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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Confucian Confusions in Korea + Namo Palbeon Daebosal, Part XII: Pyochungsa-Pyochung Seowon, Miryang, Southern Gyeongsang

Pyochungsa (Hanja: 表忠寺), originally Jungnimsa (죽림사/竹林寺), is a Korean Buddhist temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It stands on the slopes of Mount Jaeyak near Mount Cheonhwang in the Yeongnam Alps in Gucheon-ri, Danjang-myeon, Miryang, Southern Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.

Pyochungsa was first established by Wonhyo in 654 under the name "Jungnimsa." It was rebuilt at its present location by Hwangmyeon in 857, in the reign of the Silla king Heungdeok. In the Goryeo period, the National Preceptor Iryeon gathered more than a thousand monks there.

After Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea in the late 16th century (1592 Imjin Invasion), the temple was renamed "Pyochungsa" (temple of fidelity displayed) in honor of Songun Yu Jeong, the monk who led various righteous armies against the Japanese. The Pyochung Seowon (表忠書院), the only seowon located within the grounds of a Buddhist temple, was also constructed there in Songun's memory.

Due to its rich history and location in the Yeongnam Alps, Pyochungsa is a leading tourist attraction of Miryang. The temple is home to an incense burner which is designated National treasure of South Korea no. 75. In addition, the entire temple has been designated as Southern Gyeongsang Provincial Monument no. 17.