Gyewonsa Temple – 계원사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

CSC_0756  A look at the buildings at Gyewonsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Having been unable to find it the first time, and after a misguided highway run by the GPS, I decided I would try and find Gyewonsa Temple again. Fortunately, I thought I had caught a glimpse of a sign leading to it the week previous, so I started where I had left off.

To get to Gyewonsa Temple, you first have to go through a tunnel that lies beneath Highway 1 that runs up to Gyeongju. After passing through this tunnel, and up a sleep dirt road, that was mud because of the previous nights’ rainfall, I finally arrived at Gyewonsa Temple. And the first building to greet you at the temple is the monks’ dorms. This natural wood and newly built building is beautiful. To the far right and up the embankment is an area that houses a granite statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This statue is backed by a large moss covered stone wall. And from this vantage point, and through the multi-coloured paper lanterns, you get a scenic view of Yangsan.

Behind the monks’ dorms, and to the left of the stone statue area, is an elegantly designed three storied pagoda. While stout in design, it reflects the simplistic eloquence of Korean stone pagodas. To the left of this stone pagoda is a shrine set up for Yongwang (The Dragon King). The mural is one of the best and most refined paintings of this shaman deity.

Up a steep set of stairs, you’ll find the diminutive main hall at Gyewonsa Temple. The exterior of the main hall is only adorned with floral murals. Inside the main hall, and on the right side near the entrance, is a very old looking guardian painting. At the foot of this painting, and keeping the mural company, is a small bronze bell. Sitting on the main altar, in the centre, is what looks to be Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined by Gwanseeum-bosal to the right and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul) to the left. This triad of statues is flanked to the left by an older looking mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Both this mural and the guardian mural are rather impressive older looking Buddhist paintings. The wooden altar pieces have colourful paintings adorning the surface of each one. Interestingly, the overall theme is a frog in several different locations and positions on the wooden panels of the wooden altar.

To the right rear of the main hall, and up another set of stairs, is the oldest building at Gyewonsa Temple: the Samseong-gak shrine hall. The exterior of this low-ceilinged shaman shrine hall is largely unadorned except for a handful of fading decorative paintings. When you enter the hall, you’ll be greeted by the most popular triad of shaman deities found at Buddhist temples. In the centre is a rather plain looking Chilseong (Seven Stars) painting. This painting is flanked by an equally conventional painting of San shin (The Mountain Spirit) to the left and Dokseong (The Recluse) to the right.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Gyewonsa Temple, you’ll first have to take a subway to the end of line 2 and get off at Yangsan Subway Station #243. From the subway station, you can take a taxi for a five minute ride, 1.8 kilometres, where they’ll drop you off just outside the entrance to the underpass that runs under Highway 1. The ride shouldn’t cost you anymore than 3,000 won. From where the taxi will drop you off, it’s another 500 metre walk up the mountain to the temple.

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OVERALL RATING: 6/10. While this temple isn’t the easiest to get to, and can be quite difficult to gain access to, it is worth the effort. The scenic views of Yangsan from the heights of the temple are beautiful. In combination with the older looking guardian paintings, Jijang-bosal painting, and Yongwang painting, and this temple makes for a nice morning excursion out in the country.

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The underpass that you’ll have to go through to get to the other side of the highway, where Gyewonsa Temple is located.
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A look through the long tunnel.
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The steep dirt road that leads up to the temple.
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The monks’ dorms, which is the first building to greet you at the temple.
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The newer looking pagoda with the compact main hall to the right.
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To the left of the pagoda is a Yongwang (The Dragon King) pavilion with this stunning Yongwang mural.
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A better look at the main hall at Gyewonsa Temple.
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The view from the main hall down at the pagoda and Yangsan off in the distance.
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A look at the main altar inside of the main hall. In the centre, it looks like a statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined to the left and right by Gwanseeum-bosal and Daesaeji-bosal..
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The older looking guardian mural that is housed inside of the main hall.
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And to the left of the main altar inside of the main hall is this mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
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Just one of the panels that adorns the cabinetry inside the main hall.
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The older looking Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall dedicated to three shaman deities.
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The Dokseong (The Recluse) mural inside the Samseong-gak.
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And the Chilseong mural in the centre of the three shaman deity murals.
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The path that leads over to the shrine that houses a Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) statue.
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The statue of Gwanseeum-bosal that is backed by a mossy mountainside.
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And the view of Yangsan from the statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.

Sinseonsa – 신선사 (Gyeongju)

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The Danseoksan Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple in northwestern Gyeongju.

Hello Again Everyone!!

I had heard good things here and there about Sinseonsa Temple in Gyeongju for quite awhile. So I thought I would bundle up and head up to Gyeongju to see the beautiful temple with the ancient grotto.

Sinseonsa Temple is located in northwestern Gyeongju high above the Ujung Valley. Specifically, Sinseonsa Temple is situated on Mt. Danseoksan, which was first called Mt. Jungaksan. The name Mt. Danseoksan, in English, means “Cut Rock Mountain,” and it stands an impressive 827 metres in height. With its height, it’s the tallest mountain in the Gyeongju area.

This mountain, other than the Danseoksan Grotto, is historically significant for a couple reasons. At the age of 17, and as the famous General Kim Yushin was being trained as a Hwarang (an elite group of Silla youths), he cut a large rock with his sword. This was a divine ability he had learned from an old monk named Nanseung. This cut rock still sits at the peak of Mt. Danseoksan above Sinseonsa Temple.

But as you make your way up the 700 metre climb from where the road gives away to something nearly impassable, you’re probably visiting Sinseonsa Temple for the famous Danseoksan Grotto. When you finally do arrive at the temple, you’ll notice a large protective Plexiglas enclosure to the right of the monks’ quarters that first greet you at the temple. It’s underneath this Plexiglas enclosure that the U-shaped grotto can be found. The Danseoksan Grotto predates the grotto at Seokguram Hermitage by 200 years. The grotto is quite large in size, even if the former roof to the grotto has long since disappeared. In fact, the grotto runs ten metres deep, eight metres high, and three metres in width.

In total, as you enter the grotto from the west, you’ll notice ten distinct carvings adorning the walls of the rock that date back to the early 7th century. The first carvings, in order of entry, to greet you are situated on the northern wall. The first is a Buddhist figure at the base of the wall seemingly pointing east. Above this figure is a triad of Bodhisattvas pointing you towards the left and the much larger statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). The tallest in this triad is 120 c.m. tall, while the smallest is 60 c.m. tall. Parallel to the triad, and before you see the statue of Mireuk-bul, is a cross-legged Buddhist figure. Beneath this figure are two more stone carvings. This time, the two figures look as though they are wearing sock-shaped hats and performing a memorial service for the dead. In fact, they almost look Egyptian in their design.

The three remaining carvings on the north, south, and east side of the grotto are rather large in size. The Mireuk-bul statue stands an impressive eight metres in height. And while it’s a bit crude and boyish looking in its design, it allows us to see how Buddhist images have evolved over time in Korea. This is also the central image at the grotto. In front of Mireuk-bul stands a Bodhisattva that is slowly chipping away with the passage of time. To the east, and a lot better preserved, is a 6 metre tall statue of yet another Bodhisattva. While this grotto isn’t as artistically refined as the masonry at Seokguram Grotto, this ancient Silla grotto is quite impressive in its own right.

Other than this grotto, there are a handful of other buildings at Sinseonsa Temple. The most prominent is the main hall at the temple. It’s from this hall that you can get a great view of the Ujung Valley down below. And to the right of the main hall are a pair of unique looking statues of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). The exterior walls of the main hall are adorned with simplistic Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, is a triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul. He’s joined to the right by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left. To the right of this main altar is a nice painting of Chilseong (The Seven Stars). And to the left, next to the small figurines of Jijang-bosal, is a beautiful guardian mural.

The final hall that you can see anything in, and past the monks’ quarters to the left of the main hall, is the newer looking shaman shrine hall. This shaman shrine hall is situated a little higher than the other halls at the temple, and it’s also up one of the more dangerous set of haphazardly strewn set of rock stairs. Inside this shaman shrine hall, and hanging on the main altar, are a pair of paintings. To the right is a mural of Dokseong (The Recluse), and to the left is a painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). This painting is similar in a lot of regards to the Sanshin painting at Geojoam Hermitage on Mt. Palgongsan in Daegu. The noticeable difference is that this Sanshin painting has a playful tiger kicking around an Immortal Peach. And in front of both of these murals is a set of jade turtle-based candle holders.

HOW TO GET THERE: First, you’ll have to get to Geoncheon train station, which is just north of Gyeongju. From this train station, you’ll then have to board the bus to Songseon 2 Ri Jeolgol (송선 2리 절골). To get there, you can either take bus #350, #351, #352, or #355. The ride lasts about 35 minutes and it takes 8 stops. From where the bus drops you off, you’ll then have to walk 2.2 km to get to the temple. Head south for about a kilometre, and then east for the rest. Don’t worry, there are a lot of signs leading the way.

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OVERALL RATING: 8/10. By far, the main attraction to this temple is the Danseoksan Grotto. This grotto is special for a couple reasons, especially since it’s the first grotto to be created in the Silla Kingdom; in fact, it even predates the much more famous Seokguram Grotto by 200 years. Add into the mix the beautiful renderings of various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and alm-givers, and you know why this place is so well revered. Also, the playful tiger inside the Sanshin painting is a must see if you can remember to see it after being blown away by the beautiful and historic grotto.

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The beautiful view from the temple grounds down at the valley below.
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The plexiglas exterior that covers the ancient grotto.
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The platform that leads to the grotto.
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A look at the south and east side of the grotto.
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The seated Buddhist image on the north wall.
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Part of the triad pointing left towards Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha).
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The first carving that greets you in the triad on the northern wall.
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Below the triad is this Buddhist figure.
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The sock-shaped hat alms givers.
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The main altar is this 8 metre tall boyish carving of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha).
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And a look at Mireuk-bul’s nine toes.
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The Bodhisattva on the northern wall that is slowly chipping away.
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A look at the Bodhisattva on the eastern wall that looks to be cracked in two.
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A closer look at the Bodhisattva’s face.
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A look at the temple grounds at Sinseonsa Temple and the main hall in the foreground.
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The main altar inside the main hall with Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) in the centre. He’s flanked by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left.
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To the right of the main altar is this nice painting of Chilseong (The Seven Stars).
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A look up at the shaman shrine hall. Inside is housed a painting of Dokseong (The Recluse) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).
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And a look at the painting of Sanshin. If you look close enough, you can see the tiger playing with the Immortal Peach!

Gatbawi Shrine – 갓바위 (Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The gorgeously sculpted Gatbawi Shrine on Mt. Palgongsan. (courtesy of “The Swede”)

 Hello Everyone!

Now, before you say Gatbawi isn’t a temple, it’s a shrine: I know. But for the sake of its uniqueness and association with Buddhism, I thought I would include it here. Also, I’m sure there are a lot out there that want to see it and want to know how to get there. So that’s why it’s included on the blog (or at least that’s my justification for including it, so there).

When you’re first dropped off by the bus, which is in the Gatbawi Park parking lot, you’ll start to make your long walk up Mt. Palgongsan. Follow the well placed signs as they guide your way. Halfway up the mountain, you’ll come to Deokunsa Temple, which is a small but nice little place to gather your breath along the way. After viewing Deokunsa Temple, you’ll continue on your way up to the Gatbawi Shrine. There are a countless amount of steps as you make your way to the top of Mt. Palgongsan. When you finally do get to the top of the mountain, where the Gatbawi Shrine rests, you’ll be greeted by a large group of people praying to a stone statue of Yaksayore-bul (The Buddha of Medicine).

The Gatbawi statue is an imposing statue of the Buddha of Medicine that stands six metres tall, and it dates back to the 800’s. A wide flat rock sits on its head. This hat is called a “gat,” and it was traditionally worn by Korean men. Combining “gat” with the word “bawi” for rock, and you get the gist of what Gatbawi means in English. On the first and fifteenth of each month, if you pray at the feet of the shrine, or so it’s said, you’ll supposedly get your wish granted.

HOW TO GET THERE:  To get to Gatbawi Shrine, you’ll have to take city bus #311, from Hayang Bus Terminal, for 30 minutes, where it’ll drop you off in the parking lot at Gatbawi Park. Then the hard climb starts. You can also take Daegu city bus #401, or Palgong city bus #2, or #3.

OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10.  The Gatbawi Shrine has a certain magic to it that draws hundreds of people on any given day. It’s especially amazing on a clear sunlit day. For the sheer historical, religious, and artistic significance, this shrine rates as high as it does.

Once again, a big thank you to “The Swede” for allowing me to use some of her pictures.

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The long trek up Mt. Palgongsan towards the Gatbawi Shrine.
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The beautiful view along the way.
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 The first look at the Gatbawi Shrine (courtesy of “The Swede”)
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 A view of the Gatbawi Shrine and all those that pray at its feet (courtesy of “The Swede”).
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A better look at Yaksayore-bul (The Buddha of Medicine) (courtesy of “The Swede”).

Picutes 12 148An even closer look at the statue’s serene features (courtesy of “The Swede”).

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 A view down the hillside at Bukjijangsa Temple (courtesy of “The Swede”).
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And a look down at the valley and Daegu below (courtesy of “The Swede”).

Sinheungsa Temple – 신흥사 (Buk-gu, Ulsan)

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Inside the main hall at Sinheungsa Temple in Ulsan.

 Hello Again Everyone!!

Sinheungsa Temple was formally known as Geonheungsa Temple. It was founded in 635 A.D. by Monk Myeongrang. According to temple records, the temple helped train 100 warrior monks in 678 A.D. It was also central to the defence of Korea against the invading Japanese during the Imjin War (1592-1598). And when Ulsan fell to the Japanese, it sent 300 bags of rice and warrior monks, led by Monk Jiun, to help the Korean forces. Unfortunately, and like a lot of other famous temples and hermitages throughout Korea, it was reduced to ash. Fortunately for us, however, it was rebuilt by Yi Geup, a military commander, in 1646. It was also at this time that the temple changed its name to the name that it is now known as: Sinheungsa Temple.

You first approach Sinheungsa Temple down a very long and winding road. And if you visit during the summer months, you’ll see a lot of Korean campers taking up residence near the valley and river that flows through it.

Up a tall set of stairs, and past an ancient and towering tree, you’ll finally make your way to the front of the Cheongwangmun Gate, which also acts as an open-air pavilion on the second floor. As you pass through the entrance, you’ll be welcomed by four atypically painted murals of the Four Heavenly Kings. After being greeted by these four celestial beings, you’ll make your way out of the tunnel gate, and out into the temple courtyard. To the far right is the monks’ quarters. And next to this residence is a spring for which Sinheungsa is famous. And to the far left is an administrative office.

Straight ahead is the large sized main hall. This is a newer main hall that was constructed in 1998 to replace the old one. Around the exterior walls to this main hall are various murals dedicated to the Nahan (The Disciples to the Historical Buddha). As for the interior walls, they are adorned with various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. And on the far right wall is an amazing guardian wood-relief carving. It’s populated with numerous shaman deities and Dongjin-bosal (The Guardian of the Buddha’s Teachings) in the centre. As for the main altar itself, it’s occupied with a triad of atypically rendered statues with Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) in the centre. The main altar is backed by an equally amazing wood-relief of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Additionally, there is a massive red canopy that frames the entire altar.

To the left of the main hall is the compact Nahan-jeon Hall. This hall is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it use to be the main hall at the temple until the new one was built. This hall dates back to the late-Joseon Period. Out in front of this hall is a three-tier pagoda with large sized pebbles placed on it by travellers  As for the interior of this hall, and another interesting aspect to this hall, are the white rock statues of the various Nahan (The Disciples of the Historical Buddha) that sit on the long main altar. Eerily striking a pose, they surround a triad of statues that sit at the centre of the main altar. In the centre is a white-clad Seokgamoni-bul. The final interesting aspect to this hall are the fading murals that adorn the entire interior to this hall from the floral patterns, to Nahan, to dragon heads. This interior has it all.

Finally, the last shrine hall at this temple is the Samseong-gak shrine hall dedicated to shaman deities. It’s up a long, overgrown, set of stairs. Strangely, there was a can of mosquito spray inside one of the stone lanterns just outside the shrine hall. As you enter the shrine hall, you’ll be greeted by some more beautiful etched wood-reliefs of the three most popular Korean shaman deities: San shin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Dokseong (The Recluse). All three are masterfully designed and colourfully painted.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Sinheungsa Temple in Ulsan, you’ll first have to get to the Hogye train station in northern Ulsan. From this train station, you’ll then have to take a taxi for twenty minutes until you arrive at the temple. The taxi ride covers 8.7 kilometres, and it’ll cost you 7500 won.

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OVERALL RATING: 6/10. While not the most impressive temple in Ulsan, there are some definite highlights to this ancient temple like the altar and the guardian etching inside the main hall. In addition, the Nahan-jeon Hall is a must see. Finally, the wood-etchings inside the Samseong-gak are inspiring.

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The long and steep set of stairs that lead up to the temple courtyard.
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The two-storied Cheonwangmun entrance gate.
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Inside of the gate are these murals that depict the Heavenly Kings (Cheonwang).
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On the second floor of the Cheonwangmun is this mural of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
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The main hall as you exit the Cheonwangmun Gate.
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The elaborate altar inside the main hall.
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The stunning guardian wood-etching.
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And one more look back at the main altar.
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To the left of the new main hall is the former main hall. Now, it stands as the Nahan-jeon Hall.
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The altar inside of the Nahan-jeon Hall with a white Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) at the centre.
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To the left and right of the main altar are these highly unique white stone sculptures of the various Nahan (The Disciples of the Historical Buddha).
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The over-grown path that leads up to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.
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The view of the neighbouring valley and the temple buildings.
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The altar inside of the Samseong-gak with Chilseong (The Seven Stars) in the centre and San shin (The Mountain Spirit) to the left and Dokseong (The Recluse) to the right.
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A better look at the wood carving of Dokseong.
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And finally, after a long hot day, it was time to head home.

Video: Miraesa Temple

Hello Again Everyone,

Sorry that it’s been so long since I last posted a video from a Korean Buddhist temple. I didn’t even realize it’s been a month. To make up for it, I’ve decided to post a video from the gorgeous Miraesa Temple in the very scenic city of Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do. With only a handful of buildings at this beautiful temple, the well manicured grounds, the unique interior of the main hall, and the serenity that this temple exudes, makes Miraesa Temple a beautiful temple to visit. Hope you enjoy!

Wonwonsa Temple – 원원사 (Gyeongju)

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A look up at the Wonwonsa Temple Site at the present Wonwonsa Temple in Gyeongju. 

 Hello Again Everyone!!

A sucker for anything historic, and since I was already in the Gyeongju area, I thought I would explore the double temple site of the present Wonwonsa Temple and Wonwonsa Temple Site. Sounds a bit strange, but it’ll become a bit more obvious later on.

You first approach Wonwonsa Temple up a dirt road that forks in several directions. The road is pretty well marked with signs along the way that guide you towards the temple. The first things to greet you at the temple are statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. Passing by these rather large stone stones, you’ll next make your way through the parking lot, and up a set of stairs that lead you to the main hall at the temple. Just before you climb the uneven set of stairs, you’ll see a rotund stone statue of the dharma to the right.

Having finally climbed the set of stairs, you’ll be welcomed by a rather long main hall in the temple courtyard. The name of the main hall is called the “Cheonbulbo-jeon,” which means 1,000 Buddhas Hall in English. The hall itself is fronted by a pair of ferocious stone lions and a bronze incense burner. Also, there’s a tall stone statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left, as well as an equally large stone statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right. The hall itself is adorned with some elegant Shimu-do murals. And rather uniquely, there’s a monkey/human statue sitting on top of a decorative dragon’s head on the left rear corner of the hall’s eaves.

As for the interior of this hall, you’ll be greeted by row-upon-row of gold, white, and bronze statues of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the main altar. As for the triad of statues sitting on the main altar, the triad is centred by Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He’s joined to the left by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) and Rocana-bul to the right. The only other thing inside this hall is a nice guardian mural on the left wall.

To the rear of the main hall, and to the left past a rather unique tree trunk, is the Samseong-gak shrine hall. Housed inside this hall are wood carvings of Chilseong (The Seven Stars), San shin (The Mountain Spirit), and Dokseong (The Recluse). To the immediate left of this hall is the Cheonwang shrine. Housed inside this hall is a solitary painting of what looks to be Wolgwang-bosal (The Moonlight Bodhisattva) and Ilgwang-bosal (The Sunlight Bodhisattva). These two figures in the centre of the painting are surrounded by various guardians and the twelve zodiac generals.

To the right of the main hall sits a simplistic bell pavilion equipped with the Brahma Bell, the Fish Gong, the Cloud Gong, and the Dharma Drum. To the right of the bell pavilion, and past the red peppers that were drying in the sun when I visited, is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The rear side of this hall is decorated with four frightening Judgment murals. As for the interior, there’s a solitary statue of Jijang-bosal sitting all alone on the main altar. He’s backed by a rather unique mural of himself with the Ten Kings of the Underworld. To the right of Jijang-bosal are a triad of statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). Amita-bul is joined by Gwanseeum-bosal and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Amita-bul’s Power and Wisdom). Hanging on the wall to the right of this triad of statues is another guardian mural.

The true highlight, however, to this temple is the former Wonwonsa Temple Site. Up a set of stairs that’s situated between the monks’ dorms and the Myeonbu-jeon Hall is the former temple site. Now, all that remains of the ancient temple site are a pair of pagodas that date back to the 8th century during Silla reign on the Korean peninsula. These seven metre tall statues frame, what looks to be, a stone alms bowl for the future Buddha, Mireuk-bul, much like the one at Tongdosa Temple. The pagoda to the right is adorned with sculptures of the twelve zodiac generals around its base, as well as four guardians around its body. The pagoda to the right is also adorned with stone sculptures of the twelve zodiac generals. The difference between the two is that there are the Four Heavenly Kings wrapped around its base. Strangely, there are a handful of burial tombs around the old Wonwonsa Temple Site.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Ulsan Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch city bus #1402 to the Taehwabangjik bus stop in Gyeongju. The bus ride lasts 34 stops and it’ll take you an hour and five minutes. After being dropped off at the Taehwabangjik stop, you’ll have to walk 3.3 kilometres up a twisting road, that is well-marked in places, to get to Wonwonsa Temple. Other buses you can take to get to the temple are Ulsan city buses #112, 402, 412, 702.

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OVERALL RATING:  6.5/10.  The star attractions to this temple are the twin pagodas that date back to the 8th century on the old Wonwonsa Temple Site. Another highlight at the temple are the thousand statues inside the main hall, as well as the Judgment murals on the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Finally, the very rare Cheonwang shrine is a must see at this temple. There’s a lot to see at this temple, so take your time and explore.

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A look up at the main hall, the Cheonbulbo-jeon, at Wonwonsa Temple.
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One of the Shimu-do murals that surround the main hall at Wonwonsa Temple.
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The bronze incense burner out in front of the main hall.
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A closer look revealed a praying mantis on top of a lion’s head out in front of the main hall.
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The view from the main hall over Jijang-bosal’s (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) shoulder.
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A view across the front of the main hall.
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The main altar inside the main hall. In the centre is Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) with Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) to the left and Rocana-bul to the right.
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The 1,000 golden, white, and bronze Buddha statues that surround the main altar inside the main hall.
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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall behind the main hall. To the right is a rather unique tree trunk.
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A dragon and human/monkey adorning the eaves of the main hall.
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The Dokseong (The Recluse) wood carving inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.
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To the left of the Samseong-gak shrine hall is the Cheonwang shrine hall with this mural inside it. In the centre, it looks to be Wolgwang and Ilgwang surrounded by shaman deities and the 12 zodiac generals.
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The Myeonbu-jeon Hall to the right of the main hall.
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To the rear of the Myeonbu-jeon Hall are four Judgement murals, which includes this one.
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On the main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall sits Jijang-bosal with a unique painting at his back.
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To the right of the main altar sits a triad of statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s flanked by Daesaeji-bosal and Gwanseeum-bosal.
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Up these set of stairs, and to the rear of the modern main hall, you’ll come to the old Wonwonsa Temple Site.
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The view of the new Wonwonsa Temple from the old site.
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One of the ancient pagodas that stands 7 metres in height and is adorned with the Four Heavenly Kings and the twelve zodiac generals.
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The pagoda to the right of the former pagoda. Similar in design, the only difference between the two is that this one is adorned with guardians, instead of the Four Heavenly Kings.
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A closer look at the pagoda with three, of the twelve, zodiac generals at the base with one of the guardians around the body of the pagoda.
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A look around at everything on the Wonwonsa Temple Site.
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One last beautiful look before heading home.