Wawoojongsa Temple is a collection of donated statues and temple mounts that create a serine, beautiful location for everything from a spiritual experience to a great location to tour and take pictures. It is about 48km south of Seoul in a region called Yong-in in the Yonwha mountains. Yong-in has many other local attractions to include one of the countries best amusements parks, Everland. outlet shopping, skiing, hiking, a folk village, restaurants etc.
Our Korean realtor, put this trip together for 40 of his tenants… for free! How cool is that. He didn’t tell us much about the location, at first, except that it is a Buddhist Temple with a huge Golden Buddha head also known as Buldu. Which was alluring enough to me, but the Wawoojongsa Temple was sooo much better than just that.
We piled into the bus at 8:00am and less than an hour later we were there! After departing the bus we looked around to see that we were clearly in a mountous area with a large golden Buddha head off in the distance. But that was only the beginning of what turned out to be a compilation of over 3000 statues. Initially when I was told that everything was donated, I thought that they were all relics… but that was not correct. In fact the entire location was established in 1970 by a monk named by Kim Hae-Geun, who ended up in Korea during the Korean War due to being displaced. The undercurrent of the temple is the monk’s hope of reunification of the North and South Korean countries on the peninsula.
The Buldu is 8m high and surrounded by a reflection pool filled with Coy, turtles, and frogs. As we approached the Buldu the grandure became more evidant. Due to the fact that it is the largest wooden Buddha sculpture it is registered with the Guinness Book of World Records. Running water cascaded from below the Buddha into the pool below, creating a refreshing tinkling noise. You will find water at the entrance of most, if not all spiritual sites in Korea, as it encourages the visitors to cleanse their minds and hearts before entering the sacred places. You can even buy fish food to feed the coy.
First things first, of course, I had to use the restroom. Luckily I was not alone so our tour group headed to the left of the Buldu where there is a large cultural center, a building that has hosted world leaders from all over the world.
I was told that I needed to carry tissue in my purse because sometimes there is no tissue in the bathrooms, and frequently when there is it is outside the stalls in a shared location. If you think about it, this makes sense… why have 8 different rolls you have to replenish when you can just replace one? I was also told to lookout for the shared soap… this one I have seen almost everywhere! Even in nicer restaurants. For me, this is going to take some getting used to! I don’t even like to use bar soap in the shower, none-the-less with strangers. Finally, I was warned about the toilets that were just a hole in the ground. In my mind that meant an actual hole, but when I saw these pocilin holes, I had to get a video. It crossed my mind to give it a whirl, but since we were on an 8 hour excusrion with a tour group, I decided that 10am was not the idea time to try this, in case something went wrong! (rolls eyes at self)
This is the Bell of Unification that was rung at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, it weights 12 tons. They ring is at 12 and 3pm daily. Bell vibrations (WRTIE MORE).
The “World’s All Buddha Hall” is a temple where people from all over the world have been bringing and donating their country’s buddha statues. You can see the cultural differences in their faces and the way they sit. People like to leave donations with the Buddhas as they leave the Temple. Many countries are represented here to include: India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand and others.
The world famous Lying Buddha is preserved here as well, made of Chinese junipers an brought in from India.
Outside of the temple area there is a restaurant shaped like a mushroom… I forgot to get a picture of it! We were served the typical Bulgogi…. without the bul. (Bul=fire, Gogi=meat), they brought it to us already cooked. Many restaurants in Korea have you cook your own meat over an open flame, its fun. –And we sat on the floor to eat, for the first time!
Below is a little map to give you an idea of the area. We didn’t spend any time in Yongin, but I definitely want to go back because it is a large city with lots of things to do; including outlet shopping.
Address : Yunwha Mountain Wawoojongsa Temple
San #48, Haegok-dong, Yong-in-city,
Republic of Korea 449-090
Telephone # : (82-31) 332-2472
For more information on Wawoojongsa Temple, visit their official site in English: Wawoojongsa Temple