for those who love South Korea

Jaengban Guksu, Korean cold noodles with vegetables (source)

"Mihwangsa is an elegant temple located at the southernmost tip of the Korean Peninsula, in the so-called “Land’s End Village.” You can see at one time both the beautiful mountain Dalmasan and the cool, refreshing West Sea.

Mihwangsa was founded during the reign of Shilla King Gyeongdeok (749 C.E.), and the story of its foundation is quite interesting. One day a stone boat appeared in the sea in front of the village. People heard beautiful sounds, a heavenly hymn glorifying the Buddha’s virtue, coming from the ship. But when they approached the stone ship to investigate, the ship moved back away from the shore. However, when they gave up and turned their backs to leave, the ship would return closer to the shore again. This went on for several days. When Ven. Uijo heard this news, he started chanting and praying, and the boat reached land safely. Inside the boat was a box made of gold and a black rock. The monk found a Buddha statue and sutras inside of the golden box, and when he broke open the rock, a black cow leapt out. That night, the monk saw a golden man in his dream, who told him that the boat had come from India, and that he should build a temple wherever the cow stopped.

The next day, the Buddha statue and sutras were loaded on the back of the cow, which started to climb up the foothills of Dalmasan. About halfway up, the cow loudly mooed, fell down and didn’t get up again. So the monk built a temple in that place and called it Mihwangsa. The temple is named Mi (beautiful) after the unusually pleasing, strangely musical bellow of the black cow, and Hwang (yellow/gold) after the golden robes of the man in Great Master Euijo’s dream.

Mihwangsa is a temple as beautiful as its name. The rocky ridge of Dalmasan surrounds Mihwangsa, as if the landscape is from a panel on a folding screen. Also the glow of the setting sun, as seen at dusk from the temple, has been a wondrous sight for many people, since long ago.”

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"Jeondeungsa Temple is located on Ganghwa Island. It’s been said that Jeondeungsa was founded in the Goguryeo Period, during the reign of King Sosurim (381 C.E.) by the Ven. Ado, who called it Jinjongsa Temple. If it’s true, then Jeondeungsa can be considered to be the temple having the oldest history in all of Korea. During the Goryeo Dynasty, Jinjongsa fought against the invasion of the Mongol hordes, and helped bring about the revival of Buddhism. The Goryeo Royal Family set up their temporary court on Ganghwado Island after fleeing from the city of Gaeseong, and constructed a temporary palace within the temple grounds. When the royals returned to the capital city of Gaegyeong, during the reign of King Chungryeol (1282), the name of the temple was changed to Jeondeungsa. During this period of the Joseon Dynasty, when Confucianism was worshipped and Buddhism largely suppressed, Jeondeungsa didn’t lose its position as a significant temple. In the reign of King Sukjong (1678), the temple was charged with protecting the ancestral records of the Joseon Dynasty royal family, so from 1719 until 1910 Jeondeungsa’s senior monk always held the highest position of any monk in the Joseon Dynasty."


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