STORIES RELATED WITH SONGNISAN
Introduce sultural sightseeing
The Songnisan mountain has been famous for its beauty as one of the Eight Wonders of View in Korea.
Peaks are closely connected to each other, with the highest one being 1,058m above sea level. There is a well-known poem Gowoon Choi Chi Won who is considered as the best poet of Silla dynasty, admired the beauty of the mountain when he visited Myodeokam temple in 886 (12th year of king Hyeon-gang).
The truth does not distance itself from man,
but man distance himself from mountain.
Mountain does not leave the secular,
but the secular leaves mountain.
Samgook Yoosa (Three Kingdom History) by Ilyeon (1206~89), monk in the Koreo dynasty, describes the history of the Songnisan mountain as follows.
It had originally been called Goobongsan. In 776 (2nd year of king Haegong), Jinpyo Yoolsa, then high monk of the Silla dynasty, was on the way to the mountain from the Geumsansa temple after he had made Mireuk Jangyoongsang, Buddhism statue, and enshrined it in the temple, and met a man who was riding an oxcart. Suddenly, the oxes approached the monk, and cried kneeling before him. The oxcart rider, taking off the cart, asked the monk, "Why do the oxes cry looking at you? Who are you? Where are you from?" The monk replied that, "I am Jinpyo, monk at the Geumsansa. Earlier, I went to the Boolsaibang temple of Byeonsan mountain and received the Regulations and Truths and the Ture Life from two Bodhisattvas. I am on the way to find a good place to construct a temple to study Buddhism in it. Though Oxes look stupid, they know that I received the Regulations and Truths, and that they respect Buddhism. So, they kneel down and cry."
Listening to the monk, the man said, "Even animals have such a faith. How cannot a man have faith of Buddhism?" He cut his own hair with a sickle as a token of intention to be a monk. The monk mercifully trimmed the oxcart rider's hair, and held a brief rite to confer the man the certificate of monk. The two men entered the a valley of Songnisan mountain, and saw the gilsangcho plant and marked the place to construct a temple in the future. Then, passing Myeongju (current Gangreung city), entered Geumgangsan mountain, and constructed the Balyeonsa temple there.
To commemorate the accident in which the oxcart rider left the secular world and 'entered the mountain' (meaning 'became a monk'), the mountain name was changed from Goobongsan to Songnisan, according to the legend. (In Chinese characters, 'song' means the secular world, 'ni' is leaving, and 'san' mountain.)