Anjeongsa Temple – 안정사 (Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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The beautifully framed Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Anjeongsa Temple in Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Anjeongsa Temple is located on Mt. Byeokbangsan in northern Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do. Anjeongsa Temple was first constructed in 654 A.D. by the famed monk, Wonhyo-daesa. The temple has undergone numerous renovations and rebuilds; the last of which was completed in 1751.

You first approach Anjeongsa Temple up a trail that leads you towards the surrounding mountains. The first structure at the temple to greet you is the two pillared Iljumun Gate that is elaborately painted.

A little further along, and next to the neighbouring stream that leads up to the temple grounds, and you’ll find the beautiful Manse-ru Pavilion that dates back to 1686. While subsequently destroyed, the pavilion was later rebuilt in 1841 in the typical late-Joseon style of Gyeongsangnam-do. During its rebuild, the size of the pavilion was downsized from its much larger former self. To the right of the set of stairs that lead up into the temple courtyard is the towering bell pavilion. The first story houses the temple’s bell that dates back to 1580, while the second story houses the rest of the temple’s percussion instruments.

Mounting the stairs and standing in the grassy temple courtyard, you’ll notice the Daeung-jeon main hall straight ahead. The main hall is externally decorated with murals that have all but faded and are now unidentifiable. Housed inside the Daeung-jeon, and sitting on the main altar, are a triad of statues that date back to 1358. Sitting in the centre is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the left of the main altar is the uniquely painted Yongwang (The Dragon King) mural, as well as the temple’s guardian mural. To the right of the main altar hangs an elaborate Gamno-do mural for the dead, as well as an all-white Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) statue. Be careful while inside this hall, because the ancient floor boards are completely uneven inside with several centimetres sometimes separating one wooden board from another.

To the left of the main hall is the Nahan-jeon. This natural wood exterior is housed with a triad of all-white statues on the main altar. Sitting in the centre is a simple Seokgamoni-bul statue. He’s joined by two lines on either side of the main altar of the sixteen Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). And to the left of the Nahan-jeon is a monks’ dormitory. Out in front of this dorm are large pictures of former president Park Chung Hee and his wife, Yuk Young Soo.

To the right of the main hall, besides the monks facilities, are two more shrine halls that visitors can explore at Anjeongsa Temple. The first of the two is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Inside this hall are a set of four paintings. The first to the far left is the older, and uniquely designed, earring wearing Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). He’s joined to the right by a rather plain Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural, as well as a rather ordinary Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) mural. Also housed inside the Samseong-gak is what looks to be a monk painting on the far right wall.

The final shrine hall a visitor can explore is the Myeongbu-jeon shrine hall dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). The interior of the hall is lined with the Ten Kings of the Underworld, as well as a large black-haired statue of Jijang-bosal resting all alone on the main altar. There are numerous haunting pictures of the dead inside this hall, so please be on your best behaviour.

HOW TO GET THERE: From in front of the Tongyeong Intercity Bus Terminal, there is a bus stop. It’s from this bus stop that you’ll need to board Bus #661 bound for Anjeongsa Temple. After 20 stops, or 40 minutes, you’ll need to get off at the Anjeongsa Temple bus stop. From there, follow the signs towards the temple for about 400 metres.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. While not a temple that will overwhelm you with just one thing, Anjeongsa Temple has several unique features to offer a temple adventurer. One such feature is the set of pictures dedicated to Park Chung Hee and his wife, as well as the 14th century main altar statues inside the Daeung-jeon. Adding to the temple’s overall appeal are the uneven set of ancient floor boards, the hard to find Gamno-do mural, as well as the earring wearing Sanshin mural inside the Samseong-gak. Adding them all up, and you can make a pretty nice day of it in Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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The two pillared Iljumun Gate at Anjeongsa Temple.

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The Manse-ru Pavilion at the temple.

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The two storied bell pavilion at Anjeongsa Temple.

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The monks’ dorms and Nahan-jeon Hall.

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The two pictures out in front of the monks’ dorms. The one to the left is of former president Park Chung Hee and the other is of his wife.

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The main altar inside the Nahan-jeon.

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The Daeung-jeon main hall at Anjeongsa Temple.

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The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon. The statues date back to 1358.

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The beautiful canopy over top of the main altar’s triad of statues.

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The Gamno-do painting to the right of the main altar.

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And to the left rests the temple’s guardian mural.

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The Yongwang mural that hangs inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall to the left with the Myeongbu-jeon Hall to the right.

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The uniquely designed Sanshin mural inside the Samseong-gak.

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The monk mural of five inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall, as well.

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A look around the Myeongbu-jeon Hall with the golden Jijang-bosal to the right.

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One of the Ten Kings of the Underworld inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.

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The view from the Myeongbu-jeon Hall out onto the Mt. Byeokbangsan.

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