Korea's Religious Places - 1.1.9 Daeheungsa Temple (Haenam, Jeollanam-do)
|Understanding Korea Series No.6|
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|* Seonamsa Temple (Suncheon, Jeollanam-do)||* Daeheungsa Temple (Haenam, Jeollanam-do)||* Buseoksa Temple (Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do)|
Daeheungsa Temple (Haenam, Jeollanam-do)
On the far southwestern coastal area of Haenam, Jeollanam-do, sits Daeheungsa Temple, also known historically as Daedunsa Temple. Daeheungsa Temple is an old temple said to have been founded in the Baekje period by the Reverend Ado, a monk visiting from the Silla Kingdom in the sixth century. The theme of this temple is the prevention of the three disasters. There are two definitions of the three disasters: one interpretation is disasters caused by nature—fire, flood, and wind. The other definition is disasters caused by mankind—war, disease, and famine.
Daeheungsa Temple has been the home, over time, of many famous masters and national preceptors, and the robes of some of these great masters are preserved in the temple. One of these was the leader of a monk army that fought the invading Japanese in 1592, the monk Great Master Seosan, also known as Hyujeong (1520–1604). Because he led an army of monks against the Japanese, the concept of state protection (hoguk) is invoked at Daeheungsa Temple. Thus, the prevention of disaster, specifically, protecting the country from invaders, is a theme of Daeheungsa Temple.
Daeheungsa Temple has several Treasures and one National Treasure. The main courtyard, also called the pagoda courtyard, is the largest in Korea; thus, the temple has a spaciousness and open feeling. Located on a mountain on the peninsula on the farther southwestern corner of Korea, the remoteness and openness of the temple are striking. Among the buildings of the complex is a hall for 100 Buddhas, and another hall for 1,000 Buddhas.
The most impressive feature of Daeheungsa Temple is the bas-relief carving of the Buddha on a large rock on the compound (National Treasure no. 308). In recent years, to protect the rock from the elements, a large glass enclosure has been built around the rock. Surrounding the Buddha, on the four corners of the large rock are smaller images looking worshipfully at the central image. This rock-carved Buddha, done during the Goryeo period (918–1392), is considered one of the finest of its kind in all of Korea.