Geumsusa Temple – 금수사 (Dong-gu, Busan)


 The beautiful view from the main hall at Geumsusa Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Another temple I explored in the Seodaeshin-dong part of Busan was Geumsusa Temple. A bit further to the west and a bit larger in size, Geumsusa Temple was also a bit harder to find. Nestled between a large apartment complex and a forest, the long set of stairs that lead up to Geumsusa Temple can be a bit hard to find. It actually took me three passes until I finally found it.

Climbing the stairs, the first thing to greet you to the temple, and just outside the temple courtyard, is a stoic statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Just above the statue of Jijang-bosal, and up a set of stairs and to the right, are the stupa and stele of former monks at Geumsusa Temple. Next to this area, and a little to the left, is the Cheonwangmun Gate. Housed inside of this gate are some of the cuter Heavenly Kings that you’ll see in Korea. However, this is off-set by some grotesquely demonic demons that are being trampled under foot by the Cheonwang.

Having passed through the Cheongwangmun Gate, and entering into the temple courtyard, you’ll be greeted by a pavilion and courtyard that are heavily under construction. The entire grounds are extensively being landscaped with the end goal being water ponds and gardens all around the Geumsusa Temple courtyard.

The first temple hall to greet you at Geumsusa Temple is the Cheonbul-jeon hall. Sitting on the main altar of this hall are three golden statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul. The three are then joined by the one thousand golden statues of Buddha. This hall is still unpainted and enjoys its natural wood colour. Off in the distance, and to the west, you can see Jungang Park and Chunghon Tower that stands 70 metres above the tree line. The tower is dedicated to the loyal police and military of Busan that fought for Korea’s independence.

Under the shadow of the tower stands the very strange looking three-tier, perhaps, wooden pagoda at Geumsusa Temple. Inside this pagoda rests the temples bell (perhaps the most unique combo in Korea: a pagoda/bell pavilion combo).

To the right stands a more typical three-tier stone pagoda with an intricate finial adorning the top of the pagoda. Behind this pagoda lies the main hall at Geumsusa Temple. The main hall has some of the more unique latticework adorning its doors, especially the brown trees being backed by an all white backing. The exterior walls to the main hall are a mish-mash of assorted paintings starting with an Ox-Herding mural and combining guardian and Buddha murals.

As for the interior of the main hall, and sitting on the main altar, are seven statues (three larger statues and four smaller sized statues). Sitting in the centre of the three large statues sits 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). To the far left of the smaller sized statues sits Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by both Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) and an all-white Gwanseeum-bosal. On the left wall is a memorial for the dead with Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) in its midst. And to the right hangs the older looking Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural).

To the left of the main hall stands the monks’ dorms, the visitors’ centre, and the temple’s kitchen; while to the right stands the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The left exterior wall is adorned with a colourful, but fading, Sanshin mural. When you step inside the Samseong-gak, you’ll be greeted by an array of paintings and statues. On the main altar, and hanging in the centre, is a simplistic Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural. To the left rests both a painting and statue of Dokseong (The Recluse); while to the right rests both a statue and painting of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). The tiger inside this painting is really something to see. Placed on the right wall, and on an altar of its own, are two Yongwang (The Dragon King) statues; while to the left are three white statues (two Nahan and one Jijang-bosal statues).

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Geumsusa 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 #3. You’ll need to take a taxi, which should take about 7 minutes (or 1.3 k.m.). And the taxi ride should cost you under 3,000 won. You can do that, or walk, which should take about 25 minutes. You should exit out exit #3 and head west towards the Busan Bank. Continue on this zig-zagging road until you get to the temple.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. This temple is undergoing extensive renovations and landscaping, so be warned. But the after product looks like it’ll be something special if they can execute on the plan. Like the other temples in the area, the view is the main highlight to Geumsusa Temple both of Jungang Park and Chunghon Tower, as well as the Busan harbour. Additionally, the Sanshin painting, the statues inside the main hall, and the pagoda/bell pavilion combo are other things to look for when visiting Geumsusa Temple. Again, in combination with other temples in the area, it can make for quite a nice day trip to the Busan Station area of town.


 The stairs that lead up to Geumsusa Temple.


 The statue of Jijang-bosal, who is joined by the Cheonwangmun Gate, as well as the stupas and steles at the entrance of the temple.


 A better look at Jijang-bosal.


 And a better look at the stupa and stele at the temple.


 Just one of the great views at Geumsusa Temple.


Jungang Park and Chunghon Tower off in the distance.


 Just one of the cute Heavenly Kings inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.


 The all natural Hall of 1,000 Buddhas


 A look inside the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas.


 The view from the temple courtyard.


 The rather strange three-tier wooden pagoda/bell pavilion.


A better look at the temple bell.


The main hall at Geumsusa Temple.


The unique latticework at the temple.


 A guardian painting that adorns the main hall.


A look at the extensively adorned main altar inside the main hall.


The older looking Shinjung Taenghwa inside the main hall.


The amazing view from the main hall out onto the Busan harbour.


The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.


The Sanshin mural at Geumsusa Temple.


The double Yongwang statues.


A great view from the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.