Bongeunsa (Samsungdong, South Korea) , 봉은사
Venerable Yeonhue, the national Master Sunim of the Unified Shilla dynasty,
founded the Bongeun Temple in the 10th year of King Wonseong’s reign(794).
Located at the slope of 'Sudo' mountain in Samsung-dong, South of Seoul,
Bongeunsa is one of Korea’s most traditional Buddhist temples built under
the name of Gyeonseongsa.
Bongeunsa today is a symbol of the great Buddhist Sunim Bowoo’s aspiration
to prosper Buddhism and Queen Moonjeong’s prayers. Due to efforts to suppress
Buddhism and spread Confucianism during the Chosun Dynasty, by the year
1406 government-authorized temples were reduced to 242.
Queen Munjong's policies to promote Buddhism began in 1548. Queen started
by restoring the system of National Examination for monks, as well restored both the
Seon(Zen) sect and the Doctrine sect along with all of the network of temples in the
nation. Bongeunsa was designated as the Head temple of Seon sect.
Master Bowoo was assigned as the Chief Monk of Bongeunsa in 1548. He played
a major role at this critical period with Queen Munjong's help and support
in restoring Buddhism from the oppression of Chosun dynasty.
There is a small monument stone marked 'Seongkwa-pyung'on the road across
the main gate of Bongeun-Sa. That mark indicates that Buddhist National Exam
was held there from 1552- 1564. This place has important meaning in the history of
Korean Buddhism. Many Seon masters, such as Seosan and Samyung were
among those selected through the exam.
With all efforts of those master Sunim's - Bowoo, Seosan,
Samyung and Gakseong,
Bongeunsa could keep history and tradition during the middle of Chosun Dynasty.
In 1850, Namho Yeoungki Sunim has brought new energy to the Temple by
completing the Panjeon 3,438 sheets of wooden blocks of Abatamsaka
Sutra in the late period of Chosun Dynasty.
In recent years, Chongho Sunim and Yeongam Sunim devoted to refurbish the
Temple to be the center of propagation and social service.
Bongeunsa is widely recognized for it's various propagation efforts and
social services. It represents Korea's past 1,200 years of history and tradition.
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