Seonunsan - Mt. Seonun

Seonunsan - Mt. Seonun, where the great spirit lives.

Seounsan locates in Gochang where takes 3 hours driving to south from Seoul. It's original name was Mt, Dosol but it changed to Seounsan since when the temple, Seonunsa, has became famous. Mt. Seonunsan is a popular destination throughout all four seasons. Visitors here can enjoy camellias, cherry blossoms, cool valleys, thick woods, colorful foliage, and the sight of snow on rock cliffs. The fall season offers a mesmerizing view of crimson leaves.

 The hiking trail starts from the parking lot. Well paved red road seems to bring me to the heaven.

 After 5~10 minutes walk, the main entrance of Seonunsan and Seonun temple are waiting for visitors.
Every main temple in Korea has this kind of entrance, so called Iljumoon.
From this entrance, the territory of Seonun temple begins.

Seonunsa buddhist temple is the head temple of 24th parish in the Korean Jogye order buddhism which is located in Mt.Dosol of Gochang county, Jeonra north province.
The temple name "Seonun" means the place where an ascetic devotee practicing seon(zen) meditation with the evening cloud which dwells in the blazing red of the setting sun.

The temple is located in the rocks of fantastic shape and so it have its most beautiful scenery. The temple was founded A.D.577(24th year of king Weeduk, Baekje dynasty) by master Kumdan and since then this temple took charge of enlightening the sentient beings of this world and guiding them to the buddhist's idealistic pure land.

From the beginning, some displaced people lived in Mt.Seonun(Mt.Dosol) because there were disturbances of war during the period of three states(Gogureo, Baekje and Shinra dynasty). Master Kumdan taught the teachings of Buddha, traditional salt making method and traditional Korean paper making method to them.
So they made their earnings from the salt and paper making and they can kept their livelihood. Villagers named their village as Kumdan-ri after master Kumdan's Buddhist name for paying master Kumdan's tribute to them. Villagers also offered their salt to the Seonunsa temple for repaying master Kumdan's obligation.
Since then this beautiful tradition have handed down even today.

There is no end of visitors to Seonunsa temple because this temple have its beautiful scenery, its long history and its important cultural properties.
In addition to it, the red flowers of Camila trees around the temple burst into flowers in the spring and is much loved from the poets and artists.
<quoted from Seonunsa home page>

1,500 years old building. This is the main building of Seonun Temple.

Seonunsa Temple is the perfect place to calm your mind and to rest your body, engaging in daily monastic activities. Seonunsa is a well-known temple for its beautiful scenery and its large number of historic relics.
The temple also has a good reputation for its temple stay program. Temple Stay in Seonunsa will be a unique experience for you to learn about Buddhism, its life style, rituals and spirituality. It provides refuge from the city life, as well as time and space for meditation and healing.
This can be a meaningful time to take a look at your inner-self based on Buddha’s teachings; searching for your true self, living in harmony with other people and becoming one with nature.

Make sure you participate in the daily temple life schedule: pre-dawn/evening chanting ceremony, meal time and bed time; and the rest of the day will be free.
It is open to everyone regardless of religious beliefs. We welcome you to Seonunsa Temple Stay. Hope you have an unforgettable memory and make a good karma through temple stay in Seonunsa. <from the homepage of Seonunsa>

The trail to the mountain is very gentle and very good to enjoy the nature. If you get tired, step aside then sit on the bench. Birds and wind will sing for you.

Somebody puts his/her desperate wishes on the wooden tower.

At the end of gentle trail, wind bell and wind through the bamboo forest chimes for the tired life.

Then we need to choose the way. Go straight or turn left!
Like life sometimes, either way's destination is same.

The trail is well managed by Gochang province. No danger but steps, steps.

At some height, we can see the whole picture of Dosolam(Child temple of Seonunsa).

Beautiful rocks are convoying the valley of Dosolam.

On the way to the top.

The peak, Chunmabong commands all peaks in Seonunsan.
Look like very sharp and dangerous but....

On the top of Chunmabong.
The top of Chunmabong is very wide and very nice to take a rest. Also nice view!

Dosolsam is more visible on the top of Chunmabong. So peaceful.

The name 'Dosol' means the heaven where Maitreya bodhisattva practice asceticism for his descenting to new idealistic world. As we know it, Maitreya Buddha is the next Buddha and so we presume that the foundation of Dosolam hermitage is related to Maitreya belief. Especially people called the rock cliff Buddha which is carved on the west rock from Dosolam hermitage as Maitreya Buddha. So we presume that there is some sort of connection between Dosolam hermitage and Maitreya belief.
Originally, Dosolam hermitage was devided into three hermitages as upper Dosolam, under Dosolam and north Dosolam. Upper Dosolam hermitage was located at the site of 'Naewongung'(the palace of Maitreya). Under Dosolam hermitage was located at the rock cliff Buddha and north Dosolam hermitage was located at the main Buddha hall. But all is gone except 'Naewongung'(the palace of maitreya) and north Dosolam hermitage. So Dosolam hermitage is composed of 'Naewongung', Main Buddha Hall, Arhat hall and temple dormitory now.
Dosolam Hermitage is the most famous praying site of Korean Buddhist.

 The way to another peak looks like the passage to the heaven.

Nakjodae. It mean "Sunset point."

Other peaks of Seonunsan looks beautiful.

Yongmoongul(Cave). Through this passage, we can get the Dosolam.

The Seated Jijang Bodhiattva Statue. (National treasure)

This is considered to be one of the greatest works of art from the end of the Goryeo synasty. Its form and size are similar to the statue in Daeungjeon, but its carving style is more realistic. Its balanced face reflects the decent and graceful impression, and the curved line of its shoulders is very natural. Unlike typical Jijang Bodhisattva statues as the shape of monk, it wears a hood, which was in vogue during in Goryeo dynasty.
Wonder how they carved at the cliff 1,500 years ago?

Naewongung in Dosolam
This building which is placed between the deep valleys and unique rocks of Cheoninam contains Jijang Bodhisattva who is said to rescue people from suffering. It is called Sangdosolam. The foundation of this building is placed on a huge rock.
The building was small in scale, but it shows a sense of stability. Portrays stable feeling. Though it is said to have existed since the Tongil-Silla period, the present building was rebuilt at the beginning of the Joseon dysnaty and repaired several times up until 1817.

Temples always hang colorful lights when the Buddha's birthday coming.

People prays and put their names and wishes to the roof tile.

One of famous things in Seonunsan. It looks like a pine tree but it is ivy like plant, a natural monument.

If you wish to visit Seonunsan and Seonun Temple, please send me an email to .

Thank you!

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