Gilsangwha Bosal's Charitable Deed | Gilsangsa
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      Kim Yeong-han

Gilsangwha Bosal's real name is Kim Yeong-han (1916~1999)
Kim Yeong-han was born and raised under Japanese colonial rule, a dark time for Koreans. At the age of 16, she became a gisaeng (female entertainer) and was given the name Jinhyang by Ha Gyu-il, who established the Chosun Gisaeng Association and taught young underprivileged talents classical court music and dance to pass on traditional Korean performing arts. At one time Kim was also called Jaya, a name given to her by the poet Baek Seok. In 1953 she graduated from Chungang University in South Korea with a degree in English literature, and wrote several essays and books such as Baek Seok, the Name in My Heart, A Memoir of Ha Gyu-il, and Baek Seok, My Love.

Kim bought a beautiful valley estate called Baebatgol and built and managed Cheongamjang, a Korean restaurant. During the third republic (1963-72), however, management of the restaurant was taken out of Kim's hands and was turned into Daewongak, one of three most famous high-end restaurants in the country. In her old age, Kim was deeply moved after reading "Musoyu" (Non-Possession), an essay written by Beopjeong Sunim. When she met him in person, she talked about her vision and asked Beopjeong Sunim to take Daewongak, valued at over $8.85 million at the time, and turn it into a temple. At first Beopjeong Sunim rejected her request, but Kim persevered over the next ten years and finally gained his approval in 1995.

When Daewongak became Gilsangsa Temple on Dec. 14, 1997, all Kim received in return was her Buddhist name, Gilsangwha, and a Buddhist rosary from Beopjeong Sunim. The only wish of the donor, who had offered a site of about 23,140㎡ including all buildings, was that the temple become an open space where all who came could forget the pains of life. She said to the thousands of people who visited the temple,
"I have made many mistakes in my life.
I don't know much about Buddhism.....
but my only wish is that the temple bell ring out clearly from the octagonal pavilion,
where the women used to change their clothes."
It was Kim's greatest and earnest wish after a life of many ups and downs and sadness. Kim departed this life on Nov. 14, 1999. One day before passing away, she bathed to purify herself and came to the temple to worship, thus spending her last night at Gilsangheon. When the temple was covered in the first snow after her death, her ashes were scattered from the hilltop behind Gilsangheon in accordance with her will.
Gilsangsa set up a simple monument on the spot where Kim's ashes were scattered to pay tribute to her charitable deeds, and holds an annual memorial service for her on the seventh day of the tenth month by the lunar calendar. Also, Malgo Hyanggiropge, a volunteer organization based at Gilsangsa, founded the Malgo Hyanggiropge Gilsangwha scholarship to provide support to some 30 high school students every year, carrying on the noble spirit of Gilsangwha Bosal.