seen from my old neighborhood in Gangdong-gu (far-SE Seoul), about 20 km away, in May 2006
Dobong-san [Dao-Peak Mountain, could also be read as Daoist Peak or Peak-of-Dao] forms most
of the northern half of the Bukhan-san National Park, as is one of the capital region's most
sacred sites. It is the dramatic home of dozens of Buddhist temples, popular with nature-
loving hikers, rock-climbers and photographers, as well as all the pilgrims.
A legend says that an early king sat on a cliff of this amazing collection of crags, gazing at
cranes who were playing down in the valley below. He named this noble mountain, “Peak
of Cranes” (Bong-hak). With many curiously-shaped boulders and cliffs, inspiring animistic
beliefs and awe for the mysteries of nature, it came to be called Dao-Peak Mountain, an
abode of Shinseon [spiritual immortals] and powerful mountain-spirits. Koreans believe
that people who live in such a place have a better chance of attaining longevity and
enlightenment. Its largest, most venerable temples are Mangwol-sa and Cheonchuk-sa.
|a Park entrance-ticket shows Jaun-bong from the north, with Manjang-bong
[10,000 Guardians Peak, 718m], Seonin-bong [Immortal-Person Peak,
708m] and Shinseon-dae [Spirit-Immortal Platform, 700m] behind it.
|the Obong [Five Peaks] crags in the southwest, from KNTO brochures
|"On any given Sunday..." -- plenty of hikers climb Dobong-san, uncaring of the dangers
Mang-wol-sa [Watching Moon Temple] is the most important monastery of Dobong-san.
This temple was built by the Buddhist monk Hae-ho under the Silla-dynasty Queen Seondeok’s
order in 639. Situated high up on the slope of a rocky mountain, people prayed here for the royal
family and the nation’s prosperity while gazing at the full moon, particularly the first full moon of the
year. The full moon means fulfillment, and is also a symbol of the Buddha’s complete enlightenment.
|The dramatic Ja-un-bong Peak of Dobong-san, 740m, can be seen
from all over the eastern Seoul area; it has long been regarded as an
enlightened earth-spirit thrusting upwards from Earth towards Heaven.
|2012 views from Mangwol-sa Metro Station, on the northwest foot in southern Uijeongbu City