Great Hero Hall,” in reference to Seokgamoni-bul. Other variations of the Daeung-jeon name are the Daeungbo-jeon, which translates as “The Jeweled Hall of the Great Hero” in English.

“Calling the Earth to Witness” Mudra from Seokguram Hermitage in Gyeongju.

As a rule, the Daeung-jeon Hall is centrally located inside the temple complex. And sitting in the central location on the main altar is Seokgamoni-bul. The way that you can identify Seokgamoni-bul is through his mudra, or ritual gesture, which is known as a “suin,” in Korean. Actually, Seokgamoni-bul can be identified through a few mudras, but one of the most common is the “Calling the Earth to Witness.” This mudra recalls the story about the Buddha just after he had gained enlightenment. He was challenged by Mara about his authority. The Buddha called the earth to witness his many good deeds and actions in his past lives, thus justifying his authority. The way that this mudra is physically expressed is through a seated Seokgamoni-bul. As he is seated, Seokgamoni-bul has his right hand hanging over his right knee with his palm turned inwards. Meanwhile, the left hand still rests on his lap. Sometimes the index finger of his right hand will be pointed to the earth, as well; but usually, the whole hand points downwards towards the ground. The most famous statue with this mudra in Korea can be found at Seokguram Hermitage in Gyeongju.

The Seokgamoni-bul (Historical Buddha), Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) triad at Juwolsa Temple in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Flanking the seated statue of Seokgamoni-bul, and housed inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, are two Bodhisattvas. The first one to the left is typically Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). Like some other Bodhisattvas, he wears a large golden crown. Also, Munsu-bosal can either be holding a sword or a trident in his hands. The other Bodhisattva that sits on the Daeung-jeon main altar is Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). Bohyeon-bosal represents the teaching, meditation, and practice of the Buddha.

The Seokgamoni-bul, Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) and Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) triad at Jikjisa Temple in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The lower courtyard at Tongdosa Temple with the Yaksa-jeon Hall (left), Yeongsan-jeon Hall (centre), and Geukrak-jeon Hall (right).

In a “Jeweled Hall of the Great Hero,” while the central statue remains Seokgamoni-bul, the accompanying statues change. Instead of housing a statue of Munsu-bosal and Bohyeon-bosal, this type of hall houses Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) and Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, as well as the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). This triad is a manifestation of the reality of life and Samsara. From sunrise in the east with Yaksayeorae-bul, to life with Seokgamoni-bul, to death in the west with the sun-setting with Amita-bul. A great physical representation of this can be found in the lower courtyard of Tongdosa Temple with, from left to right, the Yaksa-jeon Hall (dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul), the Yeongsan-jeon Hall (dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul), and the Geukrak-jeon Hall (dedicated to Amita-bul). As for a Daeungbo-jeon Hall, a great example of this triad can be found at Jikjisa Temple in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

The Seokgamoni-bul, Yeondeung-bul (Past Buddha) and Mireuk-bul (Future Buddha) triad at Beomeosa Temple in Geumjeong-gu, Busan.

Another triad may be housed inside the Daeung-jeon. Like the other two triadic formations, Seokgamoni-bul still remains in the centre. And just like the two previous triads, the flanking statues change. In this third variation, Yeondeung-bul (The Past Buddha) appears to the left, while Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) appears to the right.

The Seokgamoni-bul, Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), and Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) triad at Banyaam Hermitage in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

And yet another way that the triad housed inside of the Daeung-jeon Hall can be formed, especially at smaller-sized temples, is with Seokgamoni-bul sitting in the centre with two different Bodhisattvas at his side. This time, Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) appears on one side with Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) on the other. This triad encompasses perhaps the three most popular figures in Korean Buddhism.

The wooden altar that the triad sits upon is called a “sumidan” in Korean. And this altar represents the peak of mythological Mt. Sumeru, which is the peak where the Buddha is enthroned. It’s from this peak that the Buddha emits his light of compassion and wisdom. As for the rest of the hall, it’s almost always the most ornate hall on the temple grounds. And above the triad of statues is usually an elaborate canopy that features carved dragons, birds of paradise, Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities), and other decorative motifs. All around the ceiling of this hall can be seen more Bicheon with various floral patterns like lotuses and/or peonies. These floral patterns symbolize the “rain of precious flowers from heaven” described in Buddhist scriptures. Besides the paintings and carvings that adorn the interior walls and ceiling of the Daeung-jeon Hall, there is a mural that hangs inside this hall, which is called a Shinjung Taenghwa. This shamanic guardian mural is symbolic of those shaman deities that have sworn to protect the Dharma.

The exterior of the Daeung-jeon Hall can be just as elaborate as its interior. Some of the more common paintings that adorn the exterior walls can be the Ox-Herding Murals, or “Shimu-do,” in Korean, or The Eight Scenes of the Buddha’s Life, or “Palsang-do,” in Korean. Sometimes these two sets sit in combination on the Main Buddha Hall, and sometimes only one set appears. Also, these murals can be highly elaborate in their design or very simple. In addition to these sets of murals, the Daeung-jeon can also be adorned with various paintings of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, guardians, deities, Bicheon, historic monks, floral patterns, and animals. Finally, the Daeung-jeon Hall typically has wooden sculptures protruding out from under the roof. These sculptures can be phoenixes or dragons. These dragons, much like the entirety of the Daeung-jeon Hall, are a symbol of the cabin on the Dragon Ship of Wisdom. The Dragon Ship of Wisdom, in Buddhism, ferries the faithful to the Pure Land of Paradise.

In total, there are three National Treasures that are Daeung-jeon Halls in Korea. They are the Daeung-jeon Hall at Sudeoksa Temple, Tongdosa Temple, and Bongjeongsa Temple in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

So the next time you’re at a Korean Buddhist temple, look for the main hall that typically houses the Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul. Not only is it the home to the Historical Buddha in Korean temples, but it’s also the most ornate hall at a Korean Buddhist temple both inside and out.

The Daeung-jeon Hall at Bongjeongsa Temple in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, which is National Treasure #311.

Cheonwangmun Gate: The Heavenly Kings Gate – 천왕문

Wed, 2020-10-14 10:40
Mid-17th Century Cheonwang Murals from Sinheungsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

The third potential gate at Korean Buddhist temple is the Cheonwangmun Gate, or Sacheonwangun Gate. This means either “Heavenly Kings Gate,” or the “Four Heavenly Kings Gate,” in English. This gate houses four figures that have intimidating stares, bulging eyes, and gnashing teeth.

These four figures represent the Four Heavenly Kings that are Hindu in origin. They are said to stand in the four cardinal directions on Mt. Sumeru, and they serve King Sakra. King Sakra resides on the summit of this mighty mountain in a palace called the Palace of Correct Views. This area, at least according to ancient Buddhist cosmology, is the centre of the universe. And according to the same ancient Buddhist cosmological belief, the Four Heavenly Kings stand approximately 750 feet in height and they live for 9 million years. At one point, they are said to have helped Siddhartha Gautama, who was the Indian prince that became the Historical Buddha (Seokgamoni-bul), to leave his father’s house and ultimately renounce all things worldly.

The reason that the Cheonwangmun Gate, or the “Heavenly Kings Gate,” in English, is placed where it is is to protect Buddhism and the Buddha’s teachings from evil spirits. The Four Heavenly Kings were placed inside the Cheonwangmun Gate after they had embraced the Buddha’s teachings and vowed to defend them. And the reason they look as ferocious as they do inside their gate is that they are forcing unruly spirits to submit to their will. And for those that are unwilling to submit to their will, the Four Heavenly Kings simply trample these opponents underfoot. So their ferocious expressions encourages people to bow to them and to rid a visitor’s mind of bad thoughts. If your mind is not peaceful and pure enough to enter into the Land of Buddha, which is the inner sanctuary of the temple grounds, then they might not let you enter. In fact, if you look down at the feet of the Four Heavenly Kings, you’ll see demons that look like government officials, foreign soldiers, or just plain demons being trampled underfoot. As for how the Four Heavenly Kings are represented, they can either appear as four large statues, which is more common at larger temples; or, they can appear as four murals that hang inside of the gate.

The first of the four, and their leader, is Damun Cheonwang (or Vaisravana in Sanskrit). To identify them, move counterclockwise and you’ll find the cardinal directions of the west (Gwangmok Cheonwang), the south (Jeungjang Cheonwang), and the east (Jiguk Cheonwang). Damun Cheonwang guards the north. Damun Cheonwang is the one that holds a pagoda in his hand. The pagoda symbolizes a stupa, a reminder of death and spirituality. The second Heavenly King is Jeungjang Cheonwang (or Virudhaka in Sanskrit). He holds a sword in his hand and guards the south. He is said to have the power to multiply his sword so that he can always outnumber his opponents. The third Heavenly King is Jiguk Cheonwang (or Dhritarashtra in Sanskrit) who holds a lute in his hands and protects the east. With the strings of the lute he controls the weather, like the wind, thunder, lightning, and hail. The fourth, and final, Heavenly King is Gwangmok Cheonwang (or Virupaksha in Sanskrit) who is the guardian of the west, and he holds a dragon in one hand and a jewel in the other.

Inside Seokguram Hermitage. Damun Cheonwang (left) and Jiguk Cheonwang (right). Inside Seokguram Hermitage: Gwangmok Cheonwang (left) and Jeungjang Cheonwang (right).

Originally, however, there was no hard and fast rules regarding which King held which object. Two great examples of this can be found at Seokguram Hermitage in Gyeongju and Songgwangsa Temple in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do. Concerning the example of Seokguram Hermitage, three of the four kings are holding swords and Damun Cheonwang is holding a pagoda.

In fact, the Four Heavenly Kings appearance varied between Goryeo and Joseon style paintings. Over time, the objects became a lute, a dragon, a sword, and a pagoda. This standard was established by the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China, and the Joseon Dynasty followed. However, at some temples, these items and names of the Four Heavenly Kings were mislabeled. For example, at Songwangsa Temple, Damun Cheonwang is holding a lute instead of a pagoda. Jeungjang Cheonwang is holding a dragon instead of a sword. Jiguk Cheonwang is holding a sword instead of a lute. And Gwangmok Cheonwang is holding the pagoda-like staff instead of a dragon. These clay statues, which are Korean Treasure #1467, were recast in 1628 after being destroyed in the Imjin War in 1597, which explains the difference.

So the next time you’re at a Korean Buddhist temple, have a look for this third potential entry gate and the fearsome Four Heavenly Kings and the demonic demons that they’re trampling underfoot.

A panorama look inside the Cheonwangmun Gate at Tongdosa Temple.

Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site – 황룡사지 (Gyeongju)

Tue, 2020-10-13 13:56
A Computer Generated Image of What Hwangnyongsa Temple Looked Like

Hello Everyone!!

Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site, in central Gyeongju, means “Imperial Dragon Temple Site,” in English. The construction of the massive temple started in 553 A.D., during the reign of King Jinheung (r.540-576 A.D.), and it wasn’t completed until 644 A.D. during the reign of Queen Seondeok (r.632-644 A.D.). The temple stood over seventy acres, or 283,280 m2, in size.

There are several legends surrounding this famously historic temple. The first is that King Jinheung planned to build a new palace northeast of the royal palace compound of Banwolseong, or “Half-Moon Palace,” in English. During this construction, a yellow dragon purportedly appeared, which was taken as an auspicious sign. So instead of having a new palace constructed, King Jinheung decided to have Hwangnyongsa Temple built. Hwangnyongsa Temple, under the patronage of the Silla royal family, was built as a place where monks prayed for the welfare of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D). In their prayers, the Buddhist monks prayed for the divine assistance of the Buddha (Seokgamoni-bul) to protect the kingdom and impress foreign dignitaries.

Hwanyongsa Temple is situated in a beautiful valley with Mt. Tohamsan (745m) to the north and Mt. Namsan (494m) to the south. Also, it’s closely located next to Bunhwangsa Temple to the north, as well. The original design of the temple was a three halls and one pagoda design. This meant that a pagoda was centrally located in the temple complex and joined by three flanking shrine halls. Of these three shrine halls, the main hall, the Geum-dang Hall, would be situated in the centre behind the pagoda. In total, Hwangnyongsa Temple would eventually consist of a middle and south gate, a wooden pagoda, the main prayer hall, and a lecture hall, which were all arranged in a straight line. Two additional prayer halls, which book-ended the main hall were added, as were a bell tower and a scripture hall. Together, all of the structures at Hwangnyongsa Temple formed a beautiful symmetry. In total, the outer wall enclosed approximately 80,000 m2 of the temple grounds. The longest outer wall was 288 metres in length. And the bell that took up residence at Hwangnyongsa Temple was four times larger than the Bell of King Seongdeok, which is also known as the Emile Bell. To give a bit of perspective on just how massive the bell at Hwangnyongsa Temple must have been, the Bell of King Seongdeok, which is now housed at the Gyeongju National Museum, is 3.75 metres in height, 2.27 metres in diameter, and it weighs 18.9 tons. The size and scope of Hwangnyongsa Temple at its height was something that Korea hasn’t seen since.

In 574 A.D., the bronze Buddha triad was made and later occupied the Geum-dang Hall at Hwangnyongsa Temple, which was built in 584 A.D. The main hall was believed to be 47 metres in length and 17 metres in height. As for the the Buddha triad, it stood sixteen metres in height, and it was revered as one of the “Three Treasures of Silla.” The other two treasures being the Nine Story Wooden Pagoda of Hwangnyongsa Temple and King Jinpyeong’s Heavenly Jade Belt. The central Buddha in the triad weighed twenty-one tons (35,007 geun) of copper and an additional 4 kg (10,198 bun) of gold. The two accompanying Bodhisattvas that helped comprise this golden triad each weighed 7.2 tons (12,000 geun) of copper, and an additional 4 kg (10,136 bun) of gold. The size of the statues varied between 5.8 to 6 metres in height. And they were the largest gilt bronze statues produced during the Silla Dynasty.

A legend associated with this golden Buddha triad that’s recorded in the Samguk Yusa, or “Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms,” in English, states that the gold for these statues came from King Ashoka. King Ashoka had attempted to cast a golden triad of his own but failed. With this failure, and because of it, King Ashoka placed the gold on a boat, along with models of the Buddha and Bodhisattva. Each country that received this boat were also unable to cast statues of the Buddha and Bodhisattva from King Ashoka’s gold. Eventually, the boat arrived in the Silla Kingdom, and King Ashoka’s gold was used to cast the statues that would become the triad at Hwangnyongsa Temple.

In 646 A.D., and for which Hwangnyongsa Temple is most famous, the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) architect, Abiji, was commissioned to build the nine-story wooden pagoda. The nine stories were meant to symbolize the nine nations of East Asia and the Silla Kingdom’s hope to be protected from them. In total, two hundred artisans were used to build the massive pagoda. Abiji was invited to build the pagoda by the famed monk Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.). In fact, Jajang-yulsa enshrined a portion of Seokgamoni-bul’s sari (The crystallized remains of the Buddha) under the central pillar of the pagoda, making it one of the Jeokmyeol-bogung like at Tongdosa Temple. Eventually, the pagoda would be completed in 645 A.D. The pagoda was the largest Korean pagoda ever built, coming in at a staggering eighty metres in height. And the entire body was made from wood. Only the foundation, which covered 565 m2, was made from stone. The whole structure was supported by sixty foundation stones. But not only was it the largest in Korea, but it was also the largest, at this time, and for the next five hundred years, in East Asia, as well. Tragically, the pagoda was destroyed by fire during the Mongolian invasion in 1238. Sadly, not only does no wooden architecture exists from the Silla Dynasty, but the Hwangnyongsa Temple nine-story wooden pagoda was never rebuilt.

During a 1976 excavation, nearly forty thousand artifacts were discovered on the temple site. These artifacts included gilt-bronze Buddhist statuettes, bells, ornaments, glass vessels, and a massive one hundred and eighty two centimetre long ornamental end tile. Additionally, there were shards of white porcelain from a jar from Tang China that were discovered at the site of the wooden pagoda. This is concrete evidence that the two nations traded and cooperated with each other.

Now, sadly, all that remains of Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site is a large empty field south of Bunhwangsa Temple and north of the Gyeongju National Museum. With that being said, there still remain elevated foundations that once housed the massive temple structures. You can get a real sense of just how massive the wooden pagoda must have been based on its elevated foundation that still exists. Much is the same for the elevated foundation that still remains of the Geum-dang-ji and the massive stones that still remain that once held the golden Buddhist triad on its main altar. In fact, the entire elevated foundation still remains, which gives you a real sense of the sheer size of Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site including the foundation for the walls and the middle entry gate to the south. While it may not look all that impressive, it must have been something spellbindingly beautiful during the Silla Kingdom and early Goryeo Dynasty.

More recently, the Hwangyongsa Temple History and Culture Center was opened. Housed inside it is a one-tenth scale model of the wooden pagoda that once stood at Hwangnyongsa Temple. Also, there are replicas of key artifacts that were found on the temple site. There are also models and pictures of what the golden triad must have looked like, as well as a deck that looks out and over the temple site. If you have the time, I recommend a look inside the culture center to gain a greater appreciation of the Hwangyongsa-ji Temple Site. Additionally, the Korean government passed a budget last year around one trillion won that will go towards excavation and rebuilding efforts in the downtown Gyeongju area. This also included Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site. It’s unclear just how much the government plans on rebuilding the former temple. Only time will tell, as the Korean government has been talking about rebuilding the majestic temple for the past thirty years.

Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site is itself Korean Historic Site #6. And at the Gyeongju National Museum, the Engraved Gilt-bronze Plaques from the Nine-story Wooden Pagoda of Hwangnyongsa Temple is Korean Treasure #1870.

Admission to Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site is free, but the Hwangyongsa Temple History and Culture Center is 3,000 won.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Hwangyongsa-ji Temple Site, you’ll need to make your way down a country road that starts at the Gyeongju National Museum. Halfway down this field, and just past a railway crossing, and to your right, you’ll find the vast and empty field that once housed Hwangyongsa Temple. Continuing north, and the only modern building in the area, is the Hwangyongsa Temple History and Culture Center.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10.  The Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site is a hard one to rate. Perhaps the hardest temple to rate, because it’s actually now only a site, which is nothing more than a large field with elevated foundation stones and a collection of stone artifacts that were once a part of the temple itself. However, in combination with the newly built Hwangyongsa Temple History and Culture Center and both Bunhwangsa Temple and the Gyeongju National Museum being so close, it can make for a nice little stop, especially on a sunny day. Either way, there’s no denying just how important this temple is to the history of Korean Buddhism and Korea as a whole, so it’s worthy of our respect and admiration.

A aerial view of the Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site. A pathway that leads between the main hall and pagoda foundations. The middle gate foundation. The nine-story wooden pagoda foundation. A one-tenth replica of the nine-story pagoda that once stood at Hwangnyongsa Temple. The foundation for the Geum-dang main hall. The stone supports that held the golden main altar statues. A computer generated image of what the main altar statues looked like. The Hwangyongsa Temple History and Culture Center.

Two Passive Forms of 쓰다 – 쓰이다 and 써지다 | Korean FAQ

Tue, 2020-10-13 02:23

Here are three words that are often met with confusion by Korean learners and Korean natives - 써지다, 쓰이다, and 쓰여지다. What's the difference?

I talk about the actual meanings of these words, how they're used, and how you can tell the difference between them.

The post Two Passive Forms of 쓰다 – 쓰이다 and 써지다 | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Bunhwangsa Temple – 분황사 (Gyeongju)

Mon, 2020-10-12 10:33
The Stone Brick Pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple in central Gyeongju.

Hello Everyone!!

Bunhwangsa Temple is located in downtown Gyeongju near Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site and Wol-ji Pond. Bunhwangsa Temple means “Fragrant Emperor/Imperial Temple,” in English. Bunhwangsa Temple was first established in 634 A.D. under the auspices of the famed Silla ruler, Queen Seondeok (r.632-647 A.D.).

At this time, during Queen Seondeok’s reign, Buddhism was only a century old, having only been adopted by the Silla Kingdom in 527 A.D. by King Beopheung (r.514-540 A.D). Early in its history, Bunhwangsa Temple was a large temple. It consisted of an inner gate, three golden halls, an assembly hall, a gallery, and a stone pagoda (which is the only thing that still remains today from Bunhwangsa Temple’s golden age). The temple was several acres in size, and it was one of four prominent temples of the Silla Kingdom. Two famous monks that are closely associated with Bunhwangsa Temple are Jajang-yulsa (590-658 A.D.) and Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). Jajang-yulsa is widely credited with being a major force behind the adoption of Buddhism as the state religion of Silla. And Wonhyo-daesa was central to the growth and popularity of Buddhism through his personal life and the many Buddhist treaties that he wrote. The oldest known portrait of Wonhyo-daesa resides inside the main hall at Bunhwangsa Temple. Also, upon his death, Seol Chong (650-730 A.D.), Wonhyo-daesa’s son, brought his father’s remains to Bunhwangsa Temple. Seol Chong created a clay image of his father, Wonhyo-daesa, and interred the famous monk’s ashes inside it. Unfortunately, this clay image no longer exists.

Bunhwangsa Temple continued to grow in prominence and importance through the Gwanseeum-bosal mural painted by Solgeo, and the Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of Medicine, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) that was made from forty-eight tons of copper. This massive statue was designed and built by Ganggonaemal in 755 A.D. Unlike today’s Buddhist temples, it was not common for people to pray and worship at Buddhist temples during the Silla Dynasty. Instead, Bunhwangsa Temple was a state supported religious institution, where monks prayed constantly for the good of the state. These monks and the temple were supported, financially and governmentally, by the Silla Kingdom.

In total, Bunhwangsa Temple has been destroyed by invading armies three times. The first came in 1238 by the invading Mongols during the Mongol invasions of Korea (1231–1259). The second time Bunhwangsa Temple was destroyed was in 1592, by the invading Japanese, during the first wave of hostilities of the Imjin War (1592-1598). Bunhwangsa Temple was further damaged by the Japanese in 1597, during the second wave of the Imjin War, which is known as the “Chongyu War: Second invasion” (1597–1598).

In 1609, the Bogwang-jeon Hall, which is the only shrine hall that currently occupies the temple grounds, was constructed. While Bunhwangsa Temple, in its current form is a tiny fraction of its former self, it at least now holds daily prayer services inside the Bogwang-jeon Hall. For the longest time, Bunhwangsa Temple was nothing more than a tourist attraction.

Bunhwangsa Temple is home to one National Treasure, and two Cultural Properties Materials. It’s also included as part of the Gyeongju Historic Areas as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

When you first approach the temple grounds by way of the newly expanded temple parking lot, you’ll notice mature trees reaching up into the sky above the stone and mud fence that separates the outside world from the inner-sanctum of Bunhwangsa Temple. To the right, you’ll come to the temple ticket booth, and the temple entry gate.

Once you enter into the temple grounds, you’ll immediately be welcomed by National Treasure #30, the Stone Brick Pagoda of Bunhwangsa Temple. Like Bunhwangsa Temple itself, the famed brick pagoda was also built in 634 A.D. It’s the oldest extant pagoda from the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. to 935 A.D.). Because the Silla Kingdom didn’t have a long history creating pagodas, Bunhwangsa Temple is based on Tang Dynasty pagodas of this era. However, unlike the brick pagodas of the Tang Dynasty, the Silla architects used stone that was black andesite and then cut them into bricks. Originally, the pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple was nine stories in height, and each story became progressively smaller in size. Unfortunately, the pagoda now only consists of three stories. On each side of the brick pagoda, there’s an entry into the pagoda on the first story. Each of these entries is guarded by a pair of Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors). And if you look closely into the entries, and past the slightly ajar doors, you’ll notice some debris. And each of the four corners of the elevated pagoda base is adorned with guardian lions. While two of these lions have been well-preserved, the other two have seen better days. Additionally, lotus blossoms adorn the pagoda.

In 1915, a partial restoration of the pagoda was initiated by the occupying Japanese (1910-1945). During this restoration, the Japanese discovered a sari (crystallized remains), a reliquary, and the cremated remains of a monk hidden between the second and third story of the famed pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple. Additionally, gold and stone ornaments, coins, scissors, and even a needle, were all found inside the pagoda. All these items point towards the possibility that a woman of royalty, perhaps even Queen Seondeok herself, was once the owner of these objects.

In total, Bunhwangsa Temple only has one shrine hall. This shrine hall is known as the Bogwang-jeon Hall, which is dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of Medicine, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). Adorning the exterior walls of this solitary shrine hall are fading Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddhas Life Murals). Standing inside the Bogwang-jeon Hall is a 3.45 metre tall statue dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul. This statue dates back to 1774, and it’s a beautiful example of mid-Joseon Dynasty Buddhist artistry. This is Korean Cultural Properties Materials #319. This statue is joined to the right by the oldest mural dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa in existence.

There are a few stone artifacts spread in and around the temple grounds. The first is the Silla-era stone flagpole holder out in front of the temple grounds. Another, which is to the north of the brick pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple, is the pedestal for the Biseok dedicated to Daeseong Hwajaeng-guksa, which was a title conferred on Wonhyo-daesa by King Sukjong of Goryeo (r.1095-1105). Not only did King Sukjong confer this title on Wonhyo-daesa, but it was also his wish to build this Biseok to the famed monk. So this Biseok was erected in 1101 for the famed Silla monk. The intact Biseok was destroyed in 1597, when the rest of Bunhwangsa Temple was also destroyed. All that remained of the Biseok was the pedestal. Some of the inscriptions on the body of the Biseok were discovered in 1976 and are now housed at the Dongguk University museum.

The other stonework at Bunhwangsa temple is the Hogukyongbyeoneojeong, or the Samnyongbyeoneojeong, from the Silla Dynasty. The upper portion of the well is octagonal, while the lower portion is cylindrical. According to the Samguk Yusa, or “Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms,” in English, in 795 A.D., missionaries from Tang China visited the Silla Kingdom. During this visit, the missionaries changed the three dragons protecting the Silla Kingdom into small fish. They then took these fish back to Tang China and hid them in bamboo. The next day, two women, who identified themselves as the wives of the two dragons, came to the king of Tang China and asked for their dragon husbands back. One of the dragons was from Dongji (a pond), while the other was from Cheongji (another pond). They explained to the king that their husbands had been taken away from them by the Tang missionaries. The king immediately sent for the missionaries that had hidden the dragons in the bamboo forest. After they were given back to their wives, the dragons were given permission to live the rest of their lives in the Bunhwangsa Temple well. This stone well is Korean Cultural Properties Materials #9.

The final structure that visitors can explore at Bunhwangsa Temple is the Jong-ru, or the temple’s bell pavilion. This bell pavilion houses a large sized bronze bell with an ornate Poroe dragon crowning the large bell. There used to be a fearsome wooden fish gong that once took up residence inside this bell pavilion, but it’s no longer there. Not sure what happened to it, unfortunately.

Admission to the temple is 1,300 won, and Bunhwangsa Temple is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m (except in winter when it’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Bunhwangsa Temple, you’ll need to make your way down a country road that starts at the Gyeongju National Museum. This road runs alongside the famed Hwangnyongsa-ji Temple Site. You’ll need to cross over the railway tracks midway along the way, and hang a right in the bend of the road at the end of the country road.

If you’re not travelling to the Gyeongju National Museum area first, you can simply board a bus from the Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal. You can catch Bus #10 (at fifteen minute intervals), Bus #11 (at eleven minute intervals), Bus #15 (three times a day), Bus #17 (once a day at 6:20 a.m.), Bus #18 (nine times a day), Bus #277 (nine times a day) to get to Bunhwangsa Temple. The bus stop is across the street from the Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal, and the bus ride should take about fifteen minutes to get the Bunhwangsa Temple.

OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10.  For simply housing the amazing Stone Brick Pagoda of Bunhwangsa Temple, which is National Treasure #30, it’s well worth visiting this beautiful temple in Gyeongju. While quite small in size, it does have the historic Bogwang-jeon Hall that houses the golden statue of Yaksayeorae-bul and the oldest mural dedicated to the famed Silla-era monk, Wonhyo-daesa. Also, the well and temple bell pavilion are something to keep out eye out for in the mature persimmon and pine tree forest at Bunhwangsa Temple.

The Silla-era stone flagpole holder at Bunhwangsa Temple. The amazing view that first greets you as you enter the main temple courtyard. One of the four guardian lions that adorns the Stone Brick Pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple. Two of the historic Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors) that protects one of four doors around the base of the pagoda. Another of the guardian lions on the Stone Brick Pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple. The Bunhwangsa Temple well. The only shrine hall at the temple: the Bogwang-jeon Hall. A look inside the Bogwang-jeon Hall at Yaksayeorae-bul. The beautiful temple courtyard during fall. A look towards the Stone Brick Pagoda at Bunhwangsa Temple from the temple bell pavilion.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #52: The Progressive Tense

Sun, 2020-10-11 02:28

This lesson will teach about the progressive tense, 고 있다.

We're at episode 52! There will be a total of 100 episodes in this series, with two new episodes being uploaded every week. Remember to start this series from the beginning if you're new to this course, as all of the lessons go in order - including grammar and all vocabulary words. If there's something you don't understand or never learned before, it was explained in a previous episode.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #52: The Progressive Tense appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.