There is one temple, hidden away, here in Kwanak-gu (Nakseongdae — Naksongdae Subway Station), called Gil-sang Sa (길상사) that is a fair, modern representative of how Buddhist temples are changing with the times in terms of building materials as well as reflecting a more modern sense of aesthetics in Buddhist artwork. The temple interior and the journey therein is a sort of experience that is different from the usual progression, from the gate guardians, to the various buildings found in a temple complex. Instead, one encounters images and a subtle combination of materials that are deliberately chosen so as to enhance meditation and the interior visualization that accompanies one on their inward journey.
Gil-sang Sa is a modern, working temple that houses a handful of female monks who perform various services for adherents as well as provide a social gathering place (art space) called 문화공간 지대방 (Ji-dae-bang) for people of all faiths and nationalities that wish to discuss art, philosophy or would just like to hang out after having hiked down Kwanak-san, where one trail ends right behind the temple. Their art space is a quiet place, designed for art showings and performances as well as serving various teas and coffee.
As a part of their performance series, the artspace recently featured the renowned classical Indian sitarist Ustad Usman Khan and Prakash Kandasamy on tablas. The Ji-dae-bang also features concerts of Korean music, as well as Jazz. Their artspace also periodically hosts artists, in a variety of media, and includes some very nice embroidery by the monks.
The temple also uses part of their artspace for tea or coffee, thus there is always something to enjoy when stopping by. For more directions to Gil-sang Sa, you can call 02-883-7354.