Busan City's Dragon Palace Temple
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Korean Tourist Article:
The motto of Haedong yonggungsa is "At least one of your wishes will be answered here through your heartful
prayers." The sea has been with human-being in history from long time ago. It was very calm sometimes while
furious sometimes. The Haedong Yonggungsa is situated near the sea unlike other temples located in
mountains, therefore it's quite reasonable to call this temple an aquatic Buddhist sanctum. They say that the
great Goddess Bodhisattva of mercy in the sea lives alone at a solitary near the sea and appears on the back
of a dragon. That's why the Korean's worship of the Great Goddess Buddha was formed near the sea or on
the island, and this Haedong Yonggungsa is one of 3 Sacred Places related to the Goddess Buddha.
This temple preserves religious concept deeper than that of any other temple over as the sea, dragon and
the Great Goddess Bodhisattva embody a harmony here. Haedong Yonggungsa , the southern most temple
near the east sea was founded by the great monk Naong, who was the consultant of King Gongmin. While
he was practicing asceticism at Bunhwang-sa temple in Gyeongju, the nation was hard hit by a drought that
made the crops burn to death and people suffer from famine, so people were disturbed, badly resenting the
gods for not giving them rain.
One day, a sea-god appeared in Naong's dream and said that if they would build a temple at the edge of
Bongrae Mountain and pray there, all these hardships would go away leaving people back in happiness.
After that dream, Naong visited area where the Haedong Yonggungsa is located now, and saw that there
was a mountain in the front and the sea at the back, which means if they say prayers in the morning, they
get answered in the evening. He built a temple later called Bomun-sa temple by him and named the
mountain Bongrae. The word "Bongrae" means something mysterious and pure to which hermits with
great understanding descended. The word "Bomun" means the absolute and limitless power of the Great
Goddess Bodhisattva of mercy, called Gwanse-eum-bosal in Korean. Unfortunately this temple was
destroyed by fire when the Japanese invaded Korea in 1592, and the monk Ungang of Tongdo-sa temple
rebuilt it in the early 1930's. Since then many head monks managed the temple until the monk Jungam
prayed that the temple be recovered as the Great Goddess Bodhisattva's seminary. Amidst his 100-day
prayer-session he witnessed the Great Goddess Bodhisattva in white robes on the back of a dragon,
emanating five-color beams; and after the dream he renamed the temple Haedong Yonggungsa. They
believe that at least one of their wishes will be answered if they pray here, and because of that belief
many people visit this temple.
Memorial portrait of Haedong Yonggung-sa's supposed founder, great Meditation-Master
Na-ong Hyegeun-seonsa (1320-76), a.k.a. Na-ong Hwasang-wangsa (King's Advisor).
He is said to have founded this temple in 1376, just before his untimely demise at 56,
under the name Bomun-sa, dedicated to Gwanse-eum Bosal the Bodhisattva of Grand
Compasion and his close relationship to the Yong-wang Dragon-King of the East Sea
However, no physical evidence of this remains (possibly due to damage from high waves) and
historical records are not definite, so we just don't know.