Buddhist Temple Being Restored Under Communism’s Watchful Eye

October 2, 2005

Source: Los Angeles Times


On October 2, 2005 the Los Angeles Times reported, "Watched by impassive granite peaks and the suspicious eyes of the North Korean secret police, a Buddhist temple is coming back to life in this most inhospitable terrain. For the last 11 months, South Korean monks and craftsmen have been living in North Korea, rebuilding a famous temple destroyed during the Korean War. Among the myriad North-South ventures underway, this one is extraordinary because it is happening despite the communist regime's hostility to religion. Houses of worship have not fared well in North Korea, but there are some, mostly catering to foreigners. Shingye Temple is one of those... The temple is intended for South Koreans and other foreigners visiting Mt. Kumgang, one of the few parts of the country open to tourists. The only North Koreans permitted here are a handful of construction workers and farmers who tend a collective plot thick with curling vines of pumpkins and squash. On occasion, high-ranking North Korean officials visit to see what is going on."