Due to the Buddhist custom of building temples in mountains, there are many mountains named “Mireuk” in Korea. Among these, the most famous are in Iksan, Jeonbuk, Ulleungdo, and here in Tongyeong.
People believe the future Buddha Mireukbul has come down to Mt. Mireuk.
The thickly forested mountainside blends beautifully with the ocean’s expansive splendor. In the distance is Daemado and the many islets of Hallyeosudo dotting the horizon. On the top of the mountain stands a tombstone with the epitaph “Typhoon! I will Protect Thee.” A prominent landmark is Monument 210 (Gyeongsangnam-do)Tongyeongmireuksanbongsudae or Beacon mound. The valley under the mountain functions as the first source of Tongyeong’s water service. Archeological excavation has revealed building lots and tile fragments (Giwa) on the flat ground behind the beacon mound. The tile fragments are stamped with a pattern believed to belong to the United Shilla period. These tiles and other artifacts attest to its importance as a site for rituals in both the United Shilla period and later during the Joseon Dynasty. The valley marks the origin of Tongyeong.
Mt. Mireuk is home to three of Korea’s most famous temples. Dosolam was built by Dosolseonsa in the 26th year of King Taejo’s reign (Goryeo Dynasty~ 943a.d.), Gwaneumsa was constructed in the 8th year of King Yeongjo’s reign (Joseon Dynasty~1732a.d.) during the Joseon Dynasty, and Yonghwasa (originally known as Jeongsusa), which was built along with Sanseongs (Fortress) on the recommendation of General Yun Cheon in Lord Gwanghaegun’s reign (Joseun Dynasty~1617a.d.). This area suffered from a series of disasters and to ward off these calamities, people prayed for seven days on the top of Mt. Mireuk. It is said that a deity revealed that a temple named Yonghwa on this site should be built to enshrine the future Buddha Mireukbul. (Mt. Yonghwa is another name for Mt. Mireuk).
Tongjeyoung, the headquarters of Korea’s naval forces, governed Yonghwasa so the Buddhist priests there, in addition to their religious work, were engaged in military service and the temple was utilized as a military camp. A five-story pagoda, where the cremated remains of Reverend Hyobong are interred, stands in a perfect line with the gravestone and the life-size statue.