The Story of…Haeunjeongsa Temple

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 The beautiful wooden pagoda at Haeunjeongsa Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

For as close as Haeunjeongsa Temple is to the famed Haeundae beach in Busan, hardly anyone visits the temple. This is unfortunate, because the temple has a lot to offer the temple adventurer. In total, I think I’ve been a handful of times with the earliest visit dating back to 2004. However, the most interesting adventure, for me personally, came just a couple months back in the winter of 2013.

Originally, I had been attempting to visit the neighbouring Pokposa Temple in Haeundae-gu, but this fell through after learning there was no neighbouring parking for my car. So instead of allowing the entire trip to be a bust, I decided to head over to Haeunjeongsa Temple. It had been about 5 years since I had last visited it, and if my memory was serving me correctly, I knew I was in for a treat.

When I finally did arrive at the temple, and because of its location, it was freezing cold with the wind; probably -10 with the windchill. In the course of five years, the temple had changed a fair bit. Unlike the last time I had visited, there was now a nice shrine for Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) just outside the main hall. Also, there was a brand new shrine dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) and the Nahan (The Disciples of the Historical Buddha). Large in size, the row of beautiful granite statues was/is a nice little addition to the temple grounds. This, in combination with the Geukrak-jeon Hall and the large three story wooden pagoda, froze me to the bone.

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Inside the main hall where a group of ajummas decided to warm me up on a freezing day with mats.

The coldness, in combination with having no gloves, froze my fingers. With the main hall being the only hall at the temple I had yet to visit, I decided to warm my fingers in there. Only then would I continue to capture a few more pictures. So grabbing a mat, I sat down with a couple dozen ajummas (older Korean women). With the heat not being on in the main hall, I was still shivering quite a bit. I guess one of the neighbouring ajummas realized this, so she grabbed a mat off the stack and placed it over my lap. It definitely helped, but I was still cold. So yet another ajumma grabbed yet another mat and placed it on my side. It seemed to be working, but I was still shivering. So a third ajumma grabbed yet another mat and placed it on my other side. After each mat they placed on me they would smile and bow in a motherly fashion. Finally, the third mat seem to do the trick, as I was no longer cold.

It’s these little acts of kindness that I really enjoy when visiting Korean temples. It’s not the first, and I’m sure it won’t be the last during my stay in Korea.

For more on this temple, please follow this link.

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Out in front of the main hall is this granite row of Nahan statues.

Haeunjeongsa Temple – 해운정사 (Haeundae-gu, Busan)

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The gorgeous Gwanseeum-bosal altar piece in the main hall at Haeunjeongsa Temple.

Hello Everyone,

This post is for anyone and everyone living in the Haeundae area in Busan.  This temple, Haeunjeongsa Temple (해운정사), is pretty easy to get to, and it is rarely visited.

Whenever the wife and I visit Haeundae, we always like to visit this temple before we go to the beach.  Usually, we take a taxi to the temple.  It usually only costs about 3,000 Won, but you can get to the temple by walking.  It probably takes about 20 minutes, but it is hard to find in all the house clutter of Haeundae.  You can tell that you’ve arrived at the temple because there is a large granite staircase waiting for you.  Once you walk up these stairs, there is a new looking pagoda and modern visitor centre.  To the right of these two structures are the main hall and the beautifully designed three-tiered wooden pagoda.  And to the far right is the dorm for the monks.  Even though this temple is newer looking, and probably lacking a long history, the artwork, both inside and outside of the temple structures, are beautifully crafted.  Also, the gorgeously designed green wooden pagoda is nearly worth the time alone it takes to get to Haeunjeongsa Temple.  The outside temple buildings are beautifully decorated with paintings from the life of Buddha.

After you’ve visited the temple, it’s a nice walk south (and view along the way) to the beach.  You’ll pass by many stores and markets along the way.  It’s a nice way to see the little known side of Haeundae.

To learn the back story behind this temple adventure, please follow this link.

HOW TO GET THERE:  You can take the subway, second line, to Haeundae subway station (#203).  Take one of the exits on the north side towards Haeundae train station.  Once you get outside, you can easily find yourself a taxi that will take you to Haeunjeongsa Temple.

OVERALL RATING:  6.5/10.  It’s a nice little round-about-way of getting to the beach.  This small city temple is a nice diversion from those of you living in the hustle-and-bustle of Haeundae.  Again, the wooden pagoda alone is well worth the 5 minute taxi ride to Haeunjeongsa Temple.  But couple the pagoda with the grandness of the main hall and the beautiful paintings on the side of the temple buildings, and this temple is well worth the effort to discover its beauty.  The only thing that makes it a little less impressive than others is its relatively new look and small size.  However, for a nice day in Haeundae, don’t forget to include Haeunjeongsa Temple along the way.

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The newly built entrance gate at Haeunjeongsa Temple.
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The grand staircase with two children playing on it.
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A long look up all those stairs.  But trust me, the ascent up is worth it.
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One, of two, mythological Haetae.  The Haetae are masters of fire and guardians against it.  And if you know just how poorly fire and wood mix, then you can understand why they’re there.
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When you climb up the stairs, the first thing to greet you on the temple grounds is the bell tower (which is immediately to your left when you walk in).
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A closer look at the intricate wood work on the bell tower, as the sun pours over it.
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Once you’ve taken in all that you can of the bell tower, and just in front of the modern looking visitor centre, is the simplistic stone pagoda.
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A closer look at the delicate beauty of this pagoda.
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 To the immediate right of the pagoda and bell tower are the major buildings at Haeunjeongsa Temple. DSC03098
First is the main hall.
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Again, another example of the intricate wood work at Haeunjeongsa Temple.
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Inside the main hall, and adorning the gorgeous wood work, is a fresh coat of vibrant paint.
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Equally impressive, if not more so, is the main altar pieces at Haeunjeongsa Temple.
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A closer look, as well, at the right sided piece of the main altar.
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 A guardian painting inside the main hall.
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Tucked in between these two buildings, the main hall and the dorm, is the wooden pagoda.
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 Nestled in close to the main hall is the wooden pagoda.
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Here is a better look at the gorgeous splendour that is the wooden pagoda at Haeunjeongsa Temple.
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A little guardian painting inside the wooden pagoda.
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A little drink from the stone water fountain, before the wife and I headed south towards Haeundae beach.