Borimsa Temple – 보림사 (Busan, Gijang)

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An amazing angle inside of the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas at BorimsaTemple in Gijang, Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

I had driven by this well hidden temple one time before, but it wasn’t until we were returning from Gijang, Busan that I found Borimsa Temple again. Not wanting to let a good opportunity pass me by again, we decided to visit the temple.

When you first make your way up to Borimsa Temple (보림사), you’re greeted by a stately Iljumun Gate. This gate is uniquely decorated with various painted patterns. A little further up the set of stone stairs, and under a canopy of multi-coloured paper lanterns, and you’ll see the main hall at the temple. Around the exterior of the main hall are some rather plain, bordering on the childish, Shimu-do (Ox-Herding) murals; however, the interior of the main hall more than makes up for its exterior. Sitting on the main altar are a triad of golden statues and golden reliefs. Sitting in the centre is Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He’s flanked by a black haired Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left, and a regal looking Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right. An equally impressive golden relief is to the right of the main altar. This amazing relief is an interpretation of the guardian mural. The interior of the main hall is extremely impressive to say the least. As for what surrounds the exterior of the main hall, there’s a well weathered, completely natural, bell pavilion. And to the right are some beautiful bouquets of various flowers.

Further up the trail, and on the second terrace, are a couple more shrine halls. The first shrine hall to greet you is the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas. These 1,000 Buddhas are fronted by a triad of statues. And in the centre of this triad is none other than Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). All throughout the interior of this all are some rather impressive Biseon paintings. Have a look up at the ceiling to gain a really good view of some of the more impressive Biseon paintings in Korea. As for the exterior of this hall, it’s surrounded by a set of childish Palsang-do paintings equal to the sophistication of the Shimu-do paintings around the main hall.

Next to the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas is the Geukrak-jeon. The exterior and interior of this hall are rather plain. However, the statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) that sits on the main altar makes up for a lot of this shortcoming.

The final hall that takes up residence at Borimsa Temple is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall that sits on the third terrace at the temple. The exterior paintings, like most of the other paintings at the temple, are rather crude and child-like. There is, however, one redeeming painting of a golden tiger on the right side of the exterior wall. As for the paintings inside the Samseong-gak, it’s the painting of Dokseong (The Recluse) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) that are the most impressive. In fact, the Sanshin painting is a similar to the painting of this shaman deity found at Tongdosa Temple.

HOW TO GET THERE: First, you’ll have to get to Nopo Subway Station, line 1, stop #134. At the subway station, you’ll find a bus station. It’s from this bus station that you’ll have to take the bus called “마을버스 #금정구2-3 (Geumjeong-gu 2-3). It’ll take you 13 stops, then you’ll need to get off at the 마지 (Maji) stop. The bus ride will take you about 40 minutes.

The other way you can easily get to the temple is by taking a taxi from Nopo Subway Station. The ride lasts 20 minutes and it costs about 10,000 won. A little more expensive, but in a group, not that bad.


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OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. This temple is a bit of a mixed bag of sorts. While the exterior of the halls are extremely simplistic, bordering on crude, the interiors of the halls are opulent and amazing. Add the Iljumun Gate into the mix, and you get a rating of six and a half points out of ten, in my humblest of opinions.

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The colourful and stately Iljumun Gate at Borimsa Temple.
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A look from behind at the main hall at the temple.
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The rather crude Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals that adorn the exterior of the main hall.
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Some of the beautiful flowers that were in bloom.
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And a look at some more stunning flowers.
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A look inside the main hall at the altar. Sitting in the centre is Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He’s flanked by Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left and Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right.
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And to the right of the main altar is this elaborate guardian relief.
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The all-natural looking bell pavilion.
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On the second terrace is this shrine hall, the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas.
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The rather crude Palsang-do paintings that adorn the exterior of the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas.
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A look inside the amazingly decorative Hall of 1,000 Buddhas.
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Next to the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas is this hall: The Geukrak-jeon.
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And sitting on the altar inside the hall is Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise).
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And to the far right of this hall is this beautiful courtyard.
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The colourful entrance to the monk quarters at Borimsa Temple.
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And a look out at the valley that Borimsa Temple is situated in.
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The final hall at the temple sits on the third terrace: the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.
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The golden tiger that adorns the exterior wall of the Samseong-gak.
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A look at the Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) painting and statue inside the Samseong-gak.
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And a look at the Dokseong (The Recluse) painting and statue that is also inside the Samseong-gak.

2 thoughts on “Borimsa Temple – 보림사 (Busan, Gijang)

  1. The first beautiful flower photo is of peonies, the second, of azaleas. The pine trees in the courtyard and behind the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall are Korean red pines (Pinus densiflora), the national tree of Korea. Its Korean name, sonamu, means supreme tree and it is often associated with royalty. It is also one of the Ten Symbols of Longevity, shipjangsaeng, the others being: the sun, mountains, water, clouds, rocks/stone, mushrooms of immortality, turtles, white cranes and deer. It therefore appears frequently in temple, palace, and royal burial ground gardens.

    • And also why it appears so frequently in the Sanshin murals inside the Sanshin-gak or Samseong-gak. He’s the shaman deity of longevity.

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