Bohyunsa Temple – 보현사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)


A look outside from the main hall onto the nine-tier pagoda in the temple courtyard at Bohyunsa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

I was out on yet another temple adventure that explored one of the most important Buddhist mountains in Yangsan: Mt. Cheonseongsan. This time I thought I would explore the north-eastern portion of the mountain, which brought me to Bohyunsa Temple.

When you first approach Bohyunsa Temple, up a long and winding country road, you’ll first see a ledge with a twin set of statues up the embankment. As you approach, you’ll notice that these two statues, uniquely, are a pair of Cheonwang (Heavenly King) statues. Jigook Cheonwang, the Heavenly King of the east stands to the right, while Gwangmok Cheonwang, the Heavenly King of the west stands to the left. They stand in front of a set of stairs that lead up to the temple courtyard.

As you climb the set of stairs, you’ll notice a collection of buildings to the right. These buildings include the temple kitchen and monks’ dorms. Straight ahead is a beautifully situated main hall that sits below the peak of Mt. Cheonseongsan and looks out upon Yangsan. Surrounding the main hall are some nicely rendered Shimu-do, Ox-Herding murals. Inside the main hall, and sitting on the main altar, is a triad centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). All around the main hall, in every nook and cranny, are smaller sized golden statues of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. To the left of the triad is a black haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). To the immediate right of the main altar is the Chilseong (Seven Stars) painting that is commonly situated in the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. But atypically, the painting is housed right next to the main altar. Next to the Chilseong mural is the guardian painting. Like all the paintings inside the main hall, this painting is beautifully rendered with thirty-two different guardians.

To the left of the main hall is a stunning nine-tier pagoda. Around the base and body of the pagoda are some skillfully carved stone engravings of various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and guardians. Directly behind this pagoda is a large granite statue of what looks to be Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha). With a medicine jar in his left hand, he meditatively looks out on the temple grounds. Much like the pagoda, the stone statue of Yaksayore-bul is just as beautifully crafted.

The final building on the temple grounds is the Samseong-gak shrine hall. This hall is to the left rear of the main hall, and parallel to the temple pagoda and Yaksayore-bul statue. The exterior of the Samseong-gak shrine hall is perhaps some of the most originally designed paintings adorning this type of hall in all of Korea. It almost seems as though a temple monk did the paintings. But whoever painted them, the paintings depict various animals and birds like turtles, deer, cranes, pheasants, and a dragon. By far, the most original pair of Nathwi (Monster Mask) are situated on either side of the entrance to this hall. Protruding out of the painted masks are a set of devilish horns that only add to the scariness that these Nathwi are attempting to convey. Inside the Samseong-gak shrine hall are a set of popular shaman deities in Korean Buddhism. In the centre is an older looking Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) painting as well as statue. To the left of Sanshin is a painting of Dokseong (The Recluse). Rather uniquely, there are no assistants in the painting with Dokseong. And to the far right is another older looking painting of Yongwang (The Dragon King).

HOW TO GET THERE: From Nopo Subway Station, line #1, stop #134, take Bus #58 for 26 stops. You’ll need to get off at the Cheonseong river town stop. After that, you’ll need to grab a taxi for 13 minutes, or 2.7 k.m., to get to Bohyunsa Temple. The taxi fare should be between 4,000 to 4,500 won.

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OVERALL RATING: 5/10. While this northeastern Mt. Cheonseongsan temple won’t blow you away, it certainly has a lot for the discerning Korean temple adventurer. Such things as the pair of Cheonwang stone entrance statues, the stone statue of Yaksayore-bul and the nine -tier pagoda, as well as the exterior paintings around the Samseong-gak shrine hall and the Dokseong painting make Bohyunsa Temple well worth the effort to find on the eastern outskirts of Yangsan.


The road that leads up to the temple.


 The stairs that lead up to the main hall with two Heavenly Kings guarding the way.


 The beautiful main hall.


The nine-tier pagoda at Bohyunsa Temple.


Just one of the ox-herding murals that adorns the exterior walls of the main hall.


 A look inside the main hall at the main altar.


 The statue of Jijang-bosal, which is to the left of the main triad inside the main hall.


 The beautiful guardian mural inside the main hall.


 The mural of Chilseong to the left of the main altar.


 A closer look at the Yaksayore-bul statue, which is situated next to the nine-tier pagoda.


 The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall, which lies just behind the main hall.


 A small shrine with a statue of Sanshin.


 The unique painting that adorns the Samseong-gak.


 As well as one of the more creative Nathwi paintings.


 The painting of Sanshin inside the Samseong-gak.


 As well as the painting of Dokseong.

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