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Naksansa was founded by Great Master (Daesa) Uisang in the Silla Dynasty, holding at least 1,300 years of history. It is a representative temple of Eastern Gangwon-do Province, and the most prominent holy place for Gwanseum Bosal (Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) in Korea. In the ancient times, the Korean Silla and the Chinese Tang Dynasties went to war with each other, which put the Korean nation in misery. When praying hard for his country and his people, Great Master Uisang came to meet Gwanseum Bosal during practice, and then founded this temple.
Naksansa has many places to see. There is the famous statue of Gwanseum Bosal, looking down over the East Sea with a broad smile. At the Uisangdae Pavilion, which is a popular spot for watching the sunrise, you can gaze over the vast sea. At the Hongryeonam (Red Lotus Hermitage) Hall, you can look down through a hole on the floor and see the sea. If you lift a small floorboard here, you will see the Gwaneumgul Cave down below. The sound of waves crashing in the cave is in such harmony with the sunrise over the East Sea that they create a sense of wonder for many people. Besides these, Naksansa has the Hall of Complete Penetration (Wontongbojeon), the Main Buddha Hall (Botajeon), and a lotus pond. In front of the Hall of Complete Penetration stands a seven story pagoda, which is registered as Treasure No. 499. Naksansa’s symbol, the great standing statue of Gwanseum Bosal was created in 1977, and stands a height of no less than 16 meters. Sadly, however, the temple was almost totally destroyed by a huge mountain fire in the spring of 2005. People from all around the country have united to support the reconstruction effort that is underway.
Over the years, many people have visited Naksansa. The temple is calling to us not only with its beautiful scenery, but more importantly, with the compassion of Gwanseum Bosal. The temple is full of ardent prayers and vows of people who are shipwrecked in the sea of suffering. It is the residing place for Gwanseum Bosal, who appears in a multitude of forms upon hearing the suffering sound of all sentient beings and saves them from suffering. Together with the Boriam Temple in Namhae and the Bomunsa Temple in Ganghwa-do, Naksansa has served as the Gwanseum Bosal holy place for a thousand years. And it will be sharing all the people’s joys and sorrows in the future as well.