The golden Amita-bul laying on a main altar at Jangansa Temple in Busan.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Again, being out in the Gijang area of Busan, I decided to visit Jangansa Temple, a temple I had long wanted to visit ever since 2003, with my in-laws. Fortunately, during my winter vacation, I was able to visit Jangansa Temple.
Jangansa Temple dates back to as early as the reign of King Munmu in 673. Jangansa Temple was founded by the legendary monk, Wonhyo-daesa. Originally, the temple was called Ssangyesa Temple, but it was later changed by King Chungjang sometime around 1350. In 1592, much like the rest of Korea, Jangansa Temple was burned to the ground by the invading Japanese. It was later rebuilt in 1638 by the great priest Tae Ur. It was later restored in 1654, and recoloured in 1975.
As you approach the large-sized parking lot, and cross a wooden bridge, you’ll stand in front of a beautiful two-storied front gate that also acts as a bell pavilion on the second level. To the left of the entrance gate is a stoic statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Uniquely, as you pass through the entrance gate at the temple, you’ll notice that the Four Heavenly Kings that protect the temple aren’t statues, nor are they even paintings; but instead, there are four bronze plaques of the Cheonwang.
Having passed through the Cheonwangmun Gate, you’ll enter into the large temple courtyard. To your immediate right is a gorgeous golden statue of what looks to be Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) in a small shrine. And to your immediate right is a fat dharma statue sitting above a stone pond of water. Straight ahead is the squarely shaped main hall. The exterior of this main hall is distinctively adorned with 15 Shim-u-do paintings. This is distinct because the Shim-u-do, Ox-Herding murals, usually only consist of ten. There are also some very beautiful murals of children monk playing much like at Samyeongam Hermitage. The interior of the main hall is gorgeously decorated with some older looking murals. Sitting on the main altar is the triad of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) in the centre, he’s flanked by Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of Medicine) on the right and Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) on the left. On the far right wall, as you enter the main hall, you’ll notice two beautiful murals. The one on the left is a painting of Chilseong (The Seven Stars) and the one on the right is the guardian painting. On the far left wall is a gorgeously painted, perhaps one of the best in all of Korea, of Yongwang (The Dragon King). Next to this painting is a highly original painting of Jijang-bosal holding a baby in his arms. This is definitely a first for me.
Outside, to the right of the main hall, is the San shin-gak shrine hall dedicated to San shin (The Mountain Spirit). Inside this hall is an older looking wood carving dedicated to San shin. The exterior of this hall is decorated with some interestingly designed, and disproportionately painted, Biseon. And still to the right of the main hall, and in front of the San shin-gak, is a compactly designed Nahan-jeon shrine hall dedicated to the disciples of Seokgamoni-bul. The exterior of this hall is decorated with the standard paintings of the Nahan in various poses; however, the inside of the hall is rather interesting, especially the main altar. Sitting on the main altar are three white statues of three various Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Sitting in the centre is Seokgamoni-bul (which represents the present). Sitting to his right is Mireuk-bosal (The Future Buddha), and on the left is Jaehwagalra-bosal (The Past Buddha). Flanking this triad on either side of the three are the sixteen Nahan.
To the left of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon shrine hall dedicated to Jijang-bosal and the dead. This hall, much like the San shin-gak, is adorned with some uniquely disproportionate Biseon. However, inside, the hall is gorgeous designed. Sitting on the main hall is a white clad Jijang-bosal. Flanking Jijang-bosal on either side are the Ten Kings of the Underworld. They are all seated and accompanied by some assistants.
Behind this hall, and perhaps one of Jangansa Temple’s most beautiful halls, is a hall dedicated to Amita-bul and the Western Paradise that he represents. Inside, the hall is a golden hue with a statue of Amita-bul lying down on the main altar. He’s flanked by two regal looking Bodhisattvas. Behind you, as you face the altar, are large paintings of the Nahan.
HOW TO GET THERE: The least complicated way to get to this temple is to take a city bus. This temple is rather difficult to get to by public transportation, but if you take City Bus #181 at Centum City Subway Station, Haeundae Subway Station, or Bexco, you’ll be able to catch a connecting bus to Jangansa Temple. From City Bus #181, get off at Gijang Sijang Station. From here, board the Town Bus #9 called the Maeul Bus. From this bus you’ll be able to arrive at the beautiful Jangansa Temple.
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OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. I was actually quite surprised at how good this temple was. I wasn’t expecting much, and was pleased that this temple had a lot to offer. The bronze Cheonwang, as well as the golden Gwanseeum-bosal are definitely a highlight to Jangansa Temple. A couple other highlights are the Yongwang portrait as well as the lying Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). If you’re in the area, and looking for a temple to see in Gijang, Jangansa Temple is definitely one to experience.