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Jinbulsa Temple – 진불사 (Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

The Sanshin-gak Hall at Jinbulsa Temple in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Temple History

Jinbulsa Temple is located to the west of Mt. Gonggaesan (213.7 m) in eastern Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do near the East Sea. Jinbulsa Temple was purportedly first founded during the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). It’s said that it was later destroyed by a landslide during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). It would be rebuilt in 1912. Additionally, Jinbulsa Temple belongs to the Taego-jong Order, which is the second largest Buddhist sect in Korea. It’s also one of the 973 traditional temples in Korea.

Temple Layout

Jinbulsa Temple is a smaller sized temple with a peculiar feel to it. With only a handful of shrine halls, Jinbulsa Temple is quite unique, and you’ll instantly feel this the moment you arrive. You first approach the temple grounds past some neighbouring farms after hanging a right at Heunghwan Beach. Finally, you’ll arrive at an opening in a forest that houses the main temple courtyard.

From the temple parking lot, and to your immediate left, you’ll find the administrative office at Jinbulsa Temple. Straight ahead, on the other hand, you’ll find the three temple shrine halls at the Jinbulsa Temple. The largest of the three, which is located in the centre, is the unpainted Daeung-jeon Hall.

Stepping inside the main hall, you’ll be greeted by a rather peculiar interior. Resting on the main altar are a triad of statues. The central image is that of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). To the right and left of this centre image are statues of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion), who sports a wonderfully colourful crown, and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This triad is book-ended by two folkish-looking dragon heads. To the right of the main altar are a row of miniature statues dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul. It’s also in this part of the main hall that you’ll find an older, off-coloured, Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). To the left of the main altar, on the other hand, are a pair of statues. The first of the two is a stone statue dedicated to Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). And to the left of this statue is a more typical image of Gwanseeum-bosal. Rounding out the interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall is a beautiful mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal.

To the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall is another unpainted shrine hall. This shrine hall rests under a collection of pine trees. This shrine hall is the Sanshin-gak Hall. Inside this shrine hall once hung one of the strangest images dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) in all of Korea. Sanshin himself is crudely painted, while the black tiger that accompanies him looks more like a dragon/dog combination than a fierce tiger. Now, however, it appears as though the old Sanshin painting has been replaced by a more refined modern image of the Mountain Spirit.

To the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall stands the Chilseong-gak Hall. It’s between the main hall and the Chilseong-gak Hall that you’ll find a seated, golden statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal. Once more, and like the two previous shrine halls at Jinbulsa Temple, the Chilseong-gak Hall is unpainted. Hanging on the main altar inside the shaman shrine hall is an older image dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). To the left of the main altar painting is a jade incarnation of what looks to be Gwanseeum-bosal. And to the right of the Chilseong painting is a golden statue of a figure that looks somewhat deformed and unrecognizable in appearance. Perhaps a Nahan (A Historical Disciple of the Buddha)?

How To Get There

From the Pohang Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take Bus #200 for 23 minutes, or 17 stops, and get off at the “Dogu 2-ri Maeul-Hoegwang Bus Stop.” From where the bus drops you off, you’ll need to take the bus that reads “Donghae-Jiseon,” or “Ohcheon-Jiseon” on it. From either one of these buses, get off after 13 stops, or 16 minutes, at the “Heunghwa-ri Bus Stop.” You’ll need to then walk 2.2 km, or 30 minutes, to get to Jinbulsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Jinbulsa Temple is one of the more scenically located temples in Korea that’s only a stone’s throw away from the East Sea. It’s also one of the stranger temples you’ll visit. The iconography inside the three temple shrine halls can be quite unique. It’s unfortunately that the former Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) painting is no longer inside the Sanshin-gak Hall, but there’s still enough oddities to see at the temple to keep your attention like the multi-coloured crown of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, as well as the folkish-looking dragon heads inside the main hall. These are just a few things that stand out. While smaller in size, Jinbulsa Temple might be worth a look for something a bit outside the every day.

The Heunghwan Beach near the temple grounds.
The Daeung-jeon Hall (right) and the Sanshin-gak Hall (left) at Jinbulsa Temple.
The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The two statues to the left of the main altar of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) to the right and Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the left.
The Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) inside the main hall.
Joined by this more masterful painting dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
A closer look at the main altar and the two folkish-looking dragon heads.
The older Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural inside the Sanshin-gak Hall that appears to have been replaced.
The fading outdoor statue dedicated to a black-haired image of Jijang-bosal.
The painting dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars) inside the Chilseong-gak Hall.
And I have no idea what this is meant to represent. Perhaps a Nahan (A Historical Disciple of the Buddha)?

A Call for Support: Navigating Online Attacks as a Photographer in Ulsan

As many of you know, my journey as a photographer in Ulsan has been filled with joy, creativity, and a deep connection to this beautiful community. However, I now find myself facing a challenging and painful situation that I feel compelled to share with you.

Since April 2024, I have been the target of relentless attacks on Reddit, specifically within the r/Ulsan community. What started as a few negative comments has escalated into a troubling pattern of harassment from individuals who seem determined to undermine my work and passion. They have created multiple fake accounts to disparage my photography, critique my classes, and even take aim at my grammar. While I typically welcome constructive criticism, this feels more like an assault on my character and dedication.

At first, I tried to brush it off. After all, not everyone will appreciate my photography, and that’s okay. But as the months passed, the insults began to take a toll on my mental well-being. I’ve found myself drawn into a cycle of frustration, even retaliating at times, which is not the person I strive to be. The anonymity of Reddit allows these individuals to hide in the shadows, making it difficult to address this situation directly.

These attacks seem to come at the most challenging moments in my life. Both my mother and brother are currently battling cancer, which weighs heavily on my heart. Just recently, while hurrying to the hospital to check on my father-in-law after he suffered a massive stroke, I received messages criticizing my photos as “overexposed” and “amateur.” It was incredibly disheartening to encounter such negativity during a time when I was in desperate need of support and positivity.

In response, I have reported these accounts to Reddit in hopes of curbing this behavior, but it feels like a never-ending battle. One particularly confrontational interaction left me shaken when the individual expressed outright disdain for my work, stating they “genuinely hate” my photography. It’s difficult to fathom such strong negativity directed at someone simply trying to share their art and connect with the community.

So, what can I do? I’m contemplating reaching out to my contacts in the Ulsan police department, though I fear they might see this as a trivial matter. But as this continues, I feel increasingly isolated and in need of support.

This is where I turn to you, my loyal followers and friends. I’m reaching out to ask for your help. If you have any information about the individuals behind these attacks, or if you can lend your support in any way—whether that’s by leaving a kind comment on my posts or simply spreading positivity in our community—it would mean the world to me.

I believe in the power of community, and I know that together we can foster a more supportive and uplifting environment. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for being a part of my journey. Your encouragement has always inspired me to keep creating, and I hope we can navigate this challenge together.

The post A Call for Support: Navigating Online Attacks as a Photographer in Ulsan appeared first on The Sajin.


Jason Teale 

Photographer, educator, podcaster

Podcast    Website    Instagram

Photographing Korea and the world beyond!

 

 

“You” in Korean – How to use it in formal and informal ways

A guy and a girl pointing to the front, a South Korean flagCurious about how to say “you” in Korean? The main word for “you” is 너 (neo) for informal situations and 당신 (dangsin) … “You” in Korean – How to use it in formal and informal ways The post “You” in Korean… CONTINUE READING

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Billy Go’s Korean Conversation Course | #15: Making Kimchi – 김장

This is a free course for practicing using real, natural Korean conversations. It's 20 episodes long, so that means there are only 5 more episodes remaining.

This episode is a natural conversation about making 김치, and involves a mother and her daughter.

The post Billy Go’s Korean Conversation Course | #15: Making Kimchi – 김장 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Sudasa Temple – 수다사 (Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

Resting In Front of the Daeung-jeon Hall at Sudasa Temple in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Temple History

Sudasa Temple is located in northwestern Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do in the southern foothills of Mt. Giyangsan (704.7 m). It’s believed that the temple was first founded by the monk Jingam-guksa (774-850 A.D.), during the reign of King Munseong of Silla (839-857 A.D.), after he saw a white lotus flowering on Mibong Peak. As a result, the temple was originally called Yeonhwasa Temple, which means “Lotus Flower Temple” in English.

Eventually, the temple would be destroyed by fire in 976 A.D. only to be rebuilt in 1185 by the monk Gakwon-daesa. In 1273, the temple was destroyed, once more, but this time by floods. And in 1572, the temple was rebuilt by Seosan-daesa (1520-1604) and Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610) and was renamed Sudasa Temple at this time. When the Imjin War (1592-98) broke out, more than 10,000 soldiers gathered at the temple. A fire broke out in 1704 that would destroy almost all of the buildings at the temple. The only shrine hall that survived was the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Currently, there are a handful of temple shrine halls at Sudasa Temple.

In total, Sudasa Temple is home to one Korean Treasure, which is the “Buddhist Painting of Sudasa Temple, Gumi (The Vulture Peak Assembly),” which is Korean Treasure #1638. In addition, Sudasa Temple is home to three additional provincial treasures. They are the “Wooden Seated Amitabha Buddha of Sudasa Temple, Gumi,” which is Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Heritage #334; the Myeongbu-jeon Hall of Sudasa Temple, which is Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Heritage #139; and the “Bronze Bell with Inscription of ‘the 37th Geollyung Year,'” which is Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Heritage #435.

Temple Layout

When first approaching the temple grounds, and after passing the simplistic Iljumun Gate, you’ll arrive at the temple parking lot. At the edge of the temple parking lot, you’ll find one of the largest and most jovial stone Podae-hwasang (Hempen Bag) statues in Korea. It’s past this stone greeting, and up a set of stairs, that you’ll enter the main temple courtyard at Sudasa Temple.

One of the first buildings to greet you at Sudasa Temple is the temple’s Myeongbu-jeon Hall, which is also the oldest shrine hall at the temple. The exterior walls are adorned with various Buddhist murals including a Dragon Ship of Wisdom, as well as depictions of the Underworld. Stepping inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, you’ll find a green-haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on an elevated pedestal. This image is then joined on either side by large, seated wooden statues of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). And if you look upwards, you’ll find some beautiful, wooden dragons up in the rafters. The Myeongbu-jeon Hall underwent general repairs in the mid-to-late 18th century.

To the left of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall is the Daeung-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to the main hall are adorned with vibrant Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find a triad of statues centred by Amita-bul (The Historical Buddha), who is joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). This statue of Amita-bul is the “Wooden Seated Amitabha Buddha of Sudasa Temple, Gumi,” which is Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Heritage #334. The statue dates back to 1649, and it was originally part of a triad. One of these statues, the image of Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul), is currently enshrined inside the Wontong-jeon Hall at Wongaksa Temple also in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do. As for the statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion), it’s believed to have been moved to another hermitage; however, its current location is unknown. The image of Amita-bul is carved from wood, covered in lacquer, and it’s been gilded.

Backing the “Wooden Seated Amitabha Buddha of Sudasa Temple, Gumi” is the “Buddhist Painting of Sudasa Temple, Gumi (The Vulture Peak Assembly).” This is Korean Treasure #1638, and it dates back to 1731, when it was first created by the monk-artist Doik and three other monks. The painting represents Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) surrounded by eight Bodhisattvas, Jeseok-bul (Indra), Beomcheon-bul (Brahma), ten Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha), the Four Heavenly Kings, and several of the Palbushin-jang (Eight Legions). All are posing in veneration of the central image of Seokgamoni-bul.

Between the Daeung-jeon Hall and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, and up a trail through a bamboo grove, is the temple’s Sanshin-gak Hall. Housed all alone inside this shaman shrine hall is a painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Sanshin is dressed all in red, and he’s joined by a large dongja (attendant), who appears to be carrying tea to the Mountain Spirit.

As for the Samseong-gak Hall, you’ll find it past the Daeung-jeon Hall and the Yosachae (monks dorms’). It’s over a bridge and up a set of stairs, that you’ll find this shaman shrine hall. The three shaman murals are more modern-looking than the mural of Sanshin found all alone in the Sanshin-gak Hall. This Sanshin, alongside Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) and Chilseong (The Seven Stars), sits in front of a peach tree and underneath a twisted red pine.

How To Get There

The easiest way to get to Sudasa Temple is from the Gumi Train Station. From this train station, you’ll need to take a taxi to get to Sudasa Temple. The drive should take about 35 minutes, and it’ll cost you around 30,000 won (one way).

Overall Rating: 6/10

Both Sanshin paintings at Sudasa Temple are stunning, and they nicely contrast in style. Not only is it rare to have two Sanshin paintings at a temple, it’s even rarer to have them differ in style. In addition to this shaman artwork, you can also enjoy the “Buddhist Painting of Sudasa Temple, Gumi (The Vulture Peak Assembly),” as well as the “Wooden Seated Amitabha Buddha of Sudasa Temple, Gumi.” Both of which are housed inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. While a bit out of the way, the natural surroundings only add to the overall feeling of the temple.

The jovial Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag) statue near the temple parking lot.
The Daeung-jeon Hall (left) and Myeongbu-jeon Hall (right).
The Dragon Ship of Wisdom painting that adorns the exterior of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.
As well as this mural depicting the underworld.
One of the Vajra warriors at the entrance to the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.
The main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.
One of the Palsang-do (Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals) that adorns the exterior of the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The “Buddhist Painting of Sudasa Temple, Gumi (The Vulture Peak Assembly).” (Picture courtesy of KHS, formerly CHA).
The “Wooden Seated Amitabha Buddha of Sudasa Temple, Gumi.” (Picture courtesy of KHS, formerly CHA).
The view from behind the Daeung-jeon Hall and Myeongbu-jeon Hall on your way towards the Sanshin-gak Hall.
The forested trail leading up to the Sanshin-gak Hall.
The Sanshin-gak Hall.
The painting of the Mountain Spirit inside the Sanshin-gak Hall.
The bridge you need to cross to get to the Samseong-gak Hall.
The Samseong-gak Hall.
The painting inside the Samseong-gak Hall of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).
Joined by this painting dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint).

Improve Your Korean Intonation | Korean FAQ

Korean intonation can be tricky, because it includes not just how you stress certain sounds or words, but it also includes how you might pronounce them and what pitch they have. In Korean pitch accent isn't essential to speaking fluent Korean, but there are some things related to intonation (including the pitch of a word) that can be useful to be aware of. Knowing how native Korean speakers pronounce words and use intonation will help you to sound more natural. In this video I give a summary of Korean intonation, as well as some tips for learning intonation and using it.

The post Improve Your Korean Intonation | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Duolingo Review – Features, Cost, & User Experience [2024]

Laptop screen showing a Korean flag and a Duolingo windowIf you’re into learning languages like Korean, choosing the right resource is crucial to efficient learning. Duolingo and 90 Day Korean are two well-known online learning resources.  Duolingo offers a gamified approach to language learning, making it fun and engaging. On the other… CONTINUE READING

Cheokpanam Hermitage – 척판암 (Gijang-gun, Busan)

Cheokpanam Hermitage in Gijang-gun, Busan.

Hermitage History

Cheokpanam Hermitage is located to the south of Mt. Bulgwangsan (350.3 m) in northeastern Gijang-gun, Busan. Cheokpanam Hermitage is located on the Jangansa Temple grounds. Cheokpanam Hermitage was first founded in 673 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). Initially, the temple was known as Damunsa Temple.

According to a legend written in the “Songgoseungjeon – 僧傳 宋,” there were 1,000 Chinese monks worshiping at Taehwasa Temple in Tang China (618–690, 705–907 A.D.). They were in danger of being buried at the temple because of torrential rain and the potential for a landslide. Upon realizing this, and as Wonhyo-daesa was putting his hands together during a pre-ceremony, he saw the beams of the main hall at Taehwasa Temple rotting and collapsing. To announce this emergency, Wonhyo-daesa wrote down eight characters “효척판이구중 – 曉擲板而救衆” on a wooden board and threw it up in the air. Mysteriously, this wooden board appeared to the 1,000 monks at Taehwasa Temple in Tang China. As a result, they all ran out of the shrine hall. After they had all exited the temple, a landslide destroyed the shrine hall. However, because of the wooden signboard, which read “Throwing the board, Wonhyo saves the people,” Wonhyo-daesa did in fact save the 1,000 monks at the temple. Because of this, the 1,000 monks sought Wonhyo-daesa. These 1,000 monks would eventually become Wonhyo-daesa’s 1,000 disciples.

As a result of this, the name of the temple changed from Damunsa Temple to that of Cheokpanam Hermitage to commemorate the events surrounding Wonhyo-daesa and his 1,000 disciples; all of which, would gain enlightenment. Afterwards, Jangansa Temple was built in the valley below Cheokpanam Hermitage.

Very little is known about the hermitage until it was rebuilt by the monk Gyeongheo (1849-1912) in 1938. It’s unclear if this is the famous Gyeongheo; but if it is, the date of the hermitage’s rebuilding and the date of Gyeongheo’s death just don’t quite match. Cheokpanam Hermitage was maintained as a hermitage directly associated with Jangansa Temple until it recently became independent. In 1972, the monk Gyeongun built a three-story pagoda and enshrined five of the Buddha’s sari (crystallized remains) inside it. Purportedly, these sari were first enshrined at Gwaneumsa Temple in Jeju-do. The sari were given to Gyeongun from the abbot of Gwaneumsa Temple.

Cheokpanam Hermitage is home to just one treasure. It’s the “Stone Seated Buddha of Cheokpanam Hermitage,” which is designated as Busan City’s Cultural Hermitage Material #41.

Hermitage Layout

You’ll first approach Cheokpanam Hermitage up a long, winding road that gets quite steep at the end. Along the way, you’ll pass by another of Jangansa Temple’s hermitages: Baekryunam Hermitage. When you do eventually arrive at the outskirts of the hermitage grounds, you’ll be welcomed by a golden statue of Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag). Behind this golden statue, and slightly to the left, you’ll find a set of stairs that lead up to a shrine dedicated to both Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). Both paintings and statues dedicated to these two shaman deities are enclosed behind a glass enclosure, so you probably won’t get the best pictures in the world.

Back at the hermitage parking lot, and around the monks’ dorms, you’ll find the modern three-story pagoda that houses the Buddha’s five sari, as well as a diminutive Yongwang-dang Hall. The three-story pagoda is conventional in design reminiscent of the simplistic Silla-era pagoda design. As for the Yongwang-dang Hall, it houses a statue of Yongwang (The Dragon King), which is backed by a stunning mural of the shaman deity. Yongwang is joined by a pair of dragons: one yellow and one blue.

A little beyond this, and you’ll find the largest structure at the hermitage. The structure is a three-in-one building. The first section, to the right, is the administrative office at Cheokpanam Hermitage. The section to the left is the shrine hall dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa. There is a painting of Wonhyo-daesa that hangs on the back wall.

As for the centre section, it’s the Geukrak-jeon Hall at Cheokpanam Hermitage. There is a main altar triad inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall centred by the “Stone Seated Buddha of Cheokpanam Hermitage.” The stone Buddha, of what appears to be Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise), measures 37.5 cm in height. Additionally, it has a squarish face that’s relatively larger than its body. It also has a serene expression on its face. Both of its hands rest on its knees. Based upon its design, it’s believed to date back to the late Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Recently, the statue had been refurbished, as it had been burned before. To the left and right of this central image are statues dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Hanging on the far right wall is a stunning, modern Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). And to the left of the main altar, you’ll find a mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). As for the exterior of this shrine hall, you’ll find a mural dedicated to the events surrounding Wonhyo-daesa and his 1,000 disciples.

To the left of this large building, and down a few stone stairs, you’ll find the entry gate at Cheokpanam Hermitage. If you walked up to the hermitage, you would pass through this entry gate first. The doors to this gate are adorned with a pair of Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors).

How To Get There

To get to Cheokpanam Hermitage, you’ll first need to get to Jangansa Temple. The least complicated way to get to Jangansa Temple is by bus. This bus is rather difficult to get to by public transit; but if you take City Bus #181 at the Centum City subway station (#206), Haeundae subway station (#203), or the Bexco subway station (#205), you’ll be able to catch a connecting bus to Jangansa Temple. From City Bus #181, get off at the Gijang-sijang station. From here, board Town Bus #9 called a Maeul Bus. From this bus, you’ll be able to arrive at Jangansa Temple. Just to the west of the Jangansa Temple parking lot, you’ll find the entry to the mountain road that leads up to Cheokpanam Hermitage. If you’re walking, it’ll take about 20 minutes, with the last 200 metres being quite steep. But if you have a car, it’ll only take 5 minutes.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Cheokpanam Hermitage is located on a tiny ledge. As a result, there isn’t the most to see. However, there’s more than enough, including the hilltop Sanshin/Dokseog-gak Hall, the three-story pagoda, and the “Stone Seated Buddha of Cheokpanam Hermitage.” And when you include the views and the close proximity to Jangansa Temple, Cheokpanam Hermitage makes for a very nice little visit.

The golden Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag) at the entry of the hermitage.
The view.
The monks’ dorms and the three-story pagoda at Cheokpanam Hermitage.
A fuller view of the three-story pagoda that houses five sari (crystallized remains) of the Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul.
The Yongwang-dang Hall.
A look at Yongwang (The Dragon King) inside the shaman shrine hall.
The entry to the Geukrak-jeon Hall.
The “Stone Seated Buddha of Cheokpanam Hermitage.”
Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) from a different angle.
The Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.
The painting dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) at Cheokpanam Hermitage.
A large tree in front of the hermitage grounds.
The entry gate at Cheokpanam Hermitage.
One of the Geumgang-yeoksa (Vajra Warriors) that adorns the doors of the entry gates at the hermitage.
And another painting that adorns the entry gate at the hermitage.

Unsuam Hermitage – 운수암 (Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

Unsuam Hermitage on the Jikjisa Temple Grounds in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hermitage History

Unsuam Hermitage is located on the Jikjisa Temple grounds in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The hermitage is beautifully located near the peak of Mt. Hwangaksan (1,111.3 m), and to the west of Jikjisa Temple. It’s unclear when the hermitage was first founded. Unsuam Hermitage is one of seven hermitages on the Jikjisa Temple grounds.

Hermitage Layout

From the hermitage parking lot, you’ll follow the road up towards the hermitage grounds first to the left and then to the right. The first building to greet you at Unsuam Hermitage are the monks’ dorms and the hermitage’s kitchen. Beyond this, you’ll find the main hall at the hermitage.

The exterior of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall is adorned with various Buddhist related murals that include the Bodhidharma and Dazu Huike (487-593 A.D.). On either side of the main hall’s front signboard, you’ll find two ferocious dragon-heads. Additionally, if you look up at the roof of the structure, you’ll find golden Gwimyeon (Monster Masks). Stepping inside the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall, there’s a main altar triad underneath a large, red datjib (canopy). The central image of this triad is Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise), who is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). To the right of the main altar is a large, modern Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

Out in front of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall, you’ll find a three-story pagoda that looks to be a blend of both new and old. The base of the pagoda looks much older than the body of the stone structure. As for the roof stones of the pagoda, and like the base, they appear to be older in composition. It’s unknown just how old they might be. And between this pagoda and the main hall, you’ll find a pair of modern seokdeung (stone lanterns).

To the right of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall, and up a pathway, you’ll find the Sanshin-gak Hall. The exterior walls of this shaman shrine hall are adorned with murals of white cranes, a Sanshin-like figure, and two Sinseon (Taoist Immortals). Stepping inside the Sanshin-gak Hall, you’ll find a stunning older mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Sanshin holds a wooden staff, while the tiger at his side has an almost inquisitive expression on its face.

How To Get There

From the Gimcheon train station, you can catch local buses to Jikjisa Temple. You can catch Bus #11, #111, or #112 from the Intercity Bus Terminal that’s next to the train station parking lot. The bus ride should take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to get to Jikjisa Temple. You can take a bus, or you can simply take a taxi. And if you’re traveling in a group, perhaps this mode of transportation is preferable. The taxi ride should cost about 10,000 won (one way). From where the bus drops you off at the bus stop, the walk up to the temple takes about fifteen minutes. From Jikjisa Temple, you’ll need to continue west. The hermitage signs along the way should guide you the rest of the way. In total, the hike should take about one hour over 2 kilometres mostly uphill.

Overall Rating: 3.5/10

Unsuam Hermitage is a smaller hermitage with just a couple of shrine halls for visitors to explore. But both of these shrine halls are quite nice both inside and out. The exterior of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall is stunning. And the main altar triad inside rests under one of the more impressive datjib (canopy) that you’ll find at any temple or hermitage in Korea. The mural dedicated to Sanshin inside the Sanshin-gak Hall is quite impressive. And there’s also a nice view of the valley below to enjoy, as well.

Heading up to the hermitage grounds.
The view of the valley below from Unsuam Hermitage.
A look towards the hermitage grounds at Unsuam Hermitage.
A stunning painting that adorns the monks’ dorms.
The Geukrakbo-jeon Hall and the oldish-new three-story pagoda.
Just the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall.
The two fierce dragon-heads on either side of the main hall’s signboard.
One of the paintings that adorns the main hall. This one is dedicated to the Bodhidharma and Dazu Huike.
The main altar inside the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall.
The Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) inside the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall.
The view from the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall.
Making your way up towards the Sanshin-gak Hall at the side of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall.
The Sanshin-gak Hall.
The Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) painting inside the shaman shrine hall.

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