Okryeonseonwon Temple – 옥련선원 (Suyeong, Busan)

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A man prays to the massive Mireuk-bul statue at Okryeonseonwon Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Okryeonseonwon Temple is located in the heart of Suyeong, in Busan, just outside Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches. It has a commanding view of the ocean and trendy neighbourhood apartments.

You first approach Okryongseonwon Temple up a steep road that seems to be popular with mountain hikers. You’ll know that you’re getting closer and closer to the temple because you’ll see an extended three metre high wall made completely of roof tiles. When you do eventually arrive at the temple grounds, the first structure to welcome you is the Iljumun Gate that is decorated with a pair of guardian murals: Heng and Ha.

Passing through this gate, you’ll see the nuns’ quarters straight ahead. The lovely grass path is bordered on all sides by tall, lush hedges. The bell pavilion hovers over the hedges on the far end of this lower temple courtyard.

At the end of the path, and just before the bell pavilion, are a pair of stone lanterns with an assortment of figurines stuffed in all crevices and cracks. Just up the stairs, and you’ll finally arrive in the upper temple courtyard. Straight ahead is the compact main hall. Inside the main hall, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of statues. In the centre sits a slender statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by two equally slim-looking statues of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the right of the main altar is a mural of the multi-eyed Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion).

Just to the left of the main hall, and up a set of stairs, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. You’ll get some more amazing views of the neighbouring cityscape from here. As for inside this shaman shrine hall, and unusually resting in the centre of the three, is a life-sized statue of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). He’s joined to the left by an unassuming Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) and a pair of paintings to the right. The first is dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), while the other is a rather atypical painting of Yongwang (The Dragon King) joined by Dongjin-bosal (The Bodhisattva that Protects the Buddha’s Teachings). Just to the right of the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall, and behind the main hall, is a solitary three-tier pagoda.

The real highlight to this temple, and to the far left of the temple halls, is the massive 20 metre tall statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). Mireuk-bul, from his commanding vantage point, looks out protectively over Busan. As you make your way back down to the lower courtyard, you’ll make your way past some beautiful landscaping. There are a combination of red roses, purple irises, and an assortment of flowers in bloom along the way. Make sure you visit either in summer or spring to this temple. You’ll be amazed by the landscaping if you do.

HOW TO GET THERE: There are two ways in which you can get to Okryeonseonwon Temple. Both require that you first take the subway to Millak subway stop, #207. From there, you exit out exit #1 and catch a taxi. The ride should only take about 5 minutes, over 1.4 kilometres, and it should cost you 2,800 won. The other way that you can do it is by simply walking. Again, you’ll need to go out exit #1. Head towards the ocean and towards the second bridge to the south. Once you get to the bridge, hang a right. Head in this direction for about 300 metres. Then, hang another right towards the Millak Elementary School. Head up this road, which has a bit of an incline, for another 300 metres until you arrive at Okryeonseonwon Temple.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. This has to be one of the most beautifully kept temples that you’ll visit in all of Korea. It’s beautiful lawns and amazing landscaping with an assortment of flowers and hedges make Okryeonseonwon Temple an amazing escape from the daily grind, especially if you’re in the Suyeong area of Busan. Add into the mix the view and the massive statue of Mireuk-bul, and you have plenty of reason to visit this little known gem.

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The road that leads up to the temple.

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Just one of several guardians that greet you at the temple entrance.

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The Iljumun Gate at Okryeonseonwon Temple.

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The beautiful hedges that welcome you to the temple grounds.

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 The view of the temple halls at Okryeonseonwon Temple.

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The bell pavilion that hovers over top of the tall hedges.

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 A look up towards the main hall.

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A closer look at the compact hall with the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall just to the left.

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A look inside the main hall at the main altar. Sitting in the middle is Seokgamoni-bul. He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal and Bohyun-bosal. To the far right, you can see the elaborate mural dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal.

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 The amazing view from the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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The life-sized statue of Sanshin.

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He’s joined to the right by these two murals dedicated to Chilseong and Yongwang.

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The solitary pagoda behind the main hall.

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And through the forest, you’ll catch your first glimpse of Mireuk-bul.

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A closer look at the masterful statue of the Buddha.

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And a look over his shoulder at the view he gets to enjoy.

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Just some of the amazing landscaping at the temple.

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A beautiful stone lantern surrounded by nature on all sides.

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 And lastly, some beautiful red roses that were still in full bloom at Okryeonseonwon Temple.

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