Daeseongsa Temple – 대성사 (Gijang, Busan)
Hello Again Everyone!!
Daeseongsa Temple is located in Gijang, Busan. And it’s situated to the east of Mt. Dalumsan (587m) and southeast of Mt. Galmisan (300m). A little further up the valley and you’ll come to the much more famous Okjeongsa Temple. Uniquely, Wonri Bridge is suspended over top of Daeseongsa Temple. It’s not often that you see this. I think I’ve only ever seen it at Gilsangsa Temple in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do. But such is modernity, I suppose.
Up a concrete entry road and past the dark red temple sign that reads “대성사,” you’ll take a turn to the left and be situated out in front of the compact temple grounds. But before making your way up to the main hall, you’ll have passed a Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) statue halfway up the entry road. And to the far right, just outside the upper courtyard, there are a pair of temple statues. The first is Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Sack). And a little further to the right, you’ll notice a golden statue to a female devotee. Not sure who she is, but she’s obviously deserving of a statue at Daeseongsa Temple.
Now, straight ahead, and up a set of steep stone stairs, you’ll find the boxy main hall. The exterior walls are beautifully adorned with floral murals and a set of Palsang-do, Ox-Herding, murals. Stepping inside the main hall, you’ll find a Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural) hanging on the far left wall when you first enter. As for the main altar, you’ll see a triad of statues seated. Seated in the centre, it looks to be a statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is joined to the right by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and to the left by Jijang-bosal. Out in front of the main hall, and under the shade of the Wonri Bridge, is the temple’s compact bell pavilion.
Rather uniquely, Daeseongsa Temple is divided in halves. To the right is the main hall, and to the left is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. I say unique, because it’s almost impossible to locate the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. There are no clear signs indicating that there is a second half to this temple. But now you know, so now you can explore the other half of the temple.
Out in front of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall is a diminutive temple bell that hangs freely in the open. The far right wall to this hall is either the monks’ dorms or visitors centre. And it’s to the left, through a pair of sliding doors, that you’ll find the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. Resting on the main altar of this hall is a beautifully crowned statue of Gwanseeum-bosal. To the right of the main altar is another temple guardian mural that’s older in origin. And to the left is a mural dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha).
To the left of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall are a collection of shaman shrine halls. The first shrine, under a tin roof, is dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King). Past the Yongwang shrine, you’ll see a stacked pair of shrine halls. The one on the bottom on the first floor appears to be dedicated to Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha); however, there is no signboard above the entry to indicate who exactly it might be for sure. As for the second floor, this is definitely the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. All three murals inside this hall are dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) are newer in composition and rather traditional in style.
HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Daeseongsa Temple, you’ll first need to get to Ilgwang subway station, stop K124, on the Donghae Line in Busan. From this subway stop, you’ll need to take a taxi to Daeseongsa Temple. The cost will be 7,500 won, and the car ride will last 14 minutes.
OVERALL RATING: 3/10. While not the most serene of locations, there is a fair bit to see, especially in combination with the more popular Okjeongsa Temple. Keep your eyes open for the beautiful artwork around the main hall and the beautifully crowned Gwanseeum-bosal inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.