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Magoksa Temple, Gongju

#5 of 9 in Things to do in Gongju
World heritage site · Religious Site · Tourist Spot
Magoksa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism in Gongju, South Korea. It is located on the eastern slope of Taehwasan, on taegeuk-shaped bend in the Taegeukcheon Stream.
Magoksa Temple was established in 640 by Vinaya Master Jajang Yulsa, who also built Tongdosa Temple upon his return from China. Silla’s Queen Seondeok then gave him 200 gyeol of land on which he built a brick pagoda and Magoksa Temple. The name “Magoksa” originated with Ven. Bocheol Hwasang, a monk who lived there later, because the way many people gathered to listen to his Dharma talks reminded him of hemp stalks closely packed together.
Magoksa Temple was closed during the turbulent transition period between the Goryeo Dynasty and the Joseon Dynasty. From then on the temple became a hideout for thieves for about 200 years. Finally, in 1172, Ven. Jinul drove out the thieves and renovated the temple with the help of his disciple Ven. Su-u. Joseon’s King Sejo visited the temple and personally wrote the plaque for Yeongsanjeon Hall. The king also left behind the palanquin he rode in on his trip to Magoksa Temple.
During the Japanese invasion, most of the temple’s buildings were burned down. In 1651 some buildings, Daeungjeon, Yeongsanjeon and Daejeok-gwangjeon, were reconstructed. During the period of the Korean Empire, Kim Gu came to Magoksa Temple after escaping from Incheon Prison, and temporarily lived a monastic life under the Dharma name Wonjong. Kim Gu had been imprisoned after killing a Japanese military officer who had conspired with the murderers of Empress Myeongseong. The juniper tree growing in front of Daegwang-bojeon Hall is said to have been planted by Kim Gu himself.
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  • a very interesting temple, worth a walk, the scenery is nice and breathtaking, a place for meditation as well, also the tea is very good taste, no after taste... best  more »
  • I did a temple stay at Beopjusa temple two years ago and really enjoyed it – I was the only person doing the temple stay and the Monks and the volunteers were all incredibly friendly and...  more »
  • It's very far from the bus terminal. But you don't need to walk too much to go to the temple. There are a lot of restaurant where you can eat the grill bonnet bellflower. You can see the place kimgu(Korean independent activists) shaved his hair to become a monk. The temple is good. You can register Temple Stay.
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