Spectacular "Remote from the Mundane World" Mountains
俗離山  속리산
National Park  충북 보은군 속리산  1058m summit
A key sector of the Baekdu-daegan Cordillera
Host of Beopju-sa and so much more!
Munjang-dae Peak, a key peak of the Baekdu-daegan Trail
(photo from the National Parks Administration)
Still  Under  Construction
It is recorded that in the year 786 CE during the Unified Shilla Dynasty,
when Great Sutra-Master Jinpyo 진표 traveled into this mountain to visit
Beopju-sa (already a temple there since 540 CE), all the cows that were
plowing the fields stopped working and bowed to him.  When farmers saw
this, they felt ashamed that even the animals recognized Jinpyo's greatness.  
So they renounced their worldly lives & minds, and followed after Jinpyo
into these mountains to get trained in Buddhism.  This is where the name
俗離山" came from.  Literally "Remote from Mundane World
Mountains", it means going there is to leave the ordinary world behind.
Sanghwang-am  [Upper-Emperor Hermitage
The Samseong-gak  [Three Saints Shrine] of Sogni-san's Yeojeok-am Hermitage
From my Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism:
A story from the official Joseon dynastic annals tells that as King Sejo (r. 1455-68) was carried in his
sedan-chair towards the temple to visit it in 1464, the lower branches of a large spreading pine tree
seemed to block his path.  However, as they approached closely and the king's herald announced his
passage, they perceived that the branches lifted up enough for the sedan-chair to pass safely under-
neath (this was probably due to the perspective change in mounting an incline before it).   The great
king was mightily impressed at the tree’s noble politeness, and so he granted it Ministerial rank [as
Jeong-i-pum (正二品), a lower minister of the royal court], complete with enfeoffed land providing a
budget for its maintenance and periodic veneration, which lasted until the end of the dynasty.

The “Jeongipum-song” (正二品松) pine-tree is still faithfully cared for by the provincial government
today, although it has gotten very sick in its old age with many of its branches dropping off, and great
efforts are being made to preserve its life and form as long as possible.  It is still widely used as the
symbol of Boeun-gun County and  Chungcheong-bukdo Province.
The very famous “Jeongipum-song” (正二品松) pine-tree when it was still fairly healthy, when I
first stopped-by it in September 1982, on an
RAS Tour.  Over 600 years old, barely staying alive
-- Korea's only plant that was a government official; yes, really!!
The pathway to Beopju-sa used to run right under its wide eaves.  Today it's in a little park well-
back from the paved roadway, with a little parking-spot; most visitors stop to get a selfie with it.
Visiting with my Tourism students on Nov 10th 2006 -- the damage is obvious.
The official "wife" of that one-great pine, in a nearby village.  Same species, and similar
extended branches on one side (the "Minister Tree" once looked like this).  Notice the
V-shaped trunk, that makes it seem female -- compare with the straight-rod trunk above!
Of course a high government official needs to have a wife, and this tree was
included in the enfeoffed lands that the villagers were mandated to care-for.