|Cheonje-dan 천제단 [Altar for Offering to Heaven] Peak on the left, Janggun-bong
[Guardian General Peak] behind it, and Manggyeong-sa [All-encompassing-View
Temple] lined up below them, as seen from Munsu-bong in 1993. MAP
|Neo-Confucian officiants in royal robes stand in front of the famous Taebaek-san
name-pillar, just after the 1993 Gyecheon-jeol cermony at the Cheonje-dan Altar.
The small Seonghwang-dang [Sagely King Shrine] in its
sacred grove, now stuck in the middle of the Dang-gol
[Shrine Valley] parking lots! on its right side a line of
modernized Jang-seung statues have been erected.
The Taebaek-je Festival on Gyecheon-jeol 2005 was curiously downsized, compared
with previous years. Apart from the formal Sanshin-je and the Dangun-je, there wasn't
much going on. In the main plaza of Dang-gol, there was only this Baduk tournament.
From a recounting of the Goryeo-sa [royal history of the Goryeo Dynasty]:
When the mystical Buddhist/Daoist monk Myocheong raised a significant
rebellion around 1130 (mostly based on his advocacy of moving the capital northwards to
achieve a superior position according to his Pungsu-jiri readings) and had a new palace
built in Pyeongyang, some Confucian scholars supporting him approved of his
constructing eight shrines for nation-protecting/benefiting "Immortals", and
advocated that the Spirits of Baekdu-san and Taebaek-san be the first ones
enshrined - demonstrating their primary status.
the Gang of Seven on the trip there October 2-3 2005, sitting in the doorway of the
excellent Yu-jeong Motel in Dang-gol, flanked by neo-traditionalist stone jang-seung
poles. clockwise from upper left is Prof. John Dougill of Kyoto, Yana Kim (translator,
yoga-teacher & Buddhist), Dr. Anne Hilty (a cultural psychologist working in Seoul),
David A. Mason (slacker & tour-guide), "Freebird" Min Jae-ki (ceo of Buddhist
website-design company), So-youn (student) and Tyler S (film-maker & teacher in Daegu).
Anne Hilty's 121 excellent photos from this trip can be viewed HERE.
and her literary essay describing the trip is posted HERE.
Index of Taebaek-san Pages:
Taebaek-san is listed as one of Korea's most sacred
places on Martin Gray's excellent Sacred Sites of
the World website, on this page about Korea.
For plenty of information and beautiful photos
of the world's holy pilgrimage destinations,
get his excellent new 275-page book:
Sacred Earth: Places of Peace and Power.
|People greet 2009's first sunrise and make their New Year’s wishes on top of Taebaek-san
photo by Kim Myung-sub of The Korea Herald