Songgwang-sa is considered one of the three jewels of Korean Buddhism (along with Tongdo-sa and Haein-sa, in Gyeongsangnam-do). Featured in the Little Monk movie, it is a regional head temple of the Jogye sect, by far the largest in Korean Buddhism. It is also one of the oldest Zen temples in Korea, founded in the 10th century, although most of the buildings date from the 17th century. A weekend temple stay (₩50,000) is available here.

Songgwang-sa is known for having produced many prominent Zen masters over the years, and today the temple is home to a community of monks.

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