Posted by: rbbadger | September 19, 2008

Cheondogyo Central Temple

I had posted an image a while back of one of the most beautiful of Seoul’s many houses of worship, namely the Cheondogyo Central Temple in Anguk-dong, Seoul.  It is a very beautiful building on the exterior, but it is quite anachronistic.  Built for the headquarters of a very Korean and quite nationalistic religion, it is exceedingly western in its design and was built by a Japanese architect.

Cheondogyo Central Temple

Cheondogyo Central Temple

I’ve never been inside it, so I was looking for an image of the interior which I found in Wikipedia.  You can see the interior by clicking here.  Cheondogyo (which means the “religion of the heavenly way”) was founded by Choi Je-u as a response to Catholic missionaries.  He called his new religion Donghak, or “Eastern Learning”.  (Catholicism was known as Seohak, or “Western Learning”.) 

Cheondogyo is one of the most important of the Korean new religions, mostly because of the very important roles it played in the Donghak Peasant Rebellions of the late 1890s and its important role in the Korean Independence movement.

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