Ungjin-jeon Shrine on Seoul and Gwacheon's Gwanak-san
|Perhaps the most dramatically-sited shrine in the nation,
pearched on a sheer cliff near the 632-meter peak.
The spirit-evoking crags surrounding the Ungjin-jeon Shrine
|The shrine's narrow entrance-way
|From every angle and in any season,
one of Korea's most impressive sights
Yeonju-dae is said to have been originally established here near the peak of Gwanak-san
by Great master Uisang in 667, when he sat in prolonged meditation on this cliff while
founding the nearby Yeonju-am Hermitage. Therefore, it has also been called
"Uisang-dae". He originally gave it the Buddhist name Yeonju-dae [Lotus-Residence
Platform]. The Ungjin-jeon Shrine was built on it later, coming to contain a famous icon of
the Bodhisattva of Compassion and later a portrait of 16th-Cen Prince Hyoryeong.
It is said that loyalists of the overthrown Goryeo Dynasty retreated here after the fall of
their capital Gaeseong in 1392; they gazed northward toward their former homes mourning
their former king. It is also said that Princes Yangnyong and Hyoryeong, the first and
second sons of King Taejong (r. 1400-1418) often came here when they lived in seclusion
on Mt. Gwanaksan after their father designated their younger brother, the future King
Sejong, as crown prince. Therefore, this place was renamed with Chinese characters
having the same sounds in Korean: Yeonju-dae [Platform for Respecting the Leader].
On a rock face next to the shrine is engraved a rather crude image of the Buddha of
Medicine (Healing); many pilgrims pray in front of it for physical and mental health for
themselves and family-members.
Yeonju-dae cliff and Ungjin-jeon Shrine are Gyeonggi-do Provincial Monument #20.