Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Samgak San - the National Prayer Altar of Korea

This piece of article is taken from the the official site of Bukhansan National Park - http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=312935

"Procession of Large Granite Rocks Create a Superb View"

Mt. Bukhansan is situated in the northern part of Seoul. Designated as a national park in 1983, the mountain is 78.45 km wide and has 6 districts and extends out into Gyeonggi-do. The name Bukhansan means "big mountain" in the north, and it is also called Mt. Samgaksan.

Mt. Bukhansan has such smooth curves that the large granite rocks sometimes look as if they would slide down the mountain. The sharp peaks provide contrast to the dozens of valleys and rivers flowing below. The mountain has many different kinds of peaks but its main peak is Baekunbong. The granite peaks blend well with trees, and there are about 1,300 kinds of animal and plant life living on the mountain. Among the granite peaks, the best known is Insubong Peak's Giam. The world famous granite rock peak Insubong is over 200m above sea level, and there are about 100 mountain paths leading to the rock. When you stand on Baekundae and look down, sometimes you can see as far as Seoul and the Hangang River.

Bukhansan has a rich history as well. The cultural treasures it possesses attests to the historical events that occurred on the mountain.

King Jinheung's Sunsubi on Bibong Peak, the Bukhansan seong Fortress built along the mountain's ridges, Sangunsa Temple built by the monk Won-Hyo, and numerous other temples occupy the mountain areas. Bukhansanseong Fortress is also a must-see tour site if you are visiting the mountain. Bukhansanseong Fortress was built with a wall spanning about 8,500 m, built specifically to stop foreign invasion. It is one of the representative mountain fortresses of the Joseon Era. In the fall, especially, the view you can get from the fortress of the mountain is spectacular. Temples are also representative of rich culture that flourished on Bukhansan. The Seungasa Temple on the east Bibong Peak, with Seokgayeorae Ma-aebuls carved into a 5m granite rock, and the Munsusa temple located halfway up the Musubong peak, with purified mountain water dropping from the ceiling of Munsugual Cave, are indicative of both Bukhansan's history and culture. With its granite peaks and Bukhansanseong fortress, Bukhansan is perfect for hiking in all seasons. In the spring, all kinds of flowers bloom, and in the summer, lush forests carpet the numerous valleys. The hiking path along the valley is perhaps the best summer mountain climbing course there is. The fall is the perfect time to visit the temples and pavilions in their autumn colors. In the winter, the snow-covered mountain scenery is very beautiful.

Bukhansan National Park has many attractions and beautiful scenery, and is near enough to the city, that many come to visit. The park averages 5 million visitors and has received the Honor of being in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the national park with the highest number of visitors per square foot.


Samgak was introduced to us by Bro Dae, a Korean whom we have been praying with for the past one year. Samgak San used to be his "home" for 7 years -- he hike up daily to pray for hours ... and coming down only for a couple of hours before he hike up again. I was very touched by his passion and heart to impart to us what he had experienced .... I keep saying its really crazy to bring a group of aunties and uncles up the mountain .... 3 days in a row ...people who do not really have experience in hiking and have not exercised for a long time .... why does he do it .... cos he loves the Lord .... thus he loves us enough to bring us up .... down ... in the sun .. through the wind .. rain .... lightening ... and moonlight ...

Samgak San in is located 1-hrs drive from the city of Seoul ... and in the Bukhan-san National Park ... means 3 points ... San means mountain. So true to its name, Samgak San has 3 summits .... and 2 of the summits is where people go and pray .... the summit that we went is called the summit of unity -- where people pray for the unity of north and south of Korea .... and the summit which is opposite this is called the summit of power --- where people go and pray for anointing .... many famous pastors in Korea used to go and pray on this mountain before they are launched into their ministry ....

Yes .... Samgak San is a prayer mountain .... its known as the national prayer altar for Korea. About 60years ago ... just before world war 2 .... a pastor was led by God to go to this mountain to pray for Korea ... and his prayer has stopped the invasion of communism into south Korea. There, he built a small chapel on the mountain .... however, after the war, the government torn down the chapel .... but allowed for many temples to be build. However it did not stopped people from going to the mountain to pray .... the pastor who started to pray on this mountain is now 90plus and unable to hike up .... God raised another lady pastor to pray daily on this mountain top. We met her on the 1stday when we were coming down from the mountain ... she starts her hike (alone) at 6pm and comes down from the mountain at 4am .... so, prayer has been ongoing past 60years.

Today, there are many temples in Samgak San (thank God the path we took did not pass any of them but we can see the temples from the mountain top). We can only see the ruins of the Chapel just before we reach to top of the summit. On the mountain --- besides our voices ... we can also hear other people praying ... it seems many many people used to hike up to pray - when Korea was declared bankrupted .. many went up to pray ... to seek God .... now we know why Korea has the largest church in the world .... now we know why Korea experienced revival .... now we know why Koreans are loud and passionate in their prayer ...

However, with growth and programs ... less and less people come up to pray ... now the lady pastor continues to pray for the unity and restoration of north and south Korea as well as for the pastors and churches in Korea ... because they do not pray as much as they use to ...

Certain parts of the mountain has been blocked off to preserve nature .... so they claim ... so, this has also prevented people from going up to pray. At the foot of the hill, is the home to many many rich and famous people (the Arab Saudi Embassy is just down the road) ... I guess they must have complained that people praying are very noisy ... so, when we came down from the mountain (especially midnite or early morning .. we were quiet ... ).

Just at the foot of the mountain, there is a house that is converted to a church and a prayer house. Seems the prayer house was given by someone to the church ... and the house (very beautiful) .... estimated value at the time when it was given -- $US15million! Houses are very expensive in Seoul as it is a mountainous city .... this is why there are more condos compared to landed property. Even when one has a landed property ... they have very limited space for parking. That is why it is very common for cars to be parked right along the roadside of the house .... I saw one house with at least 4-5 expensive cars parked outside the house ... BMW, Volkswagon, Merdz ....

Every 2 days, there will be rangers or police who will round the mountain to check the mountain. We placed a Malaysia and Israel flag hidden among the rocks on the 1stday after our team prayed .... seems the flags were removed by the police the following week.

On the second day, we packed up to leave the mountain at 10pm .... and as we were climbing through the rocks ... we heard people praying and saw lights ... it was the lady pastor with a group of other pastors .... they were praying for Korea .... we can hear words ... Ooo Bapa ... ooo Bapa ... we were excited because we hear people using Malay words in Korean woods!!!
[later we found out that the group was praying for Msia!!amazing .... God just impress in their hearts to pray for Msia when we are there!]

On the 3rd day .... a Korean missionary looked our group up cos he heard us praying .... he was on a 40days liquid fast - he was in the mountain praying ... he found us at 230am ... and prayed with us, for us .. for Malaysia .. and we prayed for him and the reconciliation of South & North Korea!

Its really an honor to be at the national prayer altar of Korea .. to pray for Malaysia .... its really encouraging to see Koreans crying over Msia as they pray for Malaysia ... Malaysians .... will you rise up to pray for our land?

Hope to blog more .... another time ...... its really an experience money cannot buy ... :0....

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