SamGwang-Sa is a grand Buddhist Monastery steeped in Korean culture and tradition. It sits nestled in the slopes of Mount Baekyang, overlooking central Busan. Stepping for the firt time, visitors will feel what it seems like the temple is being protected by the mountain of thick forest. Due to its strategic altitude, it is possible to see the city of Busan in one view, and visitors are usually greeted with dazzling sunlight in the morning.

<< Clay carvings on the wall of SamGwang-Sa

It is opened 24 hours a day. Popular Buddhism and teachings related to the daily application of Buddha Dharma are offered here.


SamGwang-Sa Temple was built in 1969 on the order of the Great Patriarch SangWol WonGak, who revived the Chontae Order. Initially, temple devotees had to hold gatherings in  private houses and dharma assemblies in private theatres for more than 10 years as the original GwangMyoung Temple (SamGwang-Sa Temples previous name) was too small to accommodate all the followers.

Given the acute lack of space, the local devotees wished for a larger monastery to accomodate the ever expanding activities. Thus, in conformity with the wishes of the Great Master SangWol WonGak, they bought the current site of SamGwang-Sa Temple in 1982 and started building a temple there.

The momentous establishment of SamGwang-Sa Temple, which took more than 33 years, is a remarkable achievement in the modern history of Korean Buddhism. As a 20th century temple, it architecture harmonises ultramodern systems with traditional structure.

SamGwang-Sa Temple is the pride of Korean Buddhism and a cultural asset. It is seen as the keystone to achieve the modernization, internationalization, and popularization of Buddhism.

What to see

SamGwang-Sa Temple is regarded as the Spirit of Korean Buddhism, a place in where the world of spirituality is lived and felt. The total size of SamGwang-Sa Temple is 35 thousand pyong (1 pyong = 3.954sq.yds) and the total floor size of the buildings is 5 thousand pyong.

In the compound of SamGwang-Sa-Sa Temple, visitors will get to see the Great Hero Hall (DaeWoong BoJon) that enshrines Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva of Power and the Great Patriarch SangWol WonGak.

Beside this main attraction, there are several big buildings located within the compound. They include:

  • The Main Buddha Hall, with a size of more than 100 pyong;
  • JiGwanJeon, a mammoth total Buddhist center, where big dharma assemblies and cultural events are held, accommodating more than 10 thousand people at a time (3 thousand pyong);
  • The 5-story BeopWha SamMae Dang living quarters, is 17 hundred pyong
  • The Great Dharma Bell Pavilion, which is to pray for national security and the welfare of the people, is 104 pyong
  • The nine-story DaeBo Tahp, with eight sides carved with 53 buddhas, for world peace and the unification of South and North Korea; and
  • The Judgment Hall, where you can carry out modern filial piety practice, following the great teachings of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, who tries to save all the suffering beings in hell.

A key attraction is JiGwanJeon, an ultramodern building that enshrines 10 thousand Buddha images, representing the wishes of 10 thousand Buddhists. It is also equipped with high technology Audio-Video facilities, and has computer regulated lighting and a spontaneous interpretation system for world languages.

The nine-story, eight-sided DaeBo Tahp, carved with 53 buddhas, which was finished on April 19 in 1997, is considered a cultural asset having historical and artistic quality. The height of the Tahp, where Buddhas 10 relics from Tibet, Myanmar, and India are enshrined, is 30 meters, and the width of the supporting platform is 14.55m.

On the first floor of the two-story Judgment Hall, with floor space of 264 pyong, there is a kitchen, a dining room, 2 other rooms, and a room for the heating system.

On the second floor, there is a triad in the center of the room: a jade Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva from Myanmar is enshrined, flanked by Mudok Kweiwang and DoMyoung Jonja. Also in the hall, ten judges carved on a gingko wood are enshrined, and a Buddhist painting is hung behind the triad. This building is built in traditional architecture style and the structure and painting design are of high quality.

What to do

SamGwang-Sa Temple holds a great variety of events for Buddhists. Every month, there are regular dharma assemblies on the first and second day of the month, and there are also many educational and cultural programs, such as:

- SamGwang-Sa Korean class
- SamGwang-Sa Chinese class
- GwangMyoung kindergarten, which is affiliated with the temple
- Calligraphy class
- Chorus
- A tea ceremony group
- A flower arrangement group; and
- A group for preserving traditional food.

SamGwang-Sa Temple prides itself in giving Busan citizens spiritual comfort, and shares Buddhist art and culture by hosting art and cultural events inside and outside of Korea.


Sahn 131, Cho-eup dong, BusanJin gu, Busan.
Tel: (051) 808-7111~5 | Fax: (051) 803-1332

SamGwang-Sa Temple located in Busanjin-Gu, the center of Busan. This part of the city is the the center of business, banking, and wholesale wharehousing, all with easy traffic reach.

24 hours a day.