Inside the Upper Chamber of the Yaksa-jeon Hall at Yeoyeojeongsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Yeoyeojeongsa Temple is located on the southern side of Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do and not far from the neighbouring city of Yangsan near Mt. Cheontaesan.
You first approach the temple up a set of rural roads and past a collection of tombs. When you do finally near the temple grounds, you’ll be welcomed by a collection of stone lamps and four towering statues dedicated to the Four Heavenly Kings that line the road that leads up to the temple.
Underneath a gnarled tree is a golden statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by the Bodhidharma to the left, as well as part of the collection of 108 stone dongja (attendants) that playfully appear at both of the larger statues’ feet.
A little further along, and where the path forks to the left, you’ll notice a twisting dharma underneath a grove of bamboo trees. It’s just past this, as well as a few more playful dongja statues, that you’ll notice the temple’s main hall: the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. The Daeungbo-jeon Hall sits on the second floor of the two story building. There are seven statues spread across the main altar. Seated in the centre is Seokgamoni-bul. The murals that back these seven statues are highly unique and original. The first floor of the main hall acts as the Geukrak-jeon Hall. Sitting all alone on the elevated main altar rests an Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) statue. And in front of the main altar there are numerous wooden alcoves that jet off to the side that are well lit with a golden hue that emanates from tiny Buddha statues.
To the left of the Daeungbo-jeon are even more stone statues of the dongja. In addition, there are a triad of roughly cut stone statues with Seokgamoni-bul in the centre. There is also some hot water for tea underneath a wooden pavilion for visitors to enjoy at Yeoyeojeongsa Temple.
But the main highlight, and the real reason you’ve probably come to Yeoyeojeongsa Temple, is the Yaksa-jeon cave hall at the temple. The entry to this cave lies to the left of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. As you step inside this cave entrance, you’re instantly greeted by a number of statues. Hanging a right, you’ll be welcomed to the lower chamber by a triad of standing statues centred by Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha). A little further along, and past even more white granite statues, you’ll notice a seated statue dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Finally, at the end of the stone hall, you’ll be welcomed by a cul-de-sac of smaller sized Buddha statues with another large statue dedicated to Yaksayore-bul in the centre.
Having exited this hallway, and making your way up the first corridor and past a collection of brown Nahan statues, you’ll enter the upper Yaksa-jeon chamber. The wooden paneled ceiling is met by the beautiful splendor of the small wading pools of water and the Koi fish that swim in their midst. In the centre of the rows of smaller sized Buddhas is another serenely seated statue of Yaksayore-bul. He’s joined on either side by water-pouring statues of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion), as well as a line of bronze statues of the 33 incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal.
Over a stone bridge to the right of the central statues is a small ante-chamber that houses a stone statue of Yongwang (The Dragon King), who is backed by a beautiful wooden relief of the shaman deity. And it’s only with good eyes, as you step into this ante-chamber, that you’ll find a small rock opening for the Sanshin-gak. Inside this shaman off-shoot is a statue and mural dedicated to both Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) and Sanshin.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Busan Train Station, you’ll need to take a Mugunghwa train to the Samrangjin Train Station. From there, take a taxi to Yeoyeojeongsa Temple. The trip should take 8.4 kilometres and cost you 11,000 won.
OVERALL RATING: 8/10. There’s very little doubt that the Yaksa-jeon Hall is the main star of this out-of-the-way temple. And yet, pictures simply don’t suffice for the hall’s spectacular beauty. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it before in all of my travels in Korea. So while it might be hard to get to, it’s well worth the time and effort just to find yourself exploring the Yaksa-jeon cave hall at Yeoyeojeongsa Temple.
The Buddha and the Bodhidharma, together.
One of the 108 dongja at Yeoyeojeongsa Temple.
Another Dharma underneath a bamboo grove.
The Daeungbo-jeon Hall and a triad of statues.
A rather cool dongja.
The main altar inside the Geukrak-jeon.
The main altar inside the Daeungbo-jeon.
The entrance to the amazing Yaksa-jeon cave shrine hall.
The main altar in the lower chamber.
A corridor through the lower chamber.
Wall-to-wall Buddhas with a statue of Sanshin in the centre.
Another healing image of Yaksayore-bul.
Pictures simply don’t suffice!
One of the Nahan that lines the way towards the upper chamber of the Yaksa-jeon Hall.
Gwanseeum-bosal on a turtle mount surrounded by statues on all sides.
Another Gwanseeum-bosal statue surrounded by more wall-to-wall statues and stone.
Koi swimming in the shallow pools of water.
Five of the thirty-three incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal.
One more image of Gwanseeum-bosal next to the entry of the Yongwang-dang.
Yongwang both in wooden relief and stone.
The entry to the Sanshin-gak.
A devotee praying in front of Gwanseeum-bosal.