Originally constructed in the 10th
century, Bongeunsa Temple, once known as Gyeonseongsa Temple, is a
popular Buddhist temple in Seoul. Considered the epicenter of the Seon
sect of the religion, it is both a living ornament and cultural gem of
the city. It is also an important breeding ground for Korean texts, and is where sutras have been translated from Chinese since the 1970’s.
The temple grounds contain
several large and smaller structures, including the main Buddha Hall,
the Grdhrakuta Hall, the Sutra Hall and famously, the Hall of Selecting
Buddha, Unhadang Hall and Bowudang Hall. It also contains a traditional
tea house and historic and traditional stupas. In front of the Maitreya
Hall stands the tallest stone statue of Maitreya Buddha in the country,
at 74.5 feet (23 meters), and if you happen to be there during a
holiday, the area is often used for outdoor ceremonies and traditional
is centrally located in Samseong-dong, Gangnam, and is easily accessible
either on foot or by public transportation. Take the number 6 subway
line to Samseung Station and walk toward the Asem tower to Bongeunsa, or take the number 7 subway line to Cheongdam Station.
Parking is also available for just a couple of dollars an hour and if
you are taking the bus, there are several lines that take you pretty
close to the complex. Always a nice touch, admission is free, and the
operating hours are good, open all year around from 3:00am to 10:00pm,
with interpretation services offered in English.