In the heart of the nouveau riche area south of the Han River known as Gangnam-gu lies the peaceful oasis that is Bongeunsa Temple. Surrounded by the glitzy haunts of the fashionistas and Kpop idols, and across the street from COEX mall, it is hard to believe that you can so easily walk back in time to enjoy the calm of a 1,200 hundred old Buddhist Temple.
Founded in AD 794 AD during the Three Kingdoms Period it was first known as Gyeonseongsa Temple. It was renamed Bongeunsa in 1498 and was moved about half a mile from its original location to its present site sometime during the reign of King Myeongjong. (1545-1567)
Over the centuries parts of the temple have been destroyed, most notably by fire in 1939, and during the Korean War, (1950-53), but each time they have been rebuilt and restored.
The oldest surviving intact building is known as the Panjeon and was constructed in 1856. It houses over 3,000 old woodblocks which date from about 150 years ago. They have Buddhist scriptures and designs carved into them and are greatly treasured.
Bongeunsa is the head temple of the Seon sect of Buddhism and has programs for tourists to help showcase the beauty of their beliefs and traditions. The most popular is the 2 hour program, which is so popular you need to book about 3 weeks in advance. They also have overnight Templestay programs.
The temple grounds are lovely and surprisingly peaceful considering the megacity that surrounds them. If you are in the area I would highly recommend a visit.
Have a great day everyone.
You might also enjoy reading, The Stone Men of Jeju Island, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and Spirit Garden.
Photo credits me. Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.
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