|Sacred Mountains and Temples of
SE Peninsula of South Jeolla Province,
Host of the 2012 World Expo
Yeosu City is a very long narrow peninsula sticking out into the Namhae [South
Sea] from the SE corner of South Jeolla Province -- its root is at Suncheon City
(and Gwangyang Port), and it runs south-southeast for more than 30 km, giving
it the longest total coastline of any Korean City or County. Known for seaside
tourism, naval history and maritime foods, it will host the 2012 International
Exhibition with an ocean-ecology theme.
There are really only two sacred sites worth visiting in Yeosu, however, both of
them ancient Buddhist temples -- Heungguk-sa (below) and famously-beautiful
Hyangil-am Hermitage on Dolsan-do, an island just off the SE tip of Yeosu.
On the northwest slope (very unusual placement)
of Yeong-chui-san (summit 439m), just NE of
Yeosu City itself, Heung-guk-sa [Safety-of-the-
Nation Temple] was founded in 1195 by the
great National Master Jineul Bojo-guksa
(founder of the Jogye Order), making it the
most important (but only 2nd-most-famous)
temple in the Yeosu area. It enshrines no
Sanshin at all, nor any other folk-deities (a
case of Buddhist opposition to them -- see page 184
in my book). However, in Heung-guk-sa's
"Spirit Assembly" altar-painting, San-shin is
quite prominent just right of the center.
At tiny Dalma-sa [Bodhidharma
Temple, named after the founder of
Seon or Zen Buddhism] in north
Yeosu, the new San-shin
painting has a very rich
background! -- including
peaches and various birds.