Buinsa Temple – 부인사 (Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The colourful temple courtyard at Buinsa Temple in Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Buinsa Temple was first established in the 7th century, during the reign of Queen Seondeok (r.632-647 A.D.). “Buin,” in English, is an honourific way to refer to a lady. So the temple means, in reference to Queen Seondeok, Lady Temple. As for the history of the temple, it was the former temple that housed the Tripitaka Koreana, which are wooden blocks that contain the Buddhist scriptures. However, this first set was destroyed in 1232 by the invading Mongols. They were later reconstructed between 1236 to 1251, and they are now stored at Haeinsa Temple, near Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do.

You first approach Buinsa Temple up a single narrow road. You’ll first be greeted by a collection of stupas and stele out in front of a forest. This forest is where Buinsa Temple was formally located. If you swing to the right, and up an uneven set of stone stairs, you’ll see a collection of stone pieces that were part of the former temple buildings. You could head left up the road, but then you would miss these former remains, as well as a twin pair of pagodas. The pagoda to the left has been battered by time, while the pagoda to the right has an all new body placed on its ancient base.

In front of these pagodas is the Samgwang-ru. You’ll need to pass underneath this long hall to gain entrance to the temple courtyard. When I visited, the temple was fully adorned with beautiful and colourful paper lanterns hanging all throughout the temple courtyard.

Past this canopy of colour, and you’ll see the large main hall in front of it. Uniquely, the main hall is surrounded by paintings of numerous Nahan. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, are a set of statues centred by Seokagomoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s then joined by two more smaller sized Buddha statues; which, in turn, are book-ended by a pair of statues of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom), as well as Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the left of the main altar is a shrine for the dead, while hanging on the right wall is a rather plain guardian mural.

To the immediate right of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon. In front of this hall is a rather unique stone lantern. Instead of housing a chamber for a single candle, it has a twin chamber for two candles side-by-side. As for the Myeongbu-jeon Hall itself, and sitting on the main altar, is a bronze coloured Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). He’s joined on either side of the altar by attendants. And the entire main altar is surrounded by ten uniquely sculpted statues of the Ten Kings of the Underworld. Rather rarely, the Myeongbu-jeon Hall’s exterior is surrounded by the Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals.

In between the main hall and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, and to the rear, is the solitary Sanshin-gak. This newer hall is joined by beautiful flowers that were fully in bloom when I visited. The exterior has a cool looking tiger adorning the right side of the wall. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, is a beautiful Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural. The golden Sanshin is joined by seven tigers (six of which are babies). Additionally, Sanshin and the tigers are placed under a sun and a moon.

To the left of the main altar, but behind the monks’ quarters, is a hall that houses Chilseong (The Seven Stars) on the main altar. Chilseong is joined by Dokseong (The Recluse), who takes up residence on the far left wall. Both are then joined by very unique paintings and statues of the 16 Nahan (The Disciples of the Historical Buddha).

The only other building at Buinsa Temple is a shrine hall dedicated to Queen Seondeok, the namesake of the temple. Unfortunately, this building was off-limits, as it was locked. However, you can see the beautiful murals that surround the hall of Queen Seondeok. This hall is to the far left as you first approach the temple courtyard.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Dong Daegu Intercity Bus Terminal, you should take bus #101-1 (heading to Pagyesa Temple). When you arrive at Pagyesa Temple, after 27 stops, you’ll then have to catch bus #Palgong 3. In total, you’ll only have to take this bus for 2 stops. You’ll be dropped off across from Buinsa Temple. After being dropped off, you’ll have to walk about 5 to 10 minutes, or 439 metres, to Buinsa Temple.


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OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. Buinsa Temple is filled with a few nice surprises like the hall dedicated to Queen Seondeok. And if you’re lucky enough to visit Buinsa Temple during Buddha’s birthday, you’ll see the beautiful paper lanterns overhead in the temple courtyard. Additionally, the beautiful shaman hall, as well as the unique Sanshin painting make for yet another beautiful temple to visit on Mt. Palgongsan in Daegu.

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The stupas and stele that sit out in front of the temple.

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What remains of the old temple masonry.

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The beautiful stone lantern and pagoda that rest just out in front of the temple courtyard.

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Underneath the Samgwang-ru Hall, and you’ll gain admittance to Buinsa Temple.

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Again, some more of the colourful paper lanterns that decorate the temple courtyard.

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A look at the beautiful temple courtyard with the main hall to the right.

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The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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To the right of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.

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Inside, and resting on the main altar, is the bronze coloured Jijang-bosal.

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The beautiful view from the Myeongbu-jeon to the Daeung-jeon.

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Behind both buildings, and to the right, is the Sanshin-gak.

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Housed inside this shaman hall is this elaborate painting of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and seven tigers.

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The beautiful view of the Sanshin-gak and the well manicured grounds at Buinsa Temple.

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The shaman hall to the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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Sitting on the main altar is Chilseong (The Seven Stars).

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The beautiful view from the shaman hall.

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To the far left is a shrine hall dedicated to Queen Seondeok.

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 The hall that’s dedicated to Queen Seondeok. If you look close enough, you can see murals that portray her.

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