[Small group tour review] Bongjeongsa Temple


We headed to Bongjeongsa Temple in Andong along with embassy officials and their families for a full-day tour.  The name of Bongjeongsa Temple means it was built on the site where a phoenix landed. It was a small but charming temple with a quiet ambience that eased the mind. The temple have become more popular with the visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999.



The participants are looking around the interior of the Geungnakjeon Hall (극락전) of Bongjeongsa Temple, the oldest wooden structure in Korea. The different styles of structures by period can be seen as the buildings of Bongjeongsa Temple were built at different times. We were also amazed to be able to experience the Ondol culture, one of the distinctive Korean cultures, as some of the floors were made of stones.



Yeongsanam Hermitage (영산암) is a hermitage you must visit when you’re at Bongjeongsa Temple. The hermitage was the filming location for many films and is one of the top 10 gardens in Korea. We recommend taking some time to rest on the toenmaru (narrow wooden porch running along the outside of a room) of Songamdang Hall (송암당) in the Yeongsanam Hermitage. You will find peace looking at the stone towers built by visitors and the pine trees growing through the rocks.



We could converse with Buddhist monks while drinking tea brewed with orange Mexican marigold flowers which were abundant at Bongjeongsa Temple, Andong. We had conversations over various topics like the everyday life of a Buddhist monk at a temple, the monk’s message about world peace, and how to meditate.



We also had the opportunity to ring the bell before the evening service after dinner. The bell is rung 33 times in the morning and 28 times in the evening and we learned through the temple stay program that there is meaning to these numbers as well as all objects. The ringing of the bell was a valuable experience letting us to feel the vibration of the bell.



If you want to know more about the story of the quiet and peaceful Bongjeongsa Temple, check out the video of koreanet!