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Korean Buddhist Cultural Heritage

Daeheungsa Temple (대흥사)

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Writer Jogye Date23 Aug 2018 Read115 Comment0

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7. Daeheungsa Temple


Deaheungsa Temple, which is located in Haenam County, Jeollanam-do Province, was established as a temple of Seon School in the 9
th Century. During Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty, Daeheungsa Temple represents the multi-layer building arrangement and the spirit of national defense. Daeheungsa Temple was built on a flat ground next to Daeheungsa stream at the foot of Duryunsan Mountain. The temple expanded to the south across the stream until it has come to the current scale. At first the Main Hall area to the north was constructed and the temple later expanded to the south. By the 19th Century, most of the current features were established. The temple is divded into the Main Hall area, Cheonbuljeon Hall area, Pyochungsa area and Daegwangmyeongjeon area.

Though Daeheungsa Temple has Shakyamuni belief at its core, the spirit of national defense has become its special characteristic. Pyochungsa, whose name plate was written by King Jungjo, was built in 1789 to commemorate Great Monk Seosan and his students who fought against Japanese Invasion of 1592. At the time, a government official was sent to Daeheungsa Temple for the commemoration ritual of Great Monk Seosan. This is the symbolic ritual of Daeheungsa Temple called Seosandaejae which shows that Daeheungsa Temple has inherited the spirit of Great Monk Seosan. Thanks to the accomplishment of Great Monk Seosan, the state supported establishment of Pyochungsa and improved the social status of Buddhist monks. From then on, the Sangha community could flourish again and begin its effort to reconstruct temple buildings lost during the war hand-in-hand with local lay Buddhists.

At Daeheungsa Temple, there are many artifacts from the high monks of Korean Buddhism in the 17th~18th Century. Stupas were built at Daeheungsa Temple to commemorate 13 great patriarchs (Daejongsa) and 13 great senior instructors (Daegangsa). There are 47 stupas and monuments from the 20th Century including the monument and stupa of Great Monk Seosan proving the historical significance of Daeheungsa Temple. The stupas and monuments were constructed over hundreds of years and were well preserved due to the tradition of ancestral respect in Korean mountain monasteries.

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