Brother Sister Pagoda
This legend narrates the story of Nammaetap (Brother Sister Pagoda), erected to commemorate a Buddhist monk and a maiden who became sworn siblings and pursued religious discipline until they died on the very same day.
According to oral transmission, the protagonist of this legend is Monk Sangwon of late Silla. Sangwon was engaged in religious discipline in a tent put up near the current location of Nammaetap when he happened to meet a maiden, together with whom he practiced religious devotion and entered nirvana upon obtaining enlightenment. The narrative can be categorized as a tale of religious discipline aimed at the propagation of Buddhism.
A tiger that had a bone caught in his throat came to seek help from a monk in meditation. The monk pushed his hand down its throat to pull out the bone and the tiger was gone. A few days later the tiger brought him a wild boar, upon which the monk said, “ This is a place of religious discipline, where it is unacceptable to destroy life, ”and sent the tiger back. A few days later the tiger brought an unconscious maiden and disappeared. The monk nursed the maiden back to health and urged her to return home, but the maiden offered to serve him in return for saving her life. The monk answered that he had entered priesthood and had no need to be served, and the maiden decided to enter priesthood herself in expression of her gratitude. The monk and the maiden formed ties as sworn siblings and together pursued religious discipline for the rest of their lives. They entered nirvana on the same day, and it is said that a large number of sarira pearls was found in their cremated remains, a sign of enlightenment. During the reign of Silla’s King Seongdeok, Master Hoeui refurbished the meditation venue (currently Cheongnyang Temple) and built a pagoda in their honor, naming it Nammaetap (Brother Sister Pagoda).
A variation of this legend replaces the animal bone inside the tiger’s throat with a lady’s hairpin, and the monk, upon taking out the pin, admonishes the tiger for killing. Details surrounding the maiden also differ: In some versions, the maiden encounters the tiger on the road by chance, while in some she is captured by the tiger on the eve of her wedding.
This legend can be categorized as a temple origin tale related to Cheongnyangsa, and also a tale of attaining Buddhahood, featuring a monk who gets involved with a young maiden but is not distracted and in the end enters nirvana.