Dongmyeongsa Temple – 동명사 (Dongnae, Busan)

The main hall at Dongmyeongsa Temple in Dongnae, Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Dongmyeongsa Temple in Dongnae, Busan, which shouldn’t be confused with Dongmyeong Bulwon in Nam-gu, Busan, is located on the southern slopes of Mt. Geumjeongsan (801.5m) near Sanggyebong Peak (639.8m). Furthermore, Dongmyeongsa Temple is located in a cluster of temples in Dongnae near Daedeoksa Temple and Geumyongam Hermitage just east of Mandeok Tunnel.

You first approach Dongmyeongsa Temple alongside a tight bend in the mountainside road. There are several trailheads that lead up to Mt. Geumjeongsan along the way. The compact grounds to Dongmyeongsa Temple house a small collection of temple buildings. But before you approach the four separate temple buildings, you’ll first be greeted by a beautiful three-tier stone pagoda with a dongja (assistant) at its base. Also, you’ll find a one metre tall statue dedicated to Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Sack) under a collection of trees. It’s also from this location that you get an amazing view of Dongnae, and Busan, down below.

Past both the statue and pagoda, you’ll notice the temple’s visitors centre and kitchen on the lower courtyard. It’s up above, and past the nuns’ dorms, that you’ll find the Daeung-jeon main hall. The exterior to the main hall’s walls are adorned with beautiful Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. Stepping inside the elaborately painted main hall, you’ll find a collection of five statues resting on the main altar. Sitting in the centre is a golden statue dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). To the right of the main altar hangs a large mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). Next to the Chilseong mural is an intricate mural dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa and Uisang-daesa.

On the far left wall is a large Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural). It’s joined by s a beautiful mural dedicated to the Bodhidharma, as well as a window shrine. The large window and accompanying shrine looks out and up towards the Sanhin/Dokseong-gak. I’ve never seen something like this before. The only reason this might be the case is that the stairs leading up to the Sanshin/Dokseong-gak are both steep and treacherous.

As mentioned, and to the immediate rear of the main hall, you’ll find the beautiful, new Sanshin/Dokseong-gak. Housed inside this shaman shrine hall are two equally new murals dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). And to the left rear of the Sanshin/Dokseong-gak, you’ll find a shrine with a three metre tall statue dedicated to Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). To gain admittance to this outdoor shrine, you’ll first pass under a collection of beautiful flowers and vines supported by an arching metal trellis.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Dongnae subway stop, Line 1, subway stop #125, you’ll need to go through exit #3 to get a taxi. From this station, it’ll take 10 minutes, or 3.5 kilometres, and cost 4,500 won.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10. Dongmyeongsa Temple has a beautiful view of Dongnae off in the distance. Added to this are the beautiful murals, along both the interior and exterior walls, of the main hall. Finally, the stonework found in the pagoda, the statue dedicated to Podae-hwasang and Mireuk-bul, are really nice, as well. While compact in size, the artwork throughout this temple will definitely help occupy your time during your visit.

Grounds just outside the temple courtyard at Dongmyeongsa Temple.
The compact temple grounds.
The three tier stone pagoda at the entry of the temple.
And the diminutive statue of Podae-hwasang at the entry, as well.
The view from Dongmyeongsa Temple out towards Busan.
The Daeung-jeon Hall at the temple.
One of the beautiful Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals adorning one of the exterior walls.
The Chilseong mural inside the main hall.
The detailed mural dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa and Uisang-daesa inside the main hall.
The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The guardian mural to the left of the main altar.
Which is joined by this mural of the Bodhidharma.
The shrine with a window that looks out from the main hall and up towards the Sanshin/Dokseong-gak.
And the view.
A closer look at the Sanshin/Dokseong-gak.
The two murals inside the shaman shrine hall. To the left is Sanshin and to the right is Dokseong.
Some grapes painted inside the shaman shrine hall.
The stone statue and shrine dedicated to Mireuk-bul.
And a closer look at Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha).