The beautiful view of the East Sea from Bohyunsa Temple.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Just a kilometre down the road from Munsuam Hermitage, with perhaps an even more impressive view of the East Sea, is Bohyunsa Temple in Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do. Up an equally side-winding road that leads to the south lies the crowning Bohyunsa Temple. This temple is named after the Bodhisattva of Power, Bohyun-bosal.
From the large parking lot, you’ll approach the Iljumun Gate that greets you at the temple. Past this gate is the solitary hall that resides at the temple. And hovering over this three story modern looking main hall is a golden statue of Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha).
Up a long gravel path, you’ll come to the main doors at the temple’s main hall. On the first floor, and inside the first floor’s main hall, is a solitary picture of a famous monk that resided at the temple. This picture is bookmarked by a pair of statues, both medium and small in size, of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). Before you enter this hall, however, there are a pair of paintings framing the entrance to this hall of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal.
To the left or right of this first floor hall are a set of stairs. Up the right set of stairs are a pair of paintings. The first is of Dazu Huike and the Bodhidharma, while the second illustrates Wohyo-daesa and Uisang-daesa. The left set of stairs simply illustrates the Dharma all by himself. And after ascending either set of stairs, you’ll come to the second floor hall. Inside this hall, at least when I was visiting this temple, was a nun doing the morning chant. Sitting on the main altar inside this hall is the centrally located Yaksayore-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by the familiar pairing of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left. The entire altar is backed by a beautiful Buddhist mural, and to the left of the main altar is a shrine for the dead.
And to the left and the right of this second floor hall are two more sets of stairs that lead up to the third, and final, floor that houses the massive Yaksayore-bul statue. Through the right side set of stairs, you’ll first run into an atypical painting of a Shinseon (A Daoist Immortal), as well as a vibrant painting of Jijang-bosal. To the left, you’ll encounter first an angelic Biseon painting and then another vibrant painting, this time, of the Dharma playing with children, as well as Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva that Protects the Buddha’s Teachings).
Finally, when you do get to the third floor, you’re first greeted by some very beautiful Nahan and Palsang-do murals that surround the circular third floor. In addition to these paintings, you’ll also notice, that unlike the other two floors, this one is open. And surrounding the walls, on the outer walls, are numerous miniature ornamental bronze bells. Approaching from the right side of the statue, you’ll notice just how large the Yaksayore-bul statue truly is. Fronting this massive Buddha with a Manja and the East Sea at his back, is a smaller sized statue of himself, as well as a pair of bronze incense burners. There is, in opposition to the open idea of the third floor, an enclosed area where you can pray in relative warmth during the winter months.
Outside of this enclosed area, there are a pair of doors that lead to an outlining observation area that you can have the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Munsuam Hermitage off in the distance, the silky black waters of the East Sea, as well as the tiny islands that dot the horizon. Surrounding the walls of this observation area are the Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. Take your time and enjoy the sites and sights, because they really are second-to-none in all of Korea.
HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Goseong from Busan, which is where Bohyunsa Temple is located, you’ll first have to get to the Dongbu Intercity Bus Terminal. You can easily get to this terminal from the Busan station system, if you get off at the Nopo-dong subway stop, #134, on the first line. The earliest bus leaves at 7:45 a.m., and the ride takes you two hours and twenty minutes. The bus ride will cost you 10,100 won. After arriving in Goseong, you’ll then have to take a taxi to get to Bohyunsa Temple. You’ll have to do this because there’s absolutely no bus that goes to the temple from Goseong. In total, the taxi should cost about 12,000 won, and the ride should last about twenty five minutes.
OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. While the sights of the sites are equal, if not a little better than the ones that can be viewed from the neighbouring Munsuam Hermitage, the temple structure itself at Bohyunsa Temple isn’t even close to its sister hermitage. And that’s why this temple rates a little bit lower than Munsuam Hermitage. With that being said, this temple is a must see if you’re in the area, and even if you’re not. And in combination with the kilometre away Munsuam Hermitage, well…you get the picture.