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Friday, 18 April 2014

Namo Palbeon Daebosal, Part XVIII: Surisa, Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province


Located halfway up the southwestern side of Mount Suri, the eponymously named Surisa Temple (Hanja: 修理寺) was built under the reign of King Jinheung of Silla (534CE - 576CE; Reigned: 540CE - 576CE). The mountain was also called bulgyeon, which means “seeing Buddha,” as it was said that a member of the royal family had a vision of the Buddha while praying at the temple. Located at 347-181 Sokdal Avenue/Sokdallo, Sokdal-dong 329-beonji, Gunpo City, Gyeonggi Province, the temple is a part of Yongjusa Temple, which is a regional headquarters for the Jogye Sect of Buddhism.

The founder of the temple is unknown although the Venerable Monk Unsa, who was of imperial birth, named the temple, which means ‘one would see Buddha in person and become Buddha himself in the future’. The temple used to be larger, maintaining 36 buildings on the premises and 132 hermitages spread over the mountain, but these facilities were completely destroyed during the Japanese Imjin Invasions of Korea from 1592-1598 and the Korean War from 1950-1953. 

The temple that stands today was reconstructed by monk Chungwoon in 1955. The road leading to the entrance of Surisa Temple offers gorgeous scenery with a beautiful forest and valley lining its sides; it is as if the mountain itself surrounds the temple like a painted screen.