|The Excellent Antique San-shin Painting of Naejang-sa
|Temple-Stay Program at Naejang-sa
In October 2012, an accidental fire broke out in the Beop-dang Main Hall (last reconstructed in
1938) after midnight, and that hall burned to its foundations; one statue, an old iron beomjong
[Dharma-bell] and three old bulhwa [Buddhist altar-paintings] were lost, along with 165 square
meters of mountainside forest; no one was injured. Reconstruction was completed in 2014.
Naejang-sa [內藏寺, 내장사, Storing Inside Temple] is a well-known ancient
monastery located inside the near-circular ridge of Mt. Naejang-san, a National Park since 1971,
within Jeongeup City (井邑市) of Jeollabuk-do Province. Its history began in 636 during the reign of
King Mu (武王) of the Baekje Kingdom, when Master Yeongeun (靈隱祖師) built it on a grand scale
with 50 buildings under the name Yeongeun-sa (靈隱寺). A generation later it was destroyed
by fire, but then was rebuilt by Master Hwanhae 660 during the reign of Baekje King Uija (義慈王).
It enjoyed a lustrous reputation through the Unified Silla Dynasty (668-935) and Goryeo Dynasty
(918–1392) eras, being reconstructed several times and transformed into a leading Seon [Chan, Zen]
monastery. During the reign of King Jeongjong (定宗王, r. 1506–1544) in the early Joseon Dynasty,
however, it was used as headquarters by a faction of monks rebelling against the dynasty, and so the
king had it destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1557 by Master Huimuk and renamed, along with the entire
mountain, "Naejang" (implying something sacred that is hidden or stored within these deep mountains).
It was burnt down again during the Imjin Waeran (壬辰倭亂, 1592-98 Japanese Invasion), and rebuilt
in 1639 by Master Buyeong who installed a gold-plated Buddha statue in the Main Dharma Hall.
Naejang-sa was given a few renovations in the early 20th century, and moved to the nearby site of
Byeoknyeon-am Hermitage by Seon Master Hakmyeong in 1925, but was again reduced to ashes
during the 1950-53 Korean War. Modern reconstruction work on the original site started in 1957
and continued until the 1970s. It enshrines some Local Tangible Cultural Properties such as its
Unified-Shilla-era pagoda and its Joseon Bronze Bell, and operates a popular Templestay program.