Colonial Korea: Geumsansa Temple – 금산사 (Gimje, Jeollabuk-do)

Page70b - Gyedan

The Bangdeung-gyedan shrine in 1916 at Geumsansa Temple in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

The famed Geumsansa Temple is located on the western slopes of Moaksan Provincial Park in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do. Geumsansa Temple, which means Golden Mountain Temple, in English, was first established in either 599 or 600 A.D. Unlike its prominence today, Geumsansa Temple was not an important temple at the time of its construction. But then, from 722 to 766 A.D., Geumsansa Temple was rebuilt and expanded by master monk, Jinpyo.

Geumsansa Temple has a long history associated with Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). And this association comes from a vision Jinpyo had of Mireuk-bul. In a dream, Jinpyo received a book on divination, as well as 189 divination sticks directly from Mireuk-bul. From this dream, a statue was made of Mireuk-bul and placed inside the main hall. As a result of these actions, Geumsansa Temple becamse known as a headquarters for practicing the worship of Mireuk-bul during the Unified Silla Period (668-935 A.D.).

During the destructive Imjin War in 1592, Geumsansa Temple acted as a training centre for Buddhist monks in the defence of the Korean peninsula. As a result of these efforts, Geumsansa Temple, and its neighbouring hermitages, was completely destroyed by the invading Japanese. Then, in 1635, over forty years later, Geumsansa Temple was rebuilt. And from its rebuild in the 17th century, Geumsansa Temple has grown in both size and importance within the Korean Buddhist community.

In total, Geumsansa Temple houses one national treasure, the Mireuk-jeon Hall, which is National Treasure #62. It also houses nine additional Treasures.

Geumsansa1 - geumgangmun

The Geumgangmun Gate in 1933

Geumsansa2 - geumgangmun

A closer look at the Geumgangmun Gate.

Geumsansa - 1933 - Daejeokgeangjeon

The Daejeokgwang-jeon main hall in 1933 at Geumsansa Temple.

Geumsansa3 - Daejeokgwangmun

A closer look at the main hall.

Page47a - 1917 - Yukgakda cheung

 The hexagonal black stoned pagoda that just so happens to be Treasure #27. This picture was taken in 1916.

Geumsansa7 - Daejangjeon

The Daejang-jeon Hall that houses an amazing Mireuk-bul statue in 1933.

Geumsansa6 - Daejangjeon

A closer look at the Daejang-jeon.

Geumsansa8 - Daejangjeon

The intricate main altar inside the Daejang-jeon Hall.

Geumsansa4 - Mireukjeon

The towering Mireuk-jeon Hall in 1933. It also just so happens to be National Treasure #62.

Geumsansa5 - Mireukjeon

A better look at the Mireuk-jeon Hall.

Page70a Gyedan

The Bangdeung-gyedan shrine in 1916.

Geumsansa - 1916a - 5 story pagoda

The five tier pagoda in front of the shrine from 1916.

Geumsansa - 1916 - 5 story pagoda

And another angle for the five tier pagoda.

Page71a - Buddhas remains

The stone sculpture in the centre of the Bangdeung-gyedan shrine. Inside are housed the Buddha’s partial remains.

Page72b - Gyedan guardian

One of the stone guardians around the gyedan in 1916.

Geumsansa9 - biseok

And one of the biseok at Geumsansa Temple in 1916.


The main temple courtyard at Geumsansa Temple in 2014. The main hall is to the right with the Myeongbu-jeon Hall and the Daejang-jeon Hall to the left.


A closer look at the Daejang-jeon Hall with the Myeongbu-jeon Hall in the background from 2014.


The Bangdeung-gyedan shrine and Mireuk-jeon Hall in 2014.


 The hexagonal black stoned pagoda and Bangdeung-gyedan shrine in 2014.


A closer look at the pagoda in front of the Bangdeung-gyedan shrine in 2014.

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