Temple-site for a Monastic Military Headquarters
Under Yongam-bong (aka Gu-am-bong??) Peak -- within Goyang City and the National Park
-- Southern Sector of the Bukhan-Sanseong Fortress Visited August 2010
Deep near the center of the Bukhan-Sanseong [North-of-Han-River Mtn-Fortress], Jung-
heung-sa [Central-Arising Temple] was founded sometime in the early Goryeo Dynasty.
It is recorded that Great Seon Master Taego Bo-u refurbished it into a larger meditation-center in the
1340s, and after his death a biseok was erected here to memorialize him (it was moved to nearby
Taego-sa for safety in the 1960s). King Sukjong rebuilt the entire Fortress in the early 1700s, and this
Jungheung-sa was grandly expanded to 136 rooms by 1713, to serve as the headquarters for all the 11
temples within the gigantic walls, homes for Buddhist monks drafted into national-defense service (the
same case as at Namhan-Sanseong southeast of Seoul).
It was mostly destroyed in a flood in 1915, and further damaged in the Korean War, and nothing
remains today but large stone foundations. A crude Main Hall has been put up, and a couple of monks
are living there. The only notable feature is the old stone Yaksa-yorae-bul [Medicinal Buddha] statue --
and of course the biseok. Many hikers pass by here...
It may be further excavated and rebuilt someday. There is no Sanshin icon or altar here yet.
The biseok stele-monument erected at Jungheung-sa to memorialize Great Seon Master
Taego Bo-u is now in this 1960s-built Biseok-gak Shrine at Taego-sa a few hundred meters
above. It was carved in the late 1300s, and is a good example of the type made in that era,
although moderately damaged and worn.
a mysterious "handprint" illuminates
some of the obscured Hanja (Sino-
Korean) characters on the back!
|typical doltap spirit-cairns in the stream below Jungheung-saji
|On a sweltering August Sunday afternoon, Seoulites enjoy the Bukhan-Sanseong Gyegok
(scenic stream-gorge), which runs all the way down though the West Gate area.