The best stop on our half-day tour of Seoul was at the Jogyesa Temple. This is a Seon or Zen Buddhist temple and it is the only temple within the ancient Seoul’s city limits. It was built in 1910 and is Zen Buddhist center today. It is definitely a retreat from the fast paced urban life.
The temple consists of several buildings. I wish I had known more about the center before my visit. You enter the temple grounds through the One Pillar Gate. This gate is the boundary between the spiritual world of the temple and the secular world outside. We were attracted immediately to the Great Hero Hall which is stunning. It is the heart of the temple and enshrines the Buddha Sakyamuni.
The building is of wood. On the exterior, there are beautiful cosmic designs known as “Dan-chung” painted on the beams and columns to protect the wood and decorate the temple. The doors are covered with fine lattice work and the life of Buddha is depicted on the painting around the building.
Also on the grounds is a 500 year old lacebark pine. There were other significant buildings such as even-story stone stupa which holds a relic and the Paradise hall and bell pavilion. I explored the areas but did not have time to find out more.
Here are some pictures of the exterior of the temple and the grounds. Tomorrow I will post pictures of the inside of the Great Hero Hall.
One Pillar Gate where you enter the temple grounds