Gilsangsa Temple

The Bell Pavilion at Gilsangsa Temple in Seoul
The Bell Pavilion at Gilsangsa Temple

Gilsangsa Temple is a fairly new and popular Buddhist temple complex surrounded by nature and beauty in hills of Seongbuk-dong, a neighborhood of Seoul. Since 1997, Gilsangsa has become popular with both locals and tourists for its harmony with nature.

Originally, an upscale restaurant known as Daewongak was built at this location. The owner of the restaurant decided to donate the land and buildings to Venerable Bupjeong (1932-2010), a Buddhist monk. In 1997, he decided to convert the restaurant into Gilsangsa Temple.

The complex still contains original features of the restaurant which is unusual for Buddhist temples in Korea.

The temple is located in an area surrounded by natural beauty. It is peaceful environment. One of the most enjoyable ways to experience the beauty here is to just walk the complex grounds. Take in all the stunning views and sights.

Geukrakjeon (The Hall of Ultimate Bliss) at Gilsangsa Temple
Geukrakjeon (The Hall of Ultimate Bliss)

The main hall is Geukrakjeon (Hall of Ultimate Bliss). It is where Amitabha Buddha is enshrined.

Gilsang Seonwon (Zen Center) is dedicated to the practice of meditation. There is also another mediation room known as the House of Silence. It is open from 1000 to 1700.

Many Buddhist programs are offered here including a templestay program, Buddhist teachings classes, a zen center, and a public meditation room.

The templestay program is a great way for tourists to learn what it is like for a monk to live at a temple. This overnight program is available on the fourth weekend of every month and costs 30,000 won per person.

Iljumun, One Pillar Gate, the front gate at Gilsangsa Temple
Iljumun, One Pillar Gate, the front gate
Autumn foliage at Gilsangsa Temple
Autumn foliage