Hwagye-sa, "Flower Stream Temple" is on Samgag-san Mountain. It was built
in 1552 by Master Sinwol during the reign of King Chung-jong (r. 1506-1544)
the 11th king of the Choson Dynasty, destroyed in 1618, during the reign of
King Kwanghaegun (r. 1608-1623) and then rebuilt the following year by
After 240 years, the temple became so dilapidated that two monks, Yongsun
and Pamyun had it repaired in l865. The statues of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha
and the Ten Judges in the Judgment Hall are especially famous. Beautifully
carved by Master Nawong in the late Koryo Dynasty, the figures were brought
to Hwagye-sa in 1877 by Queen Mother Chodaebe. After that the temple served
the royal family.
There are two famous urns on either side of the Main Hall. These were
donated by Queen Hongdaebe, wife of King Hunjong (r. 1834-1849).
Hwagye-sa is the home of the Kwan-um International Zen Center which was
started by Seung-san Sunim. Foreign monks and lay people live here
practicing the traditional way of life of Korean temples.
To get there:
Hwagye-sa is in the northeast of Seoul.
By bus: Take No. 84 (ask the driver "Hwagye-sa?") to the end and walk up
the hill (15 min).
By subway: Take the blue line to Suyu and then walk in and up the hill
(about 25 min).