Wolbongsa Temple – 월봉사 (Dong-gu, Busan)


 The amazing view of the Busan harbour from Wolbongsa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Wolbongsa Temple is another temple in the Seodaeshin-dong area of Busan. It’s another one of the temples I explored way back in 2005, and was finally getting back to exploring anew. Wolbongsa Temple is situated at the base of Mt. Gubongsan, just on the edge of the hiking trails that zig-zag through the mountain peaks and passes.

You first arrive at the temple through some of the oldest and most dilapidated houses in Busan. When you finally do arrive at the temple, you’ll notice that Wolbongsa Temple is beautifully perched on a compact temple courtyard that overlooks Busan harbour. In fact, if you look close enough, you’ll notice the Namhangdae Bridge, which you can beautifully frame in a lot of your pictures.

Stepping into the temple courtyard, the first thing to greet you is three-tier stone pagoda that’s surrounded by a set of stone lanterns. This stone pagoda stands in front of the main hall whose exterior walls are adorned with simplistic Palsang-do murals.

Stepping into the main hall, you’ll see a row of seven golden statues on the main altar. In the middle sits a triad of statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the left, and still on the main altar, is a solitary statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the right, and still on the main altar, is yet another set of golden statues. This time, the triad is centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). The interior walls to this hall are decorated with paintings of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). And hanging on the left wall is the Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural).

To the left of the main hall is the temple’s bell pavilion. Between both the bell pavilion and the main hall is a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal that stands in the center of a smaller sized lily pond.

And to the right of the main hall, and through a narrow staircase beside the monks’ dorms, is a platform where a statue of Yaksayore-bul (The Buddha of Medicine) sits, serenely overlooking the Busan harbour.

The final building that you can explore at Wolbongsa Temple, and crowning the temple heights, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The statues inside the rocky hall seem to have been haphazardly put together. The standard Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) statue stands in the centre with a Dokseong (The Recluse) statue to the right. What is strange is that a Chinese-style Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) sits to the left, which is a first for this temple adventurer.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Wolbongsa Temple, you’ll first need to make your way to Choryang Subway Station, on the first line, stop #114. From this subway station, exit out exit #8. You’ll need to take a taxi, which should take about 8 minutes (or 1.5 k.m.). And the taxi ride should cost you under 3,000 won. You can do that, or walk, which should take about 20 minutes straight up towards Mt. Gubongsan. Head towards Busan Middle School to help you towards the temple. But in walking, it might be a lot more difficult to find Wolbongsa Temple.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. Without a doubt, the main highlight to this temple are the views, and the potential pictures you can take of Busan harbour. Other highlights are the statues inside the main altar and the serene statues of Gwanseeum-bosal and Yaksayore-bul that either sit or stand inside the temple courtyard. And in combination with the ten other temples in the area, this makes for a beautiful day trip to the Busan Station area of Busan.


 The houses you’ll have to pass to get to Wolbongsa Temple. But just look at the view!


 All the buildings at Wolbongsa Temple.


 The beautiful view with Namhangdae Bridge in the distance.


 The view to the right. If you look close enough, you can see Busan Tower.


 The statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.


 The view from the main hall out onto the harbour.


 The Palsang-do murals that surround the main hall.


 The main altar inside the main hall at Wolbongsa Temple.


 The descriptive Shinjung Taenghwa mural inside the main hall.


 Just one of the Nahan paintings lining the walls inside the main hall.


 The view to the right of the main hall with the three-tier pagoda and Busan out in front of it.


 Yaksayore-bul overlooking both Wolbongsa Temple and Busan harbour.


 A look up from the main hall to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.


 A look inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall and the statues that inhabit it.


 A better look at Sanshin.


 One final look before I was off again on another temple adventure.

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