Temples

Gyuam-myeon, Buyeo-gun, Chungchongnam-do, 17 May 2016, 7am. Lotte and early Korea-Japan connections Baekje is known for its close ties to early Japan. According to one version of events, Empress Jingu was an invader from the Korean peninsula and had Baekje blood in her. Such a controversial hypothesis does not appear as a possibility on Jingu’s […]

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2016 travel diary 8: Buyeo’s Jeongnimsa Temple Site

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 4:45pm. The sun is still hot as we arrive at our destination. We walk slowly, as there is little shade, past the ticket office to where is a wide, flat open space in the middle of which is National Treasure #9: the five storey stone pagoda of Jeongnimsa Temple. Is one allowed […]

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2014 Travel Diary day 5: 타종식 — New beginnings

by Philip Gowman 10 June 2014
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In which we hike to Beopgyesa to cut the ribbon at the 타종식: the ceremonial first ringing of the highest temple bell in South Korea. Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Tuesday 10 June. We wake up at 5:30, dilute our espresso with boiling water from the kettle and carefully eat the cake. I have a dull feeling […]

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2013 Travel Diary #20: The temple of a thousand pagodas

by Philip Gowman 11 September 2013
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Unjusa, Hwasun-gun, Wednesday 11 September, 3:45am. My phone wakes me up at 3:45 am, and I struggle into my trousers, splash some water onto my face, and make my way to the main shrine. I’m the first one there, and soon Kyung-sook arrives, then Wonsan himself. Later, a couple of the temple women join us. […]

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2013 Travel Diary #19: Mosquitoes at Unjusa

by Philip Gowman 10 September 2013
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Suncheon-si, Tuesday 10 September, 12:30pm We head back to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes, before lunch at a nearby eatery – a deliciously delicate clam noodle soup. The soup is brought in a large bowl full of a light broth. At the bottom of the bowl is a mound of […]

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2013 Travel Diary #11: Mother Mago, the Goddess of Jirisan

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2013
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Jungsan-ri, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 10:30am. It is pleasant to sit down in a comfortable seat in the cool environment of an air-conditioned car. After the hot, humid exertions on the mountain I am happy just to sit in the passenger seat not wanting any particular destination. But just outside Jungsan-ri we turn into a narrow […]

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2013 Travel Diary #10: Breakfast at Beopgyesa

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2013
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Beopgyesa Temple, Jirisan, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 8:30am. Breakfast is again in the kitchen, and as usual (because I’m a foreigner unused to sitting on the floor) I’m allowed to sit with my back to the wall. I’m encouraged to stretch my legs out straight, and pummel my thighs and massage my knees, which are already […]

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2013 Travel Diary #9: Sunrise on Cheonwangbong

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2013
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Beopgyesa Temple, Jirisan, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 4am. It’s still pitch black. In parts, the sky is thick with cloud, but one or two stars manage to find a break to peek through. We set off up the trail, I with my head torch, and Mr Yoon using the flashlight from his mobile phone (he has […]

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2013 Travel Diary #8: Prayers to the Sanshin

by Philip Gowman 7 September 2013
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Danseong-myeon, Sancheong-gun, Saturday 7 September, 4pm. After last year’s abortive attempt to get to the top of the highest mountain on mainland South Korea, I was determined to give it another go at a time of year when there was guaranteed not to be any ice on the path. As an added bonus, what would […]

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2012 Travel Diary #19: Beopgyesa Temple and those Japanese feng-shui stakes

by Philip Gowman 16 October 2012
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Beopgyesa Temple (법게사) is the highest in Sancheong County and at least the third-highest in Korea. The good people of Sancheong believe that Beopgyesa is the highest temple in South Korea, a claim which is supported by Beopgyesa’s entry on the Cultural Heritage Administration website, where the following text is to be found: “It is […]

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2012 Travel Diary #18: The hike to Beopgyesa

by Philip Gowman 30 September 2012
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Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Thursday 29 March 2012. The road through Jungsan-ri stops in a car park beyond which are the Jirisan National Park office and a barrier across the road. Jungsan-ri is the start of the shortest (but not necessarily the gentlest) trail to Cheonwanbong, Jirisan’s highest peak. We are permitted to proceed through the barrier, shaving […]

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Haeinsa celebrates 1,000 years of the Tripitaka Koreana

by Philip Gowman 17 October 2011
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Haeinsa Temple is hosting its first contemporary art exhibition, involving 34 artists from 10 countries, to commemorate the millennial anniversary of the Tripitaka Koreana, which UNESCO has designated one of the “most important and most complete corpus of Buddhist doctrinal texts in the world.” The exhibition’s title — 通 | 통 | Tong — uses […]

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Haeinsa temple to market its own brand organic condiments

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2011
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Haeinsa temple is marketing its own-brand organic gochujang, doenjang and soy sauce. I’d certainly buy some. http://bit.ly/pPQy2h (#) Keywords: Temples: Haeinsa Places: Hapcheon-gun Other tags: Temples

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2011 Travel Diary day 4: the private side of Sancheong

by Philip Gowman 3 May 2011
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Busan, Tuesday 3 May 2011. My head is still feeling slightly foggy from Sunday night, and my appetite has not yet returned, but at least I’m feeling well enough to tackle the Busan subway system for the first time. It’s a breeze, and soon I’m on my way to Nopodong where my friend Kyung-sook will […]

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2011 Travel Diary day 3: the hangover in Busan

by Philip Gowman 2 May 2011
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Myeongdong, Monday 2 May 2011. I wake up, fully clothed, sprawled on my hotel bed at 6am, not knowing how I got there. The previous evening had ended in a bit of a blur, as my evenings with Yi Chul-jin tend to. It had all started off in a civilised enough manner over dinner, but […]

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Waujeongsa, Gyeonggi-do: home of record-breaking statues

by Philip Gowman 20 November 2010
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Where is the biggest Buddha head in the world? Waujeongsa, Gyeonggi-do (above. Photo credit: Wake up and Laugh!). It also contains the world’s largest wooden statue of a Buddha in a lying down position. Via @CoolstuffKorea. Keywords: Temples: Waujeongsa Places: Yongin-si Other tags: Temples

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Daewonsa – early morning prayers and sutra painting

by Philip Gowman 31 July 2010
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Friday 7 May. I wake up at 3 o’clock. My body seems to be ready for early morning prayers even though I hadn’t signed up for them. I wanted to hear those moktaks and chants again, so I crawl into my clothes and stumble out to the main temple courtyard to wait for the prayers […]

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