Bongnyeongsa is a branch temple of Yongjusa, the main temple of the 2nd diocese of the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order. As a temple for female monks, it was built by State Preceptor Wongak in 1208 (4th year of the reign of King Huijong of the Goryeo Dynasty) and named Seongchangsa Temple but was renamed Bongdeoksa Temple in the early 1400s. The current name was given after Buddhist monk Hyegak Sinmi remodeled the temple in 1469 (1st year of the reign of King Yejong of the Joseon Dynasty).
It consists of Daeungjeon Hall, Yaksajeon Hall, Jonggak (bell tower), Geumgangyurwon, Yukhwadang Hall, and Soyosamjangwon. Daeungjeon Hall is enshrined with the statue of Sakyamuni and hanging scrolls behind the Buddha. The Stone Buddha Triad enshrined in Daeungjeon Hall is designated as Gyeonggi-do Tangible Cultural Heritage No.151.
The temple has the Buddhist painting of the Vulture Peak Assembly (198*124) and Chilseong Taenghwa (118*144), which were created in 1878. Sinjung Taenghwa (1881) and Hyeonwang Taenghwa (1878) have been designated as Gyeonggi-do Tangible Cultural Heritage No. 152.
As Buddhism settled in Korea, vegetarian cooking started to develop according to the Buddhist discipline.Temple food, which is based on Buddhist teachings and Buddhist culture’s wisdom, values our attitude and method of consuming food. In contemporary times, temple food has become a healthy food culture. During the Goryeo period when Buddhism was fostered, various foods were developed particularly vegetable oil and spices. Various kinds of tteok (rice cake), cooking methods, and processing methods as well as preserved foods such as kimchi and preserves developed as well. Thanks to Buddhist events such as Palgwanhoe and lotus lantern festival, tea sacrificial ceremony became popular, and ritual foods such as tea ceremony and refreshments developed accordingly. Due to the Buddhist suppression policy during the Joseon period, however, Buddhist food did not develop much. The tea culture receded, but non-alcoholic beverages such as soup cooked with aromatic herbs, punch, sikhye (sweet rice drink), and sujeonggwa (cinnamon punch) developed. As Korean Buddhism became popular, temple food became known along with local foods.
Bongnyeongsa temple food
Bongnyeongsa Temple is operating a temple food education center and the Seju Buddhist Cultural Center with the goal of understanding and studying Buddhist culture and maintaining a healthy food culture.
In particular, Bongnyeongsa Temple is offering experiences with temple food through the temple food educational center for visitors to appreciate all living creatures while tasting food created in harmony with nature and to wish for peace for the world. It is holding the Bongnyeongsa Temple food contest every year and posting temple food recipes created from modern sensibility on its homepage to get closer to the public.