6 Buddhist Temples to See in Seoul
Pen Name: MavyLast Article: Best Cocktail Bars in BangkokPosted On: 14/12/2015
If you’re planning to visit Korea and are thinking about booking flights to Seoul, be sure to check out our list of top Buddhist temples to visit while you’re in the city.
Despite being a fairly secular society, traditional Buddhist and Confucian philosophies remain ingrained within Korean culture. Seoul has a large number of Buddhist temples stretching across the city, which are popular amongst tourists both for routine day visits and even overnight stays.
Templestays provide visitors with a unique cultural experience, allowing visitors to experience life as a monk
The Templestay experience may include the daily dawn service, Korean Zen meditation, a tea drinking ceremony, and a traditional Buddhist meal with bowls. Below is a list of the Top 6 temples to check out when visiting the city as part of your endless quest for inner peace!
1. Bongeunsa Temple
The Bongeunsa Temple is the biggest, richest, and most visited temple in Seoul and is situate right in the heart of the city. The area the temple is in, GangNAm, is actually one of the country’s most swanky and opulent boroughs, so the temple provides a quiet resting place for tourists and locals alike in and amongst Seoul’s shopping malls and skyscrapers.
The temple itself was founded in 794 for the Zen sect of Buddhism. Bongeunsa is home to the tallest stone statue of Buddha in the country, which stands at 23m. The temple grounds provide a serene and refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
2. Jogyesa Temple
Also known as Jogye Temple, Jogyesa is the chief temple of the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism, which is the dominant sect of Buddhism in Korea.
The temple was originally built in 1910 and is also located in the heart of the city, which means that it attracts many international visitors.
The temple is a grand structure featuring a main hall with a statue of Sakyamuni Buddha enshrined within it. Jogyesa also hosts the Lotus Lantern Festival every May, around Buddha's birthday, and is famous for its Temple-life program for overseas visitors.
Highlights of the temple include Daeungjeon Hall with its stairs on every side of the temple, with the doors on each wall decorated with a beautiful flower design. Jinsinsari is a seven-story stone pagoda and Baeksong, a rare 500 year old white pine tree designated as a Korean “natural monument”.
3. Bongwonsa Temple
Bongwonsa is a thousand year old temple which was destroyed during the Japanese invasion of 1592 and in 1748, later being rebuilt by two Buddhist monks. The temple became a UNESCO world heritage site in in 2009.
An important ritual takes place at Bongwonsa on June 6 each year during the Yeongsanjae event, where there are prayers for world peace and the reunification of North and South Korea.
During the summer the, “Seoul Lotus Flower Culture Festival” also takes place
4. Yeonghwasa Temple
Located at the foothills of Achasan Mountain, Yeonghwasa was built in 672. Highlights include a gigantic stone Buddha, Mireuk. Legend has it that the Buddha brings good fortune to those who come to pray, so the temple becomes particularly popular during national college exams!
5. Sueng Ga Temple
Sueng Ga is one of the most scenic and interesting Buddhist temples in Seoul, containing many fascinating ancient relics. Built in 756, almost all the temple buildings were destroyed during the Korean War. Cultural assets include a seated bronze statue of Gugidong Buddha at the top of a flight of 108 steps.
Reaching the temple requites quite a hike, so be sure to bring your hiking boots and consider taking advantage of a formal organised tour. Once there, the temple offers spectacular views of the city.
6. Wawoojongsa Temple
Located 48Km south of Seoul, the temple is surrounded by the breath-taking scenery around Yunwha Mountain. The Wawoojongsa Temple is something of a Mecca of the Korean people's spirit of patriotism.
The Temple features a world famous lying Buddha and the world's first wooden Buddha.
The “all Buddha's Hall" showcases Buddha statutes brought from all around the world, while the Reunification Tower, built from stones and rocks brought there by followers, is a place to pray for the peaceful reunification of South and North Korea .
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with your inner zen and book those flights to Korea today! You can find flights from Australia right here.