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).

Daedeoksa Temple – 대덕사 (Dongnae, Busan)

The main hall at Daedeoksa Temple in Dongnae, Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Like Geumyongam Hermitage, Daedeoksa Temple is located in a bend in the road on the other side of Mandeok Tunnel in Dongnae, Busan. And it’s scenically situated on the south-eastern slopes of Mt. Geumjeongsan (801.5 m).

Just west of Geumyongam Hermitage, and under a beautiful Iljumun Gate, you’ll find Daedeoksa Temple. The first thing to greet you, other than the temple’s facilities, are a pair of stone statues. The first, to the right, is a three metre tall statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This statue is joined to the left by Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag).

To the left of the temple’s facilities is Daedeoksa Temple’s main courtyard. Straight ahead, and rather uniquely for a Korean temple, you’ll find the main hall unpainted. This rather large main hall is all but unadorned on its exterior all except for some beautiful wood engraved paneling. And to the right of the main hall is a large building that’s acts as the monks’ quarters.

Stepping inside the main hall, you’ll see a large stone statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). To the right is a beautiful wood engraving, and to the left is a shrine for Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). It’s also to the left of the main altar’s Buddha that you’ll find a collection of paintings that honour deceased monks that once took up residence at Daedeoksa Temple.

To the rear of the main hall, and to the left, follow the pathway that will lead you to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. This building is the only building at the temple that is adorned with the traditional dancheong colours and murals around its exterior walls. Stepping inside this colourful hall, you’ll notice three shaman paintings hanging on the main altar. The one in the centre is a mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). And to the left of this mural is a painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). But it’s the emaciated depiction of Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), which hangs to the right of the Chilseong mural, that truly stands out for its originality.

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 8 minutes, or 3.2 kilometres, and cost 4,300 won.

OVERALL RATING: 4/10. Daedeoksa Temple has a few original highlights like the colourless main hall, the large Seokgamoni-bul statue that sits in the main hall, and the Dokseong mural that’s hanging in the shaman shrine hall. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the grounds to the main temple courtyard has grass.

The Gwanseeum-bosal statue that greets you at the entry to the temple.
As well as this statue of Podae-Hwasang.
As you first approach the main hall at Daedeoksa Temple.
A better look at the main hall.
A closer look at one of the unpainted wood engravings that adorns the main hall.
A look to the right of the main hall at the monks’ dorms.
Inside the main hall sits this large stone statue of Seokgamoni-bul.
A beautiful wood engraving inside the main hall.
A shrine dedicated to Jijang-bosal inside the main hall.
The view that Seokgamoni-bul gets to enjoy.
The view from behind the main hall as you make your way towards the Samseong-gak.
The Samseong-gak through the shubbery.
A closer look at the shaman shrine hall.
The Chilseong mural.
The Sanshin mural.
The unique Dokseong mural.
A view of both modern and traditional Korea.