Dubangsa Temple – 두방사 (Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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The main hall and multi-tiered pagoda at Dubangsa Temple in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Dubangsa Temple is located east of Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do, and it lies just south of the Janggun-daesan peak on Mt. Wolasan. In fact, it lies just over the ridge line where the more famous Cheonggoksa Temple is located. Just under 250 metres in elevation, Dubangsa Temple has a beautiful view of the valley down below, and it seems to operate as a bit of a stop along the trail for mountain hikers.

You first approach Dubangsa Temple up a steep mountain road that eventually lands you just right of the main temple courtyard and next to the monks’ dorms. There are only a handful of shrine halls at Dubangsa Temple to enjoy, but it’s the imposing main hall that you’ll notice first.

The exterior walls to the main hall are adorned with a pair of mural sets. The first is the Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals; while the other is the Palsang-do murals. Both sets are fading a bit in the sunlight. As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, is a triad of ornate statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined by two regally crowned statues of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power for Amita-bul). To the right of the main altar hangs an elaborate guardian mural.

Out in front of the main hall are two completely opposite pagodas. The one to the right is the traditional Silla-designed three tier stone pagoda. But it’s the one to the left, the multi-story stone pagoda of Dubangsa Temple, that’s the more special of the two. The bluish hued multi-tiered pagoda dates back to the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. to 935 A.D.). Originally housed at the neighbouring Beopnyunsa Temple, it was moved in 1940 to Dubangsa Temple. It was only moved after there was nothing left of Beopnyunsa Temple after the Imjin War (1592-98) and the pagoda stood alone for hundreds of years.

The main hall and pagodas are joined in the main courtyard by the Myeongbu-jeon shrine hall. Inside is a golden capped Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), who is surrounded by hundreds of miniature incarnations of himself. Interestingly, on the northern portion of the shrine hall is a beautiful mural of Dubangsa Temple. Also appearing in the main courtyard is the temple’s bell pavilion and beautiful bronze bell.

Up the embankment, and to the left rear of the main hall, is the Samseong-gak at Dubangsa Temple. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with shamanic figures, and the interior houses four additional shamanic murals. The first mural to your immediate left when you enter the Samseong-gak is a Yongwang (The Dragon King) mural. It’s joined to the right by a unique mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). This mural is then joined by a rather typical Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural. Rounding out the collection of four is a mural, in a similar style to the Sanshin painting, of Dokseong (The Lonely Saint).

HOW TO GET THERE: Since there is no bus that directly goes to Dubangsa Temple, the only way to get to the temple is by taxi. From the Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch a taxi to Dubangsa Temple. The ride should last about 30 minutes and costs about 13,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10. While a lot smaller in size than the much more famous Cheonggoksa Temple, Dubangsa Temple has some things to offer the temple adventurer. The obvious highlight to the temple is the multi-tiered blue pagoda; but of note, and some things to keep an eye out for, are the temple bell and the shamanic murals hanging inside the Samseong-gak.

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The view as you first enter the temple courtyard.

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The view from the bell pavilion at Dubangsa Temple.

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A closer look of the bell at Dubangsa Temple.

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The main hall at Dubangsa Temple.

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The main altar inside the main hall.

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The elaborate guardian mural inside the main hall.

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Both the blue pagoda and main hall at Dubangsa Temple.

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The Myeongbu-jeon hall.

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The golden capped Jijang-bosal inside the Myeongbu-jeon.

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The temple mural that adorns the Myeongbu-jeon hall.

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The radiant view from the Myeongbu-jeon.

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall at Dubangsa Temple.

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One of the murals that adorns the Samseong-gak.

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And yet another more peculiar one.

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The uniquely painted Sanshin mural inside the Samseong-gak. Have a look at that tiger’s eyes!

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And the Dokseong mural.

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The view from the Samseong-gak.

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