Serene Hwagyesa Temple

healer-buddhaThe Healer Buddha at the National Museum of Korea

Hwagyesa Temple

Hwagyesa Temple lies in the idyllic Samgaksan Woods, at the foot of Samgaksan Mountain in Seoul. Because the Temple is close to the center of the city, lots of people visit to feel nature.

Hwagyesa Temple has actually established a credibility as a temple that brings Korean Buddhism to a worldwide audience.

The Temple brings in numerous Zen masters from all over the world and in addition to Korean and ex-pat Buddhists. Hwagyesa Temple likewise uses a variety of temple stay programs that are open to the public.

Visitors can choose from a one day program, a meditation-focused program, and an activities-focused temple stay program.

Hwagyesa Temple! So great and extremely lovely for healing and meditation.

A lot of international monks and nuns like to remain in Hwagyesa to practice Seon Buddhism. (Seon is equivalent to Japanese 'Zen' or Chinese 'Chan.').

Hwagyesa Temple Short Background
The Temple lies deep in the foothills of Samgak Mountain, even being close to the Seoul center.

It was founded in 1522 C.E. throughout the reign of Joseon King Jungjong, in the Buheodong area of Samgaksan, as the hermitage Bodeokam.

Bodeokam was a hermitage founded throughout the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty in the vicinity of today Hwagyesa.

Hwagyesa got a great deal of assistance from the Joseon Dynasty's royal household, particularly throughout the reign of King Gojong when the Queen Mother and her retainers would frequent to the Temple. For this reason, it became called the "Palace temple."

In 1933, a group of nine Korean literature scholars remained at the Temple for the conference to complete the unified orthography of the Korean Hangul alphabet.

But more than anything else, the name Hwagyesa became known due to the efforts of the Korean monk Venerable SoongSahn (1927-2004).

Venerable SoongSahn began practicing and living at Hwagyesa in the mid-1960s. During his frequent world travels, he taught more than 50,000 disciples around the world.

There are more than 100 international monks and nuns who were ordained under Venerable SungSan Sunim at Hwagyesa.

Throughout his life time Venerable SoongSahn happened revered as a living Buddha due to his amazing efforts and influence spreading out the Dharma abroad.

After he got in Nirvana in 2004, the mourners at his funeral and subsequent public cremation were primarily worldwide monks and nuns.

Hwagyesa's Templestay Program

Hwagyesa does not seem being in a city, despite the fact that it is still situated in Seoul. When you go through the Iljoomun (One Pillar Gate), another world unfolds before you.

Whereas outside the Iljoomun, all your homes are firmly compacted, inside the temple gate, the forest-lined roadway extends into the range.

The sound of the water resonating from the valley listed below is yet another present that welcomes the visitor.

People frequently drop by the stream for a short time, simply to soak their feet. The practice of 3000 bows, being held every last Saturday Night of the month.

 Programs & Activities

Although the programs and activities are seasonal, it would be helpful if you know the following and ask for further details if you got interested.

The Experience Program
"Only Don't Know" is a temple stay program that usually takes place every Saturday until Sunday (2 days and one night).

You will learn the Buddhist religious culture through activities including meditation in nature or in the Seon Hall, hiking, 108 prostrations (bows), making lotus flowers and having tea time with a monk, etc.

Please, see more details on how to register and other necessary things you need to prepare.

The Relaxation Program
This is called the "Only Rest" program. It means that you are welcome to take a break from your daily routine and toils of everyday life. This is intended to make you relax, calm, and peaceful to get back to the mundane life energized.

This program takes place from Monday to Friday for two days and one night only. This offer is available all year round.

Visit the following link to register your date of choice:

Finding Your True Self Program
This program is usually done for a group of participants. Various activities are being offered to help you achieve your purpose.

Please, use the following contact details when you decide to participate in this program:
Schedule (in activities) and reservation date: Tel : (02)900-4326 or 010-4042-4326. E-mail:

For further inquiries, please refer to the following information:
Phone: +82-2-902-2663
Fax: +82-2-990-1885
Address: 01095  117 Hwagyesa-gil, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul 
Subway: Get off at Suyu Station (subway line 4), then come out from Exit 3. Transfer to a green Bus No. 02, and get off in front of Hwagyesa Temple Bus Stop.

Thanks for reading this article. I hope you find it very useful.

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