Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea
Introduction Natural Environment History Temple Layout Cultural Properties Information
Natural Environment of Cheondeungsan Mountain
- Cheondeungsan is a 574m tall mountain that is seated on Seohu-myeon and Bukhu-myeon in Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province.
It is a hilly mountain with gentle slopes and the ridges extend toward the Bullongbong Peak to the north and Sangsan Mountain to the south.
As for the flora, there are coniferous forests on the ridges, with pine trees as the primary species, and a deciduous and oak tree forests in the valleys. However, a macroscopic view of the mountain reveals that the forests are mainly comprised of pine trees.
Cheondeungsan was originally called Daemangsan, but its name was changed in reflection of the “founding legend of Bongjeongsa Temple.” When he was younger, Great Monk Neungin cultivated the Way in a rocky cave in the mountain, and a fairy from the heavenly realms, admiring his power of the Way, sent down a lantern to lift darkness from the cave. Based on this story, the cave was named Cheondeunggul and the mountain was renamed Cheondeungsan (lit. Heavens Lantern Mountain). Thus, it is believed that its current name started to be used after the founding of the temple.
- Pine tree forest along the entryway
- Bongjeongsa Temple is situated on the southern mountainside, where the mountain ranges from the east and west intersect each other allowing the gathering of water. Accoridng to the theory of geomancy, such places are considered propitious (Gyoswaemyeongdang).
The Oebaekho (Outer White Tiger) forms Ansan to supplement the weak energy of the Naebaekho (Inner White Tiger), while the Naeryong (Inner Dragon) decends widely, which led to the temple being spread left and right.
The spots offering great views are the site behind Daeungjeon where you can view the temple site sheltered by the mountain ridges and the site in front of Uhwaru where you can look between zelkova trees.
The oldest tree at Bongjeongsa is the 213-year-old pine tree found in front of Manseru. Despite its old age, it is in a fair shape and condition, and it has been designated to be under protection.
- Pine tree in front of Manseu (protected tree)