Myogwaneumsa Temple – 묘관음사 (Gijang, Busan)

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The view from the upper courtyard at Myogwaneumsa Temple in Gijang, Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Located just east of Mt. Daleumsan and hugging the coastline is the well-kept grounds associated with Myogwaneumsa Temple in Gijang, Busan. Off of a bit of a hidden entrance, and along a dirt road, you’ll finally come to the temple parking lot at Myogwaneumsa Temple.

You’ll first be welcomed to the temple by the visitors’ centre. It’s up the set of stone stairs that you’ll pass through the entry gate at Myogwaneumsa Temple. Beautifully adorning the gate are a pair of intimidating guardians. Up on the adjoining walls to the gate are a pair of paintings dedicated to Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power), who rides a white elephant; he’s joined by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom), who rides a blue tiger.

Perfectly framed by the entry gate, and as you step inside the main temple courtyard, you’ll see the nine story stone pagoda at Myogwaneumsa Temple. Slender in size, painted images of various guardians adorn the base of the pagoda instead of being carved into the stone as reliefs, which is far more customary.

Past the pagoda and the book-ending dorms, you’ll find the temple’s main hall. Out in front of the main hall are a line of palm trees. Adorning the exterior walls to the main hall are masterful paintings of the Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon main hall, you’ll notice a triad of statues and a pair of paintings on the main altar. Sitting in the centre of the triad of statues is Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal and Bohyun-bosal. The red painting to the right of the triad of statues is dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And the other red painting to the left is dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). The final mural hanging in the main hall is the descriptive guardian mural. The ceiling to the main hall, especially near the front altar, is adorned with various Buddhist-motif paintings.

To the right rear of the main hall stands the Josa-jeon Hall. This hall, with a floral exterior, is dedicated to prominent monks that once called Myogwaneumsa Temple home. In total, there are five murals hanging on the main altar inside this hall. The central painting with three monks are of Majo Doil, Namcheon Bowon, and Baekjang Huihae.

To the far rear of the temple grounds, and situated on the upper courtyard, are a pair of shrine halls. The first, which has a beautiful view of the neighbouring sea, is the Gwaneeum-jeon Hall. Fronted by a slim five tier stone pagoda is the newly built shrine hall, which houses two incarnations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The first is a diminutive golden statue of Gwanseeum-bosal. This seated image is joined by an elaborate wooden carving of the female Bodhisattva.

The final shrine hall at Myogwaneumsa Temple is situated to the left of the Gwaneum-jeon. The Samseong-gak at the temple is larger is size and houses three beautiful murals of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong, and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint).

HOW TO GET THERE: From Jangsan subway station, stop #201,  you’ll need to walk about 4 minutes, or 230 metres, to get to the Jangsan post office bus stop. From there, take Bus #180. After 42 stops, or 55 minutes, get off at the Myogwaneumsa Temple entrance stop. From there, walk for 4 minutes, or 233 metres, to get to the temple.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. The grounds at Myogwaneumsa Temple are immaculately kept. It’s also beautifully situated by the sea. As for the temple itself, it has an amazing wooden image of Gwanseeum-bosal, as well as newer paintings of the three shaman deities that are masterful in their execution.

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A look through the front entry gate at Myogwaneumsa Temple.

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The painting of Munsu-bosal that adorns the front entry gate.

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As well as one of the guardians painted on the front entry gate.

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The main temple courtyard at the temple.

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Some of the paintings, uniquely, that adorns the base of the nine story pagoda.

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The tropical main hall at Myogwaneumsa Temple.

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One of the paintings from the Ox-Herding mural set.

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Inside the Daeung-jeon main hall.

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The main hall guardian mural.

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The Josa-jeon Hall to the right of the main hall at Myogwaneumsa Temple.

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A look inside the Josa-jeon Hall.

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To the rear of the temple, and located on the upper courtyard, is this newly built Gwaneum-jeon Hall.

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The main altar inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.

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A closer look at the amazing wooden carving of Gwanseeum-bosal.

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The view down on the temple’s grounds from the upper courtyard.

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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The painting of Sanshin housed inside the Samseong-gak.

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As well as Dokseong.

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A look at the temple courtyard from the Daeung-jeon main hall.

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