David Mason

Introducing David Mason Korean Culture Expert

Visiting Korean Royal Tombs

Updated Korean River/Streambed Parks

Korean Public Art

Visiting Korean Royal Tombs

Introducing David Mason Korean Culture Expert

Introducing David Mason Korean Culture Expert

David Mason
LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

David Mason is an old friend of mine. He first came to Korea in the early ’80s as did I. He went to the Yonsei Korean language program, got his MA there, and has made a career of teaching and writing about all things Korea.  He has numerous books on his site on Korean shamanism (he is one of the experts) and Buddhism.


Website:  http://www.san-shin.org

Bio & photo

Prof Mason 

David A. Mason
Professor of Korean Cultural Tourism at Sejong University, Seoul

Honorary Ambassador of the Baekdu-daegan Mountain-Range

Tour-guide, Lecturer and Author on Traditional Cultural Sites

崔梅仙    최매선

……. David A. Mason is a Professor of Korean and International Cultural

Tourism at Sejong University, Seoul Campus, and a longtime

researcher on the religious characteristics of Korea's mountains.

Prior to his current post as professor of tourism for 15 years, he

served as a consultant for the national Ministry of Culture and

Tourism for 5 years, and as professor of English out in the Korean

countryside for 17 years.

A native of the USA, he has been living in South Korea for 36 years

now, always following his passionate interest in hiking Korea’s

forested mountains and visiting their historic spiritual sites. He has

proudly been a member of the RAS-KB for three decades. He was

appointed the national Honorary Ambassador of the Baekdu-daegan

Ranges in 2011.

Mason earned a Masters; Degree in the History of Korean Religions

from Yonsei University in 1997. He has authored and edited ten

books on Korean culture and tourism, including Spirit of the

Mountains about Korea, traditions of sacred mountains, the English

Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism, and Solitary Sage: The Profound

Life, Wisdom and Legacy of Korea’s ‘Go-un’ Choi Chi-won. He has

published many articles in academic journals and popular magazines,

and has frequently been interviewed on various media. His popular

website on sacred Korean mountains and mountain-spirit traditions

can be found at www.san-shin.org

Everything on this website is under my Copyright
2001-2021, except as-indicated.  Please do not
use anything from it in any way without written
permission from the author via Email.

Articles published in Chosun SAN magazine


David A. Mason’s San-shin Website
all about Korean Mountain-spirits and their shrines,
Korea’s sacred peaks and mountain-veneration traditions

Introduction to San-shin  (Korean Mountain-spirits)

What Makes a Korean Mountain “Sacred”?

Which Korean Mountains are MostSacred?

Korean Shamanism Intro

Books I have Published
about  David A. Mason
Interviews and Articles on my Research
Profile-Article in the Korea Herald 

Korea’s Four “Golden Ages”
and their associated UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites 

All Korea’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

Korea’s Top-7 Buddhist Temples
Korea’s Top-25 Buddhist Temples
Korea’s Top-108 Buddhist Temples
the Nine Highest Korean Temples
Jeokmyeol Bogung Temples
Seonjong Gusan [9 Holy Zen Mountains],
Homes of the Gusan-Seonmun Temples
Hwaeom Shipchal — Ten Avatamsaka Temples 

the Nine Greatest Seowon
(Neo-Confucian Academies-with-Shrines)
Sobaek-san Sosu-seowon in Punggi 

Korean “Residences” of Buddhist Deities or Sites especially-dedicated to them


from north-to-south along the west side of this peninsula,
starting around Seoul, then south-to-north along the east side


the “Island of the Spirits” 

Kings of both Dragons and Mountains
on Geoje-do Island, southeast coast 

the San-shin icons of the remote
southwest coast of Korea
Jin-do Island  Ssanggye-sa 

Yeosu Citypeninsula on the South Coast:
Heungguk-sa  and  Hyangil-am 

Sacred Sites of  Namhae Island
Bori-am clifftop Hermitage of Compassion 

Masan City’s Muhak-san


Contact: send any comments or questions
to memtnwolf@gmail.com 

Worthwhile Links


Korean-language Edition Available!


Weird and Excellent New Discoveries!

At the San-shin-gak of Biseul-san
Nam-jijang-sa Temple south of
Daegu City, Autumn 1999.  Photo
by my old friend Kwon Soon-il.

Seondo Korean Daoism — the International Institute for Sundo
Taoist Cultural Research, led by Master Kim Hyeong-mun.
AKA Kuksundo [Guk-seondo] Daoist practices — very interesting stuff.

See my listing of Korea’s 40 most sacred places on
Martin Gray’s excellent Sacred Sites of the World
website, on this page about Korea.
For plenty of information on and beautiful photos of the
world’s holy pilgrimage destinations, get his excellent
book: Sacred Earth: Places of Peace and Power.

My research-paper on the Baekdu-daegan Region as a green
pilgrimage-tourism destination by U.N. World Tourism Org


Sacred Mountains of CHINA
our trip to China’s Tai-shan Oct 2006
China’s Song-shan Shaolin Temple
North China’s Buddhist Sites
China Tourism Day
the Western Inscription of Zhang Zai
Eight Trigrams of the I Ching
Chinese Daoist Artworks
China’s Belt-Road Project 

my visit to India Dec 2006 

Tour to Gyeongju & Andong for US
Ambassador Vershbow Family, Dec 05 

Seoul Map of 1929
Hyochang, Park of Heroes — Kim Gu 

Mongyu-dowon-do — Korea’s best landscape painting
Dream-Journey to Immortal-Peach Orchard” 

Old Korean Shamanic Fans
Shilla Kingdom Artworks
The Baekje Daehyangro Incense-Burner 

Goryeo Artworks from North Korea 

Korean Buddhist Art Collection 

Text & Photos on San-shin’s Links
with Korean Zen Buddhism 

More San-shin Folk-tales 

San-shin and Korean Ginseng 

Matched Tiger Folk-Paintings 

Korean War Maps 

Answers to Questions 

Corrections to the First Printing 

sacred mountains index 

Korean Christianity 

Alan Heyman’s 80th Birthday

My Presentation on Korea’s Religious
Pilgrimage Tourism to the UN in Spain 2007


Sanshin-je Ceremony at 2008 United Nations
International Mountains Day Seminar in Seoul


Holy Mountains of Seoul:

the Bukhan-san sub-Range

Samgak-san, the Northern Guardian
2008 Mt. Samgak Int’l Cultural Festival
Taego-sa, Hermitage of a Buddha
2007 Shamanic Sanshin Rituals
Yonghak-sa’s Grand Cliff-Shrines
2009 Samgak-san Sanshin Ceremony
Samgak-san 2012 Dodang-je Rituals

Dobong-san,  the Tao Peaks
Mangwol-sa & its Valley

Bugak-san, the Northern Crags
Buam-dong, Jongno-gu and Seongbuk-dong

Gwanak-san, the Southern Guardian
Samseong-san / Sammak-san on the SW

Bulam-san,  Buddha-Rock Mountain
new!!  East Cheonbo-sa with stone Sanshin!

Inwang-san  the Shamanic Capital
2008 Inwang-Sanshin-je Rituals
with Resulting Magazine Articles
2009 Inwang-Sanshin-je Ceremony
Seon-bawi Immortal Rocks
An-san, host of Bongwon-sa

Tours to Buddhist San-shin Ceremony at
Samgak-san Wangryeong-sa in 2005, 6 & 7


Philippines:     Dumaguete Town
Rainbow Waterfall
House Construction
Davayn One Year Old           22 Months Old
Simala Church
Lourdes Shrine 2020
Baekdu-daegan Trail Guidebook

Please donate towards the maintenance
and improvement of this free website —
if you feel you have gotten something
good from viewing it — even a few
dollars helps with the monthly bills…

Top of Form


Bottom of Form

My Picks for Seoul’s Top-Five Mountains and
Temples in the 2010 “Seoul Book of Everything”


Gaya-san, the Mountain
of Buddha’s Enlightenment
featuring Haein-sa and its hermitages

Dale’s Korean Temple Adventures Blog

Dale’s new book!:

Buddhist Sanshin with Daoist Eight Immortals!


Australian Aborigine Sanshin Painting!


Korea for Expats — all info!

another good Site for Seoul Expatriates


Sacred Peaks of Gyeongju
Ancient Capital City with Grand Buddhist Relics


Article on Jeongseon County 2010


Won-bulgyo founder Sotaesan practicing
Sanshin-gido Ritual-Prayer


the ultra-holy Grand White Mountain
Shamans using the Taebaek Sanshin
Hambaek-san — Korea’s Rodney-Dangerfield Mtn


Exquisite-Wisdom Mountain
2004 & 2006 Namak-je [Southern Peak Ceremony]
Heavenly-King Peak
  National-Holy-Mother  San-shin
Cheoneun-sa — the Hidden-Spring Temple
Hwaeom-sa — Avatamsaka Monestary
Cheonghak-dong: the Azure-Crane Village
Three Sages Palace – Korea’s Daoist Utopia
Ssanggye-sa: Choi Chi-won & 6th Patriarch
Korea’s Original Green Tea Center
Chilbul-sa — Temple of Seven Prince-Buddhas
Yeongok-sa and Doseon-daesa‘s Budo
Sudo-am — nation’s largest Sanshin-gak
Sangseon-am, remote meditation hemitage
Banya-bong — the Prajna Wisdom Peak
Our Hike up the Legendary “Python Valley”
Yeongwon-sa and Godam-sa
Beobhwa-san — Dharma-Blossom Peak
Shilsang-sa:  one of the “Nine Zen Temples”
Beobgye-sa, one of Korea’s highest temples
Daewon-sa  and  Naewon-sa  on the East
Juji-sa & Yeowon-am on the Baekdu-daegan
Deokchi-ri Pass BDDG Monument
Namwon City Sites
Gyoryong-san Fortress Seongok-sa Temple
Video of my Jan 2007 RAS Lecture


Rooster-Dragon Mountain-spirit Festival,
the Golden-Dragon Hermitage,
many fascinating temples & shrines,
and the Male & Female Dragon Ponds


Chiak-san National Park in Wonju
1999 Ceremony at the Eastern Peak Shrine 

Baekdeok-san & Saja-san  with Beopheung-sa 

Danyang County:  more than just the Eight Sights


Sogni-san National Park
Beobju-sa the Grand Dharma-Residence Monastery
with my Students  Nov 2006 

Cheongju City’s Cow-crags Mountain:
Unique finds by Lake & on Slopes, including the
Dragon-Tiger Temple with San-shin as Maitreya Buddha! 

Oe-am Yangban Village, potential UNESCO WH Site 

Charming Temple with a great Sanshin-do!


Buyeo City Sacred Sites
with Nakhwa-am and Goran-sa
Daejo-sa’s Huge Maitreya Statue
Nonsan Gwanchok-sa: Famously-Weird Mireuk 

Hongseong‘s Dragon-Peak Yongbong-sa 

Boryeong City Sites:
Seongju-saji Gusan Temple-Site
Gaemaemot Martyrs      Baegun-sa 

Chilgap-san — Peak with 7 Limbs
with Janggok-sa Temple 

Gunsan Japanese Colonial Buildings
and Donghak-sa Jp Temple


Busan City

Yeongchuk-san Chuiseo-san
Tongdo-sa Monastery

Goheon-san Daeseong-sa

Ulsan’s Bangudae Petrogyphs

Cheontae-san Cheontae-sa
Cheonseong-san1000 Sages Mtn with Wonhyo-am

Biseul-san Holy Crags SW of Daegu


southern-half of the Diamond Mountains
Spectacular Bongjeong-am Hermitage!
Daecheong-bong Great Azure Peak
Diamond Cave on Maitreya Peak 

Sacred Sites of
North Korea:
Baekdu-san, the Holy White-Head
used as a symbol
Geumgang-san, the Diamond Mountains
Myohyang-san —  Mysterious Fragrance
Chilbo-san —  Seven Treasures
Guwol-san —  Nine Moons & Dan-gun
Songak-san —  Pine Crags
Pyeongyang City’s Beobun-am
Ryongtong-sa Temple of Gaeseong City


Odae-san — Korea’s Wutai-shan
Home of Manjusri Bodhisattva of Wisdom
Woljeong-sa, Sangwon-sa and more
Winter Olympic TempleStay at Woljeong-sa 

Yangyang’s Nak-san Naksan-sa


Jogye-san, Mountain of Zen
with Songgwang-sa and Seonam-sa 

Baegun-san — White Clouds Mountain


Hwangak-san  Jikji-sa  & Samseong-am


Yecheon County’s  Yongmun-san:
Dragon-Gate Mtn & Temple near Baekdu-daegan 

Yecheon-gun’s Biryong-san:
Flying-Dragon Mountain with Jangan-sa Temple 

Gyeongbuk’s fantastic Cheongryang-san
with  Nae-Cheongryang-sa Temple  and
Dosan-Seowon Neo-Confucian Academy 

Heuiyang-san with Bongam-sa 

Mungyeong-Saejae  Joryeong Pass
Third Gate  Sanshin-gak
Baekdu-daegan Event June 2010 

Worak-san — Remote Moon-Crags 

Yeongju City Black-Rock Temple
Sobaek-san — Home of Biro Buddha
Floating-Rock Temple  Buseok-sa
Sosu-seowon Neo-Confucian Academy
Seonbi-chon  Scholar’s Village
Juk-ryeong Pass  Sanshin-dang Shrine
Sain-am Cliffs with Cheongryeon-sa Temple


Gyeongbuk’s sacred Hakka-san
with Bongjeong-sa, Gaemoksa & Bomun-sa 

Bing-san the Mountain-Ravine of Cold Winds 

Go-un-sa Temple 

Gyeongsan Jeseok-sa


Duta-san, Buddha’s Heaven Mtn
featuring Samhwa-sa Sanshin artworks


Il-wol-san / Sun-Moon Mountain
 Korea’s Haunted Slopes


Hike Korea! — www.hikekorea.com
Roger Shepherd’s company


Baekhwa-san, White Lotus-Flower Mtn
with Banya-sa Wisdom Temple
— Natural “Tiger” on mountainside!!


Wonhyo Pilgrimage Trail
inaugural trek Dec 2011
2nd Trip  for Video Sept 2012!
Launch of the Trek!
Green Shinto Blog
fascinating views of Japanese culture


Seongnam’s Namhan Sanseong Fortress

Anseong City:  Chiljang-san
and Goseong-san Unsu-am!
Mt. West-Clouds Blue-Dragon Temple

Jincheon County:   Botap-sa
General Kim Yu-shin’s Birthplace
Seongrim-sa with Stone-Carved Sanshin

Newsweek International on Korea’s
Religious-Pilgrimage Tourism Sites 

Korean Family Names 

Reviews of the San-shin book 

Photo book “Passage to Korea” 

2006 ‘Morning Calm’ article by Michael Breen 

Goguryeo, Baekje, Shilla Envoys


Virtual & Real Guided Tours that I offer in and around Korea:
Tours By Locals .com     and  Context Learning-Travel


Moak-san the Holy Mother Peak
with Geumsan-sa Golden Mountain Temple


Holy Stored-Within Mountain 

Gochang-gun Goindol Dolmen
Jangseong Piram Seowon 

Seungdalsan Mokun-am Sanshin-do


Mountain Deities in China


Pohang’s Naeyeon-san
Great Sanshin at Naeyeon-san Daewonsa 

Yeongcheon Bohyeon-san Chunghyo-sa 

Ulleung-do Island of Folk-Spirits 

Palgong-san, gigantic holy Moutain of Eight Worthy Spirits


Great Sanshin Painting at Pohang’s Daewonsa!


Juwang-san National Park
Yeongdeok-gun County Dragon-Rock Temple
English Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism,  2014


Solitary Sage:  Life, Wisdom and Legacy of “Go-un” Choi Chi-won
2016 — all-color-photos Ebook is available

My deadhead friend Beth’s awesome new website
on her Tarot & spiritual-Paganism witch-wisdom,
practical-psychology, lifestyle and practices,  full of
wonderful & excellent postings;  she’s in North Carolina…

Korea’s Cultural Policy, by CB-Saeji

Shamanic Paintings Lecture

Chunhyang Story 1917

Korea Magazine 1917-19 Contents

Yun Seon-do — Sijo Poetry Culture of Exile on Bogil-do
Arirang-TV “K-phile” episode on my research, Dec 2016

Mountain-TV episode, January 2017


New Book on Korea’s Leisure Activities, Games
and Sports, for Utilization in Cultural Tourism


Pungsu-Jiri paintings in Lobby of Supreme Court of Korea


In 2017 I spoke at the UNWTO‘s International
Congress on Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage


Sanshin Painting Gift from Gyeryong-san!


19th Cen Sanshin-do with I Ching Trigrams


Video Lecture on the I Ching in Korean Culture


Soyo-san — Wonhyo’s Jaje-am Retreat-Hermitage


Naju City’s Bulhoe-sa


Seven Buddhist Mountain-Temples added to UNESCO World Heritage List


Contact: send any comments or questions to memtnwolf@gmail.com


Chuncheon’s Samak-san
the Home-Root Mountain of my heart




Vandalism / Arson of Buddhist Temples/Treasures
by Korean Protestant Christians


Great Korean Tiger Folk-Paintings by Master Kim Man-hee

Tiger-Magpie Painting in a Paris Museum!


Spring 2021:

Travel Agency Management

Cultural Tourism Management


Dr. Dirk Schlottmann’s research on K-Shamanism
2014 Haps Magazine Interview by Hal Swindon


Ganghwa-do — Island of Holy Mountains


History & Culture of
Korean Green Tea
the Best Book on Korean Green Tea 

Endorsement by “Doh-ol” Kim Yong-ok 

The Baekdu-daegan
— Korea’s Mountain Energy-Spine —
Appointment as  PR Ambassador of Baekdu-daegan
Ancient Spiritual Forest Culture of the Baekdu-daegan Range
booklet distributed at a U.N. ConferenceKorea’s version of Feng Shui:
— Pungsu-Jiri —

Mountain-Spikes Controversy

Doseon Guksa, Korea’s great Geomancer

Go-un Choi Chi-won
Korea’s Wise Genius
Secondo Choi Chi-won Seminar  Nov 2010
1903 RAS article on Choi Chi-won
Masan Seminar 2018

Dr. Zo Zayong, my mentor
Lauren Deutsch’s Article on Zo Zayong
Our 2004 Visit to his Center & Tomb, and Rituals
BOOKS by Zo Zayong
The Ten Symbols of Longevity  (actually, 12)
Gallery of Korean Traditional Folk-Paintings


Special Lecture on Gangneung Dano-je
ToSSoK in Busan, July 2008
APTA in Bangkok, July 2008
ToSSoK on Anmyeon-do 2009
Bangkok Tourist Shots with Lou 

Korea Times front-page Article on
Korea’s Religious Tourism, October 2008 

Tour to a Buddhist San-shin
Ceremony in Seoul, 200506 & 07


PR-Ambassador of Samgak-san for Gangbuk-gu


Myth and Iconography of Korea’s
Founder-King Dan-gun
“Tomb of Dan-gun” in NK    1994    2011
and Paintings of Holy Hwan-ung
Dan-gun Myth Postal Stamps 2008
2008  Gasan-sa  Dangun-je  Festival


Korean Seon Ten Ox Paintings
10-ox Paintings of Danseok-san Cheonju-sa 

Korea’s Sam-Taegeuk Symbol
Taegeukgi National Flag 

The Samguk Yusa
Myths & Legends of the Three Ancient Kingdoms 

Sam-hwangje Baehyang
Ceremony for Three Ming Emperors in Gapyeong


San-shin Ritual was held in
North Korea in March 2002!modern Sanshin Painting from NK !


Seoul’s “Temple of Heaven

Great Master Wonhyo
Jeseok-sa Wonhyo’s Birthplace Temple
Launch of the Wonhyo Pilgrimage Trail
Images of Wonhyo with Uisang
Founding Master Uisang-josa


Jang Bo-go Memorial in Seoul


Eulji Mundeok Saved Goguyeo


Shawn and Yu-mi’s Wedding April 2007
Shamanism Seminar Nov 2007
North California Trip Feb 2008


Bob Dylan & Band 1974 Tour

Andrew Douch’s site on the trails
of Korea’s Top 100 Mountains


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