The unique entry to Geumryongsa Temple in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Ever since visiting the neighbouring Seongdeokam Hermitage in the winter of 2015, and passing Geumryongsa Temple by, I thought I would revisit this temple as well as the eastern portion of Mt. Muhaksan in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do.
You first approach Geumryongsa Temple down some narrow side streets, until you eventually stumble upon the outskirts of the temple grounds and the welcoming Iljumun Gate. Besides the two pillar entry gate, and a steep incline to crest before entering the main temple grounds, you’ll also notice a golden three tier pagoda standing on the heights of the temple grounds to the left of the Iljumun Gate.
Walking up the paved incline, you’ll finally have a better idea of what Geumryongsa Temple has to offer a visitor. To your immediate right and left are the temple’s visitors’ centre and monks’ dorms. It’s also to your right that you’ll be welcomed to the temple by a jovial, golden statue of Podae-hwasang.
Straight ahead, on the other hand, is the Daeung-jeon main hall at Geumryongsa Temple. The exterior is painted with various Biseon either offering up fruit or playing a musical instruction. Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll be able to see a main altar centred by a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) and joined by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) on either side.
To the left rear of the main hall is a small overgrown pond with an even smaller granite bridge spanning its depths. It’s to the left of the main hall, and up a steep set of stairs, that you’ll next come to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Housed inside this hall are three newer, well executed, shaman paintings dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).
The final shrine hall to be visited at Geumryongsa Temple lies up another set of stairs; this time, to the rear of the Samseong-gak. Rather strangely, this diminutive shrine hall is a Gwaneum-jeon Hall dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion), which is made apparent by the solitary golden statue of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Masan Intercity Bus Terminal, you can take Bus #101, or City Bus #122 at the Daeshin Bookstore, which is just outside the terminal. You’ll need to take either bus for ten stops and get off at the Burim Market stop. You’ll need to walk towards the hill for ten minutes from the stop to get to Geumryongsa Temple.
OVERALL RATING: 3/10. While certainly not as impressive as the neighbouring Seongdeokam Hermitage, Geumryongsa Temple has a few highlights of its own like the small pond and the shaman paintings inside the Samseong-gak, as well as the very entry to the temple. In combination with Seongdeokam Hermitage, or along the way, Geumryongsa Temple can make for nice little add-on to your temple adventure in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do.
The cityscape from the entry of Geumryongsa Temple.
The steep incline towards the main temple grounds at Geumryongsa Temple.
The statue of Podae-hwasang that greets you at the temple.
Part of the grounds at Geumryongsa Temple.
The Daeung-jeon Hall.
Some of the decorative Biseon that adorn the exterior walls to the Daeung-jeon Hall.
A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall at the main altar and Seokgamoni-bul.
The pond to the left of the main hall.
The view as you near the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall with the city of Masan all around you.
The previous pond down below as you continue to climb the stairs.
A look up towards the Samseong-gak.
The painting of Sanshin that adorns one of the exterior walls to the Samseong-gak.
The Chilseong mural inside the shaman shrine hall.
As well as a mural of Dokseong inside the Samseong-gak.
A look over top of the Samseong-gak.
From the rather strangely placed Gwaneum-jeon Hall.
And inside the Gwaneum-jeon is this solitary statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.