Bohyunsa Temple – 보현사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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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.

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The road that leads up to the temple.

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

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 The beautiful main hall.

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The nine-tier pagoda at Bohyunsa Temple.

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

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 A look inside the main hall at the main altar.

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

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 The beautiful guardian mural inside the main hall.

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

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

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

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 A small shrine with a statue of Sanshin.

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 The unique painting that adorns the Samseong-gak.

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 As well as one of the more creative Nathwi paintings.

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 The painting of Sanshin inside the Samseong-gak.

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 As well as the painting of Dokseong.

Bohyunsa Temple – 보현사 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam)

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The beautiful view of the East Sea from Bohyunsa Temple.

 Hello Again Everyone!!

Just a kilometre down the road from Munsuam Hermitage, with perhaps an even more impressive view of the East Sea, is Bohyunsa Temple in Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do. Up an equally side-winding road that leads to the south lies the crowning Bohyunsa Temple. This temple is named after the Bodhisattva of Power, Bohyun-bosal.

From the large parking lot, you’ll approach the Iljumun Gate that greets you at the temple. Past this gate is the solitary hall that resides at the temple. And hovering over this three story modern looking main hall is a golden statue of Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha).

Up a long gravel path, you’ll come to the main doors at the temple’s main hall. On the first floor, and inside the first floor’s main hall, is a solitary picture of a famous monk that resided at the temple. This picture is bookmarked by a pair of statues, both medium and small in size, of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). Before you enter this hall, however, there are a pair of paintings framing the entrance to this hall of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal.

To the left or right of this first floor hall are a set of stairs. Up the right set of stairs are a pair of paintings. The first is of Dazu Huike and the Bodhidharma, while the second illustrates Wohyo-daesa and Uisang-daesa. The left set of stairs simply illustrates the Dharma all by himself. And after ascending either set of stairs, you’ll come to the second floor hall. Inside this hall, at least when I was visiting this temple, was a nun doing the morning chant. Sitting on the main altar inside this hall is the centrally located Yaksayore-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by the familiar pairing of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left. The entire altar is backed by a beautiful Buddhist mural, and to the left of the main altar is a shrine for the dead.

And to the left and the right of this second floor hall are two more sets of stairs that lead up to the third, and final, floor that houses the massive Yaksayore-bul statue. Through the right side set of stairs, you’ll first run into an atypical painting of a Shinseon (A Daoist Immortal), as well as a vibrant painting of Jijang-bosal. To the left, you’ll encounter first an angelic Biseon painting and then another vibrant painting, this time, of the Dharma playing with children, as well as Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva that Protects the Buddha’s Teachings).

Finally, when you do get to the third floor, you’re first greeted by some very beautiful Nahan and Palsang-do murals that surround the circular third floor. In addition to these paintings, you’ll also notice, that unlike the other two floors, this one is open. And surrounding the walls, on the outer walls, are numerous miniature ornamental bronze bells. Approaching from the right side of the statue, you’ll notice just how large the Yaksayore-bul statue truly is. Fronting this massive Buddha with a Manja and the East Sea at his back, is a smaller sized statue of himself, as well as a pair of bronze incense burners. There is, in opposition to the open idea of the third floor, an enclosed area where you can pray in relative warmth during the winter months.

Outside of this enclosed area, there are a pair of doors that lead to an outlining observation area that you can have the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Munsuam Hermitage off in the distance, the silky black waters of the East Sea, as well as the tiny islands that dot the horizon. Surrounding the walls of this observation area are the Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. Take your time and enjoy the sites and sights, because they really are second-to-none in all of Korea.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Goseong from Busan, which is where Bohyunsa Temple is located, you’ll first have to get to the Dongbu Intercity Bus Terminal. You can easily get to this terminal from the Busan station system, if you get off at the Nopo-dong subway stop, #134, on the first line. The earliest bus leaves at 7:45 a.m., and the ride takes you two hours and twenty minutes. The bus ride will cost you 10,100 won. After arriving in Goseong, you’ll then have to take a taxi to get to Bohyunsa Temple. You’ll have to do this because there’s absolutely no bus that goes to the temple from Goseong. In total, the taxi should cost about 12,000 won, and the ride should last about twenty five minutes.

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OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. While the sights of the sites are equal, if not a little better than the ones that can be viewed from the neighbouring Munsuam Hermitage, the temple structure itself at Bohyunsa Temple isn’t even close to its sister hermitage. And that’s why this temple rates a little bit lower than Munsuam Hermitage. With that being said, this temple is a must see if you’re in the area, and even if you’re not. And in combination with the kilometre away Munsuam Hermitage, well…you get the picture.

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A look down at Bohyunsa Temple and the East Sea.
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The Iljumun Gate that welcomes you to the temple.
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A look off at Munsuam Hermitage from the entrance of Bohyunsa Temple.
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The path that leads up to the main hall with the hovering Yaksayore-bul in the background.
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A better look at the lone hall at the temple.
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The first floor of the main hall.
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The second floor of the main hall with Yaksayore-bul in the centre and a flanking pair of Jijang-bosal and Gwanseeum-bosal.
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A painting of Jijang-bosal on the way up to the third floor.
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On the bottom is the final painting in the set of Palsang-do murals and on top a Nahan painting.
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The open courtyard on the third floor.
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And a look up at Yaksayore-bul as you enter the open courtyard.
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Finally, a good look at the massive statue of the Medicine Buddha and the East Sea off in the background.
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A look at Munsuam Hermitage and the Z shaped road that leads up to it.
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A look down at the village below.
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The view from the observation area of the third floor off at the beautiful Munsuam Hermitage.
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One from the Ox-Herding mural set.
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The miniature bronze bells on the third floor.
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And the view of both the East Sea and the temple together.
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 Through the trees and you see…
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…the East Sea.
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One final look up at Yaksayore-bul who is bathed by warm sunlight on a chilly winter day.