Situated on the mountain revered as the holy site of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Woljeongsa is a mere two hours from Seoul. In the place where nature meets Buddhism, you may become free from all kinds of pressures. The thousand-year-old fir tree forest is a good place to walk in self-reflection and the trail along the stream will give you an opportunity to be one with Mother Nature.
Woljeongsa was founded during the reign of Shilla Queen Seondeok (643 C.E.) by the Precepts Master Ven. Jajang (590-658 C.E.) While practicing Buddhism in Tang Dynasty China, the Ven. Jajang had an encounter with Manjushri, and received the transmission of some Sarira of the historical Buddha. As soon as the monk finished his training in China and returned to the Shilla Kingdom, he came to Odaesan, where Manjushri was said to reside. He then proceeded to build a hermitage to house the relics, and continued his practice. Later during the reign of Joseon King Cheoljong (1856 C.E.), the temple was greatly expanded. However, during the Korean War, due to its strategic importance, the temple was completely destroyed, and then later rebuilt.
Woljeongsa’s best known cultural property is the octagonal, nine-story stone pagoda directly in front of the Jeokgwangjeon (Hall of Stillness and Light). It was said to have been erected by the Ven. Jajang, but the pagoda’s style suggests that it was actually from the Goryeo Dynasty. Directly in front of the pagoda is the figure of a seated, stone Bodhisattva, with two hands outstretched together, making offerings to the Buddha.
High above the temple is the legendary Jeongmyeolbogung, the “Jeweled Palace of Stillness and Extinction”, which holds some Sarira (true relics) of the historical Buddha.
It’s time to pause, put aside your worries and see yourself at the mercy of nature.