Guinsa temple

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132-1 Baekja-ri, Danyang, South Korea

Guinsa temple Danyang Reviews

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380 reviews
Remarkable temple complex Oct 12, 2014
N37°02.060' E128°28.918' Wedged into a tranquil valley northeast of Danyang with steep, forested slopes on either side, Guinsa is one of Korea's more remarkable temple complexes. The gold-roofed buildings are as elaborate and hard to find anywhere else, replacing the usual elegant restraint by a desire to show off. We understood that this was the strategy of a monk in 1945 to revive the almost extinct Buddhist Cheontae sect, once the most powerful in the country with nowadays 2 million members. Well over one thousand monks may reside here at any one time.

The buildings swarm up the valley and connect in unlikely ways, with alleys and bridges crisscrossing like the dragons depicted around the complex. Sometimes it is very steep. The communal kitchen serves free vegetarian meals for more than two thousand people any day. This meal was delicious and we donated voluntarily for it. Outside are masses of gimchi pots for making dinner.

During our visit in August 2014, almost all monks were old-age women. In their living quarters the wooden floor resembles a parking lot with each space assigned a unique number. Each monk sleeps, lives and prays in his/her parking space or attends pray service in another hall.

We did not continuing on the uphill path to the well-tended gravesite of the monk, but descended down to absorb a completely different view of the temple buildings.
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photo by: voordax