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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Namo Palbeon Daebosal, Part XXI: Dopiansa, Cheorwon, Gangwon Province


Dopiansa Temple (Hanja: 倒彼岸寺) in 23 Dopidong Street/Dopidong-gil, Gwanwoo-ri 450-beonji, Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon County, Gangwon Province was built by the Buddhist Monk Doseon in 865, the 5th Reigning Year of King Gyeongmun of the Unified Silla Period. The temple is located near to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates Cheorwon County in Northern Side (DPRK).

Legend has it that Monk Doseon founded this temple because a 91 centimeter-tall seated iron Vairocana Buddha statue had disappeared while being carried to Anyangsa Temple in Cheorwon and was mysteriously found seated at the current site.

The temple was named Dopiansa to indicate that the iron-made Buddha statue had reached “pian,” meaning an eternal place to rest. In addition to the legendary iron Variocana Buddha statue (National Treasure No. 63) made by Monk Doseon, the temple houses a 4.1 meter-tall three-story granite pagoda (Treasure No. 223).

In 1898, the temple was all burned but one devotee served to re-establish the whole structure and once again in 1914. During Korean War (1950~1953), the local area went through critical period of conflicts, just below the DMZ, which implies that the temple also got affected by war. After war, the Army battalion served themselves to construct the historic temple in 1959.