Jisangsa Temple site
- 336-2, Jisang maheul, Jiga dong
The foundational records on Jisang temple are contained in Samhwa temple records and Jinju records.
Samhwa temple records depict the foundation of the temple as follows. "In the woods surrounding Samhwa temple is a three-storied pagoda. Three buddhas of Bhaisaiyaguru came to Donghae from the western countries of China on a stone ship. The eldest came with black lotus flower to now Samhwa temple calling it Heuk-yun Dae(Black lotus base), the second with blue lotus flower to Jisang temple calling it Chung-yun dae(Blue lotus base), and the youngest with gold lotus flower to Yung-eun temple calling it Geumyun dae(Gold lotus base)."
Meanwhile, Jinju records describe the origin with two possibilities. "It is told that three gods of Mt. Duta marked four locations of the mountain with lotus flowers and called the east side Chungyun dae(Jisang) or Baekyun dae(Chuneun) and the north part Heukyun dae(Samhwa). On the other hand, it is also told that three brothers of Bhaisaiyaguru came from the western countries of China, and the eldest settled in Samhwa, the middle in Jisang, and the youngest in gungbang(palace estates)."
Historical records above show that Jisang temple and Samhwa temple were founded almost simultaneously. This allows us to estimate the foundation date of the Jisang based on that of Samhwa temple. Gangwon-do records contain information on the foundational year of Samhwa temple.
"Jajang, a buddhist monk established a temple under the reign of Queen Sunduk of Silla. Later, the temple was moved to the upper parts of Mureung during the control of King Seon of Josun Dynasty, then, moved again to where it was located previously and renamed Samhwa." But this is inconsistent with Dongguk yeoji seungnam, which says the temple was founded in late Silla period.
The records above suggest that Jisang temple, like Samhwa temple, was founded in late Silla years. The name, Jisang may be closely linked to Jisang Je-uhn, a historical site.
Jisang Temple is located right behind Jisang Je-uhn, only 500m away from the site of Je-uhn. In this light, it is estimated that the name, Jisang came from Jisang Je-uhn.
The site of Jisang temple is now used as an orchard, but there remain some remnants of the temple such as cornerstones, stone materials, and pieces of roofing tiles. Choi Dae-you built a dharma hall about 500m to the south from the original building site of Jisang to enshrine an abandoned iron Buddha statue and named the hall Jihyang temple (353, Jiga-dong) in 1908. Now, restoration project is undergoing in the temple under the leader of the chief monk, Daeho.
To sum up, the temple of Jisang is estimated to be constructed at the end of Silla and closed between the end of Goryeo and the beginning of Joseon in that Dongguk yeoji seungnam, published in early Joseon period doesn't contain any information on the temple.