Chikchisa - South Korea
Wednesday 24 February 2010, by
One of oldest temples in Korea, Chikchisa was built in the foothills of Mt. Hwang-aksan and originally consisted of 40 buildings. It is believed to have been originally established in 418 CE, during the reign of King Nulchi (r. 417-458) by Master Ado who first brought Buddhism to Shilla - however, Buddhism was only fully acccepted in about 527.
The name of the temple is very unusual, Direct Pointing Temple.¡±There are three theories concerning the origin. Master Ado is reputed to have pointed to Mt. Hwang-aksan and said, "There is a good place for a great temple to be built." Elsewhere it is recorded that Master Nungyo of the late Koryo Dynasty measured the site with his hand instead of a ruler. Finally, the name reflects the core of Korean Buddhism, the teaching that describes Zen as direct pointing to the human heart, not relying on words and letters.
The most famous monk associated with this temple is Master Sa-myong (1544-1610). Born in 1544, he was orphaned at an early age and ordained at Chikchisa Temple at the age of sixteen. He then studied under Master Sosan (1520-1604) in the Diamond Mountains and both of them led an army of some 5,000 trained soldier-monks to fight off the Japanese invaders of the sixteenth century. At the beginning of the invasion, King Sonjo (1567-1608) fled the capital, leaving a poorly-trained, weak army to defend the country. In desperation he called Master Sosan, who put Master Sa-myong in charge of the operation.
After the invaders were routed, Master Sa-myong was sent as an envoy to the Japanese court in 1604 and, after completing a peace treaty, he returned home with 3,000prisoners. Due to his merit the temple was restored. MasterSa-myong died in 1610 at Haeinsa and there is a memorial shrine to him at Chikchisa Temple.
After the One-Pillar Gate there is the huge Four Guardians’ Gate. On entering the compound you can see two, three-story pagodas which thousnad image of buddha date from the Unified Shilla Period. In the Main Hall, a building representative of Choson architecture, there are the three jewels, a name for the triad of Sakyamuni, Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha.
Attached to the Avalokitesvara Hall is a memorial shrine for Master Sa-myong. Inside the 1,000 Buddhas Hall there are small white Buddhas made of Kyongju jade dating from the Choson Period.
Chikchisa also has a famous bell, cast in 1713. On the upper part of the bell, the mantras for breaking the hells and Om Mani Padme Hum are inscribed.
Address : 216 Unsoodong Daehangmyun, Kimchonshi, Kyongbuk 741-810 South Korea