In 529, Ado-hwasang established Seonam-sa at the place of Seonam-sa Biro-am and named the temple ˇ°Haecheon-saˇ± and the mountain ˇ°Cheongryang-sanˇ±. After that Doseon-guksa renewed the temple at the present location, and made 1 iron Buddha, 2 pagodas, and 3 Buddha. Until now, those are handed down.

Then Daegak-guksa Euicheon stayed Daegak-am, renewing Seonam-sa, and made Seonam-sa the center temple of Taegojong in Honam area. From the records of Daegak-guksa, renewal at that time was in very large scale, making 13 shrines, 12 buildings, 26 dormitories for monks, and 19 branch temples.

In Goryeo Era, records were not found but the poem of Kim Geukgi wrote Seonam-sa as a very quiet temple for self-disciplines.
The only records in early Joseon was the maintenance record of main gate in 1540. In Jeongyu-jaeran, Seonam-sa also destroyed leaving the iron Buddha, pagoda, Buddha, Munsu-jeon, gate of Gojye, and toilets.  

After the destruction, buildings and temples were not restored at all. In 1660 Gyeongjun, Gyeongjam, and Munjeong monks tried to restore them and their restoration lasted for 8 years. However, it was impossible to restore the buildings and temple like before.

Who finished the renewal of Seonam-sa was Hoam-yakhyu monk.
He made Seungseon Bridge, Wontong-jeon, Buljo-jeon. After the renewal, Seonam-sa

was consisted of 8 shrines, 12 buildings, 16 dormitories, 13 branch temples, and other small branches – Seonjeok-am and Doseon-am.In the spring of 1759, a big fire took place in Seonam-sa. Sangwol-saebong and Seoak began restoration and renewal of Seonam-sa in 1760.  This is fifth renewal, after Ado-hwasang, Euicheon, Gyeongjam-Gyeongjun-Munjeong, and Hoam.

Sangwol-saebong monk not only started restoration and renewal of Seonam-sa, but also held Hwaeom Big Mass Worship in Seonam-sa in 1734 and 1735. List of 1287 participants were recorded in Haejurok. Furthermore, he changed back the name of mountain and temple, to ˇ°Cheongryang-sanˇ± and ˇ°Haecheon-saˇ±  In 1789, King Jeongjo had no prince to continue the reign. Thus Nulam monk in Wontong-jeon, Haebung monk in Daegak-am prayed for 100 days.

After the birth of King Sunjo in 1790, King Jeongjo granted a tablet, silver incense burner, Ssangyongmun clothing, gold folding screen, and palanquin.

Haebung-jeonryeong, who was famous for his literature, renewed seven buildings in 1798. After a fire that burned some buildings in 1823, Haebung, Nulam, and Ikjong began the sixth renewal in 1824 that lasted until now. Also, the names of mountain and temple were also returned.
In the late Joseon Dynasty, Seonam-sa produced 4 great teachers who represented Honam area: Hammyeong-taeseon, Gyeongbung-ikun, Gyeongun-wongi, and Geumbong-girim.

By the policy of religion in 1919, temples in Korea were arranged into 30 head temples and other temples managed by head temples. Seonam-sa was selected as one of 4 head temples in Jeonra-nam-do, managing temples in the area of Suncheon, Yeosu, and Gwangju. Presently, Seonam-sa is the only Taegochongrim(a training temple for monk preparers) in Taegojong, where many monk are preparing for test and doing self-disciplines.