I send everyone warm spring greetings from South Korea.
Now the whole world is in the terrible pandemic of the coronavirus, and many countries are isolated. People are sitting at home and going out is not so easy.
In South Korea, despite the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, here is no mandatory home quarantine. More precisely, quarantine was prescribed only for those who had just arrived in the country. But I didn’t want to talk about the virus today.
Today I suggest you take a virtual trip to one of the most unusual temples in South Korea, which was built in 1376.
“You will receive an answer to at least one of your desires through sincere prayers” … This is the motto of the Yonggungsa temple. So the choice of our current tourist destination is not accidental.
The history of mankind has always been intertwined with the sea. Sometimes the sea is quiet and calm, and sometimes it rages with immeasurable force. Unlike many other temples, the Haedong Yonggung Buddhist Temple is located on the seashore in Busan. Typically, Buddhist temples find their place in the highlands, away from people.
The history says that the Great Buddha of forgiveness and mercy lives alone near the sea and sometimes appears on the back of a dragon. Therefore, the Yonggun temple was built on the seashore and is one of 3 sacred places dedicated to the Great Buddha of Mercy. Compared to many other Buddhist temples, Yonggun temple preserves the religious concept in itself much deeper, as the temple represents harmony in the form of the sea, dragon and Great Buddha.
In addition to all this, Yonggun Temple is the most southern temple on the east sea (or as it is also called Japanese Sea in some countries). The temple was founded by the Buddhist monk Naon.
Naon was an adviser to King Gonmin. At the time when the monk practised asceticism in the Bunhwan temple in the city of Gyeongju, this area of Busan which is hidden from the strong winds, because of which all the crops burned down. People suffered from hunger and resented God for not sending them rain.
One day, Monk Naon had a dream in which the God of the Sea came to him and said that if they build a temple on the edge of Mountain Bongnae and pray there, then all difficulties will disappear and people can be happy. After this dream, Naon visited the area where Yonggun Temple is now located.
The monk saw that there was a mountain in front of him, and a sea behind him, which meant that if they pray in the morning, they would receive an answer in the evening. The monk built the temple, which was called Bomun, and the mountain was named Bongnae. The word Bongnae means something mysterious and pure. And the word “Bomun” is the absolute and infinite power of the Great Buddha of Mercy Guanyin or Gwan-se-eum (as it is called in Korea).
Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed by fire during the Japanese occupation. But the monk Ungan from the Tondo Temple built the temple again in 1930. The temple was run by many senior monks until Monk Chunyam prayed that the temple would be restored as the seminary of the Great Buddha of Mercy. He prayed for 100 days, and once during a pray, the Great Buddha came before him in a white coat on the back of a dragon radiating a five-color ray. After that, the temple was renamed the Haedong Yonggung Temple.
People believe that at least they can get an answer to their desires if they pray here. Therefore, many people come to this temple.
So, if you will be in Busan, be sure to visit the temple and make your cherished desire!