Major Jogye Order Temples
The Jogye Order has about thirty-five hundred temples around South Korea. Each belongs to one of twenty-five administrative districts throughout the country, and each district has a head temple. With such a long history, Korean Buddhism is filled with innumerable stories about the origins of these temples, some of which are mystical. The three temples of Avalokitesvara (Kwanseum Bosal), the bodhisattva of compassion, and the five temples that enshrine relics of Shakyamuni Buddha are among the most notable of these. The three temples dedicated to Avalokitesvara, who saves sentient beings from the ocean of suffering, are invariably located near the ocean in Mahayana countries. In India, it is at Mt. Potalaka along the southern coast where Avalokitesvara resides. In China, it is off the east coast on Pota Island and in land-locked Tibet, it is Lhasa, which is located along the Kichu River which flows to the ocean. In Korea, the three holy temple sites dedicated to Avalokitesvara are Hongyeonam Hermitage at Naksansa Temple on the east coast; Bomunsa Temple on Mt. Nakga on the west coast island of Ganghwado; and Boriam Hermitage on Mt. Geum along the south coast. Of the five relic temples, four are located in Gangwon Province--Sangwonsa Temple on Mt. Odae; Bongjeongam Hermitage at Mt. Seorak; Beopheungsa Temple on Mt. Saja; and Jeongamsa on Mt. Hambaek. In these latter temples, the relics themselves are the objects of worship rather than a Buddha statue. The fifth relic temple is Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan outside of Busan. It is the most significant temple of the five which house Buddha relics and also the first of the Three Jewel Temples in Korean Buddhism.
For centuries, Korea has had Three Jewel Temples. Tongdosa Temple represents the Buddha, Haeinsa Temple represents the dharma or teachings, and Songgwangsa Temple represents the sangha or noble community. The Shilla Precepts Master Jajang traveled to China and returned with the first relics of the Buddha which were then enshrined in a stupa at Tongdosa Temple. Haeinsa Temple represents the dharma with its repository of the more than 81,258 Tripitaka Koreana (Korean Buddhist canon) woodblocks, designated as a Memory of the World by UNESCO. Songgwangsa Temple was designated as the Sangha Jewel Temple for its outstanding history of monastic practice, which includes the fostering of sixteen national masters since the Goryeo Period.
The Jogye Order has five comprehensive monastic training temples (chongrim): Haein Chongrim at Haeinsa Temple, Jogye Chongrim at Songgwangsa Temple, Yeongchuk Chongrim at Tongdosa Temple, Deoksung Chongrim at Sudeoksa Temple, and Gobul Chongrim at Baekyangsa Temple. Comprehensive monastic training temples are those which include three major facilities: a Seon (meditation) school, a traditional sutra school (gangwon), and a vinaya or precepts school.
Jogye Order District Head Temples
Seoul Special District Head Temple: Jogyesa Temple
-Address: 45 Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
-Tel.: (82-2) 732-2115
Jogyesa Temple is the main temple for the entire Jogye Order as well as for the Seoul area. Despite being located in the heart of the city, the temple features a traditional temple atmosphere. Built in 1938, it is a Municipal Tangible Cultural Treasure. Its main dharma hall houses the largest wooden statues in Korea. Thanks to the temple's convenient location, many people from around the world come to the temple each year. Next to the temple is the Center for Korean Buddhist History and Culture, which serves as the Jogye Order administration building.
2nd District Head Temple: Yongjusa Temple
-Founded in 1790 C.E.
-Address: 188 Songsan-ni, Taean-eup, Hwaseong-gun, Gyeonggi Province
-Tel.: (82-31) 234-0040
Yongjusa Temple is known as the “temple of filial piety,” since it was constructed in the eighteenth century during a Buddhist revival under the reign of King Jeongjo. The temple was dedicated to the king's father, Sado Seja, who met an unnatural death. The temple features filial piety education programs and the Filial Piety Museum as it promotes the actualization of Buddhist filial piety. A beautiful bell from the Goryeo Dynasty, National Treasure No.120, has been on the temple grounds for more than eight hundred years.
3rd District Head Temple: Shinheungsa Temple
-Founded in 652 C.E. by Precepts Master Jajang
-Address: 170 Seorak-dong, Sokcho-si, GangwonProvince
-Tel.: (82-33) 633-7392
Korea's Seorak Mountains are symbolic of the mountain where the Buddha Shakyamuni practiced asceticism and are therefore considered very special. Shinheungsa Temple is a temple noted for its harmonization of nature and music with its frequent Mountain Temple Music Festival. It is also home to the world's largest bronze statue of a seated Buddha, which features an aspiration for the unification of the peninsula.
4th District Head Temple: Woljeongsa Temple
-Founded in 643 C.E.
-Address: 63 Dongsan-ni, Jinbu-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Ganwon Province
-Tel.: (82-33) 339-6800
Korea's Mt. Odae (Five Peak Mountain) is a holy site considered to be home to fifty thousand bodhisattvas. The five major peaks represent five major bodhisattvas. Founded by the Precepts Master Jajang, the temple is renowned to this day for a number of great Seon masters, including Hanam and Tanheo of recent history. The strikingly artistic and beautiful nine-storied, eight-sided stupa in front of the main dharma hall (National Treasure No.48) and the seated stone bodhisattva image facing it(Treasure No.139) are both more than a thousand years old. The temple is also well-known for its surrounding forest of evergreen fir trees.
5th District Head Temple: Beopjusa Temple
-Founded in 553 C.E.
-Address: 209 Sanae-ri, Naesorak-myeon, Boeun-gun, North Chungcheong Province
-Tel.: (82-43) 543-3615
This temple whose name means "the place where the Buddha's teachings reside," is a major temple of practice. It protects Korea's only remaining five-story wooden pagoda hall, the Hall of the Eight Scenes from the Life of the Buddha (National Treasure No. 55) as well as a number of other important national and cultural treasures. Consequently, the temple is regarded as a living museum. As a major center of Maitreya Buddha worship, the temple is home to a towering bronze of Maitreya Buddha which was gilded in gold leaf and powder a few years ago.
6th District Head Temple: Magoksa Temple
-Founded in 640 C.E.
-Address: 567 Unam-ni, Sagok-myeon, Gongju-si, SouthChungcheongProvince
-Tel.: (82-41) 841-6221
Founded by Precepts Master Jajang, Magoksa Temple is the main temple in South Chungcheong Province. It was rebuilt by National Master Bojo, and since that time, the temple has played a major role in the transmission of the Dharma. The calligraphy on the signboard in front of the Yeongsanjeon (Hall of Disciples) is in the imperial handwriting of King Sejo (r. 1455-1468), the seventh king of the Joseon Period. The king wrote the letters when he visited the temple. The site is also mentioned in historical materials as a place of refuge from social upheavals, attributed largely to the outstanding geomantic features of its mountains and flowing waters.
7th District Head Temple: Sudeoksa Temple
-Address: 20 Sacheon-ni, Deoksan-myeon, Yesan-gun, South Chungcheong Province
-Tel.: (82-41) 337-6565
Renowned as a meditation center of study and virtue, Sudeoksa Temple has been the home to many Seon masters. Modern giants from the temple have included Seon masters Gyeongheo and Mangong. In 1984, the temple was promoted to the status of a comprehensive monastic training temple (chongrim). The main Dharma hall at the temple was built in 1308 C.E. and is one of Korea's oldest existing structures (National Treasure No. 49). The temple and its branch temples have contributed more than six hundred Buddhist cultural treasures stretching all the way back to the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.E. - 660 C.E.). Many are on display in the Mugungwha Buddhist Cultural Museum at the temple.
8th District Head Temple: Jikjisa Temple
-Founded in 418 C.E.
-Address: 216 Unsu-ri, Daehang-myeon, Gimcheon-si, North Gyeongsang Province
-Tel.: (82-54) 436-6174
Jikjisa Temple is named after the Seon Buddhist teaching of
jikji(pointing directly to one's Buddha nature). The temple fell into obscurity during the repression of Buddhism during the Joseon period and the Japanese occupation. However, Venerable Nokwon undertook are building campaign in 1960 that eventually resulted in the reconstruction of more than sixty buildings. The temple has Jogye Order's largest training and retreat facilities, and a full range of monastic educational programs.
9th District Head Temple: Donghwasa Temple
-Founded in 493 C.E.
-Address: 35 Dohak-dong, Dong-gu, DaeguCity
-Tel.: (82-53) 982-0101
Legend has it that while Donghwasa Temple was being built during the winter, paulownia trees blossomed, hence the name, "the temple where the paulownia flowers blossom." The temple features a huge outdoor standing Healing Buddha dedicated to the unification of the country. It is also renowned for its transmission of religious traditions and its annual Temple Foundation Festival. The temple conducts regular consolation ceremonies for the spirits of those killed during the Korean War on nearby Mt.Palgong.
10th District Head Temple: Eunhaesa Temple
-Founded in 809 C.E.
-Address: 479 Chiil-ri, Cheongtong-myeon, Yeongcheon-si, NorthGyeongsangProvince
-Tel.: (82-54) 335-3318
With an enshrined statue of Amitabha, this temple is known as the major Amitabha worship temple among the district head temples. Furthermore, following on its established history, the temple is notable for its Jogye Order monastic graduate school. The temple's name, "Silver Ocean Temple," is derived from the impression it gives of a sparkling Pure Land ocean, and its majestic appearance makes one feel that it is home to innumerable Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats.
11th District Head Temple: Bulguksa Temple
-Founded in 528 C.E. (15h year of Shilla King Beopheung, which means the King of Reviving Dharma)
-Address: 15 Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju, NorthGyeongsangProvince
-Tel.: (82-54) 746-9912
A UNESCO-designated World Cultural Heritage Site, Bulguksa Temple contains a trove of cultural treasures, including the Seokgatap and Dabotap stupas. It draws millions of local and foreign tourists each year to see the wealth of outstanding accomplishments from the Shilla Period. Today, the temple is also a major training site, with numerous monks continuing their education and practice in the sutra school and the Seon meditation hall.
12th District Head Temple: Haeinsa Temple
-Founded in 802 C.E.
-Address: 10 Chiin-ri, Gaya-myeon, Hapcheon-gun, South Gyeongsang Province
-Tel.: (82-55) 931-1001
Haeinsa Temple is one of the Three Jewel Temples. It represents the Dharma, or Buddha's teachings, as it houses the 81,258 Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks--designated a Memory of the World by UNESCO. It is one of ten Avatamsaka (Flower Garland Sutra) temples established during the Shilla Period as well as one of five comprehensive monastic training temples (chongrim). Haeinsa has long fostered the Seon tradition. It has been home to many outstanding Seon masters, including Supreme Patriarch Venerable Beopjeong.
13th District Head Temple: Ssanggyesa Temple
-Founded in 723 C.E.
-Address: 208 Unsu-ri, Hwangae-myeon, Hadong-gun, South Gyeongsang Province
-Tel.: (82-55) 883-1901
Upon returning from study in China, Shilla National Master Jingam brought tea tree seeds. He planted them around Mt.Jiri, and founded a temple which is still the home of large tea groves. Inaddition, he apparently introduced classical Buddhist songs. In front of the main Dharma hall at Ssanggyesa Temple is National Treasure No.47, a memorial tablet for Master Jingam, with the calligraphy written by Choi Chi-won, a famous enlightened scholar. Both the long path to the temple, which is lined with cherry blossom trees, and nearby Bulil Water fall are famous. Many monks practice Seon at Chilbulsa (Seven Buddhas Temple) nearby.
14th District Head Temple: Beomeosa Temple
-Founded in 678 C.E.
-Address: 546 Cheongryong-dong, Geumjeong-gu, BusanCity
-Tel.: (82-51) 508-3122
Beomeosa Temple is one of three major temples in southeastern Korea. It is home to a large number of national treasures and cultural properties, including the main Dharma hall (National Treasure No. 434), a three-story stone stupa (Treasure No. 250), a stone lantern and banner poles, and a One Pillar Gate. From the time of Avatamsaka Master Uisang of Shilla to that of Seon Master Dongsan of the early twentieth century, this temple was the training center that produced an impressive flow of outstanding monks. There are a number of meditation halls on the extensive temple grounds, including Geumeo Seon Hall.
-Founded in 643 C.E.
-Address 583 Jisan-ni, Habuk-myeon, Yangsan-gun, South Gyeongsang Province
-Tel.: (82-55) 382-7182
Tongdosa Tempe is one of Korea's five temples where relics of the Buddha reside in place of Buddha statues. Precepts Master Jajang brought the relics, including part of the Buddha's robes, from China and enshrined them here. Consequently, the temple represents the Buddha among the Three Jewel Temples. It also is a comprehensive monastic training temple called Yeonchuk Chongrim. Mt. Yeongchuk above the temple resembles Vulture Peak Mountain where the Buddha delivered the Lotus Sutra, and consequently the name of the temple means" to pass through to enlightenment."
In addition, all Korean monks take their ordination vows on the "Diamond Platform" where the holy relics are enshrined. This temple has been home to many noteworthy monks, including Seon Master Gyeongbong. There are more than twenty hermitages scattered around the temple. Tongdosa Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Buddhist temple paintings.
16th District Head Temple: Gounsa Temple
-Founded in 681 C.E.
-Address: 116 Gugye-dong, Danchon-myeon, Uiseong-gun, NorthGyeongsangProvince
-Tel.: (82-54) 833-2324
Gounsa Temple was named after the pen name of the famous Shilla scholar Choi Chi-won, who once resided at this temple to get away from the mundane world. Surrounded by about five hundred meters of dense forest, the temple served as a base for monk soldiers led by the Great Patriarch Samyeong during the Japanese invasions of the late fifteenth century. During the Joseon Period, royalty supported the temple for national prosperity, and it became one of the thirty-two district headquarters during the Japanese Occupation that fought for liberation and national independence
17th District Head Temple: Geumsansa Temple
-Founded in 599 C.E.
-Address: 39 Geumsan-ni, Geumsan-myeon, Gimje-gun, North Jeolla Province
-Tel.: (82-63) 548-4441
Geumsansa Temple is an ancient temple. It played a role in different historical events such as being the place of confinement for the Later Baekje ruler Gyeonhweon after his surrender to Wanggeon, the first king of the Goryeo Dynasty. Wanggeon advocated Maitreya Buddhist practice for the common people and the temple became a center for this practice. The Maitreya Hall (National Treasure No. 62) is Korea's tallest wooden structure. In the spring, the path to this temple is lined with cherry blossoms. A number of local festivals are held here each year.
18th District Head Temple: Baekyangsa Temple
-Founded in 632 C.E.
-Address: 26 Yaksu-ri, Bukha-myeon, Jangseong-gun, South Jeolla Province
-Tel.: (82-651) 392-7502
An ancient Baekje kingdom temple, Baekyangsa Temple is also one of the five comprehensive monastic training temples (chongrim). The famous Seon Master Manam became a monk and died here. It was here that Spiritual Master Seoung taught his "True Love Philosophy" and the Mucha (Open) Seon Dharma Meeting was founded. The temple operates the "True Love Training Center.”
19th District Head Temple: Hwaeomsa Temple
-Founded in 544 C.E. by Yeongi
-Address: 12 Hwangjeon-ni, Masan-myeon, Gurye-gun South Jeolla Province
-Tel.: (82-61) 782-7600
As the national center for Avatamsaka (Flower Garland Sutra) thought, Hwaeomsa Temple has long been the center of much national and royal attention. Many famous monks have resided here and the temple has long served as the leading Avatamsaka educational center. A number of outstanding national treasures and other important cultural properties are housed here, including National Treasure No. 12, a stone lantern renowned for its great size and exquisite stonework. A three-story stupa held up by four lions (National Treasure No. 35, from the Unified Shilla Dynasty); the main Dharma hall, the Hall of the Enlightened One (National Treasure No. 67, from the mid-Joseon Period); and an 11.95-meter high, 7.76-meter wide Lotus Sutra Dharma Assembly painting (National Treasure No. 301) can all be found here.
21st District Head Temple: Songgwangsa Temple
-Founded during the late Shilla Dynasty by Seon Master Hyaejin
-Address: 12 Shinpyong-ni, Songgwang-myeon, Suncheon-si, South Jeolla Province
-Tel.: (82-61) 755-0107
Songgwangsa Temple is the Third, Jewel Temple. Representing the sangha, Songgwangsa is also one of the five comprehensive monastery training temples as it has played a highly important role in carrying on the Korean monastic tradition. Seon Master Bojo Jinul (1158-1210) was one of sixteen national masters who have resided here. The Hall of the National Masters is National Treasure No. 56, and a number of early Joseon Period architectural works can also be found at the temple compound. Famous monks of recent times include the late Seon masters Hyobong and Kusan.
22nd District Head Temple: Daeheungsa Temple
-Founded in 426 C.E.
-Address: 799 Gurim-ri, Samsan-myeon, Haenam-gun, South Jeolla Province
-Tel.: (82-61) 534-5502
Located on the beautiful forested slopes of Mt. Duryun, Daeheungsa Temple includes a Pyochungsa shrine hall which houses belongings of the great Seon Master Seosan who defended the nation during the Japanese invasions of 1592 to 1598. This temple has been home to many notable monks including thirteen great patriarchs and thirteen other great teachers. It continues the renowned tea tradition of Seon Master Choui, and offers highly active weekend retreat programs for the general public.
23rd District Head Temple: Gwaneumsa Temple
-Founded in 1905 C.E.
-Address: 387 Ara-dong, Jeju City, Jeju-do