Naewonam Hermitage – 내원암 (Busan)

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The beautiful main hall at Naewonam Hermitage, near Beomeosa Temple, in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone,

The fourth, and final, hermitage we visited on the weekend was Naewonam Hermitage (내원암). It’s the temple that is furthest away from Beomeosa Temple to the temple’s right. It is also one of the smaller hermitages associated with the temple.

Naewonam Hermitage means Buddha’s Celestial Teaching Hall Hermitage. As you first approach the hermitage, you’ll notice a beautiful overgrowth of trees, shrubs, and flowers. To the right, as you first enter the courtyard, is the hermitage kitchen, and to the left is an administration office. As you continue to walk through the courtyard, you’ll see a mound of beautiful flowers.

Continuing along, you’ll first see the beautiful main hall that resides at Naewonam Hermitage to your right. The main hall is surrounded by two separate monk study halls. Down the path, and to the left, are a beautiful sounding stream, and an equally beautiful stone bridge that spans the width of the hermitage stream. The main hall is simple and compact in design. Inside the main hall, on the main altar, is an elaborately designed Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) statue similar to the one at Haeunjeongsa  Temple in the Haeundae area of Busan. Its multiple heads and hands make for a beautiful golden array. To the right of the main altar piece is a simplistic and older-looking Buddha painting. To the left of Gwanseeum-bosal is an extremely unique guardian piece of art. Instead of being painted, this piece of art is a golden sculpture depicting the various guardians, including Dongjin-bosal at its centre. Around the exterior walls of the main hall are neither the standard Palsang-do paintings, nor are there the Ox-Herding Murals. Instead, there is a painting of the Dharma and Dazu Huike, monks working, and paintings of rabbits and birds.

Up the hill, and to the left, is the Samseong-gak shrine hall. Inside, and in the centre, is painting dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). To his right is a painting of Dokseong (The Recluse), and to his left is a painting of San shin (The Mountain Spirit). Surrounding the exterior walls is very little. On the right side there is a fading painting of a fierce guardian. The views from the shrine hall of the valley and the mountains are nice.

Admission to the hermitage is free.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can get to Naewonam Hermitage in one of two ways. In both scenarios you first have to take the Busan subway, line one, to Beomeosa station and take exit #1. Here, you can either walk up the thirty minute hike to  Beomeosa  Temple, or you can walk a block uphill to the bus stop where you can take bus #90 to the nearby entrance of  Beomeosa  Temple. Instead of walking left towards the Iljumun Gate, continue to hang right towards the hermitage. You’ll pass by Beomeosa Temple, which will be to your left. There will be a sign halfway between the temple and the hermitage, which will read 내원암, continue to follow these signs as they lead you right of the main temple. Eventually, you’ll come to a small parking lot. The path will fork like a “W.” Follow the trail that’s in the middle to Naewonam Hermitage. There’s a sign that reads 내원암halfway up the trail that will lead you to the hermitage.

View 내원암 in a larger map

OVERALL RATING: 5/10. Naewonam Hermitage is located in a beautiful area with rolling streams and neighbouring mountains. Also, the hermitage is well kept. The highlight of the hermitage is definitely the main hall with the amazingly beautiful main altar piece of Gwanseeum-bosal. Also, the unique golden guardian sculpture is yet another highlight of the hermitage. Finally, there’s a lazy guard dog that did more sleeping than guarding. He only woke up when one of the people at the temple called to him: O-E, which means cucumber in English. If you’re in the area, visiting the other two hermitages in the area, I would also recommend taking a look at Naewonam Hermitage.

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The entrance way that leads up to Naewonam Hermitage.
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The beautiful pink flowers in the courtyard.
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The hermitage kitchen to the right.
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To the left are these monk study halls.
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In front of the study halls is the compact main hall at Naewonam Hermitage.
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The altar inside the main hall.
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Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) is the solitary statue that sits upon the altar. It’s elaborately designed with multiple arms and heads with eyes and hands of support and comfort. Gwanseeum-bosal sees all and helps all.
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To the right is this older looking Buddha painting. It’s completed in a simple design.
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To the left is this golden guardian sculpture. I’ve never seen this before. Usually, the guardian piece of art is a painting.
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Outside is the famous painting of Dazu Huike proving his devotion to both the faith and the Bodhidharma.
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Up in the eaves, on the left side of the main hall, were these rabbits. A rare painting at any hermitage or temple in Korea.
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A painting of two senior monks, as they watch a novice monk smash a lantern.
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Up the hill is the Samseong-gak shrine hall. Along the way were a couple statues.
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Inside the hall, in the centre, is a painting of Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Dokseong (The Recluse) to his right.
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The view from the shrine hall. To the right is the monk study halls and the main hall is to the left.
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And a view to the left of the entire main hall down below.
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And finally, a walk down the set of stairs that will eventually lead me home.

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