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Mount Geumjeongsan is a very popular hiking destination in Busan, and sitting along its path is a majestic Beomeosa Temple. The ancient temple is definitely eyecatching with its unique oriental structure. Beomeosa Temple is one of three major Buddhist temples in Korea along with Tongdosa Temple and Haeinsa Temple. In addition, it also earned its title as the 'Great Headquarters Temple of Seon Buddhism' for its Seon teachings that have been practiced by the temple monks for centuries. The gorgeous architecture of Bemeosa Temple blends well with the natural beauty of Mount Geumjeongsan. There are so many charming points of this ancient temple you're about to find out.
Discover 6 Hidden Charms of Beomeosa Temple
Have you been wondering how Beomeosa Temple received its name? Well, it is more like a local folklore that have been passed down for generations. Like many folklores, there are many versions about how Beomeosa Temple received its name. But the most famous one was about a well with golden-colored water that never dries up. The magical well was said to be found on the mountain where the temple is standing now. A golden fish was said to descend from Heaven and lived inside the well ever since. The name Beomeosa derives from the word 'Beom' which means 'nirvana', 'eo' that means fish, and 'sa' for a temple, literally translated as 'Heavenly Fish Temple'. Second version of the legend was said to be related to the reign of King Munmu from Silla Dynasty. He who was threatened by the Japanese army's upcoming invasion was visited by a mountain guardian spirit. The spirit told him to climb on the Mount Geumjeongsan and pray there for 7 days. His intense praying reached the Nirvana and with the help of a priest named Uisangdaesa and God's help, the King managed to thwart the Japanese's invaders from his kingdom. The king was later instructed the priest to build a temple as a sign of gratitude. The temple was later named as Beomeosa Temple.
Under the instruction from King Munmu of Silla Dynasty, Beomeosa Temple was established on 360 gyeol of land and it boast about 360 dormitory rooms for the priests and the monks. But the historical temple suffered great damages during Imjin War that was ignited when the Japanese troops invade the country. The renovation didn't occur until a priest decided to take it as his duty in 1613. He renovated some of the Dharma Halls and also the dormitory, and the project was taken over by other priests and monks in the following years.
One thing that is flourishes inside Beomeosa Temple for centuries is its Seon Buddhism teachings. Seon, a dynamic meditation method that is almost equal to Zen in Japanese culture. Taught by Gyeongheo, Seongwol, and the abbot of Beomeosa, the teachings are widespread among Beomeosa Temple and its eleven hermitages. You can even see the monks practicing Seon meditation during your visit. Beomeosa Temple is also famous for its Sunmudo martial art techniques. This self-defense technique is known to be able to kick the Japanese army away when they once again tried to invade the temple between 1930 to 1940.
Il Ju Mun will be the first unique thing about Beomeosa Temple's structure that will immediately catch your attention. Il Ju Mun Gate is the first structure you'll see before you enter the temple. The gate is a representation of the physical boundary between our everyday life and the spiritual world. Upon entering, you'll be asked to leave your secular thoughts and also your worldly sufferings. Il Ju Mun Gate is also called 'The One Pillar Gate', though the fact is the gate is supported with four pillars. It is named so because the four pillars are all arranged in a single row. If you're looking at the gate from the side, it looks like the gate is only supported with one pillar.
While the original Daeungjeon or Beomeosa's Main Hall was largely destroyed in 1592, the restoration project that took place in 1614 returned it to its former glory. The Daeungjeon is one of Joseon Dynasty's greatest wooden craft masterpieces. It consists of an altar housing a large Buddha statue. Daeungjeon derives from Mahabira, Indians' honorific term given to Buddha.
Literally means 'Blue Lotus Hermitage', Cheongnyeonam Hermitage is a perfect destination to be paired with your visit to Beomeosa Temple. It is located on the right side of the main temple, and that makes the hermitage the closest one of all eleven hermitages scattered in Mount Geumjeongsan. The hermitage is filled with bronze Buddha statues with a large golden Buddha statue on the top. You can see scenes of monks practicing Sunmudo adorning the entire halls. The hermitage is afterall, one of hermitages in Beomeosa Temple where they practice the martial arts on daily basis.
How to Get Tickets?
Beomeosa Temple is a charming temple in Busan that can be visited for free.
How To Get Around?
Beomeosa Temple is a great place to be explored on foot. Definitely spend some of your time to explore other hermitages located nearby the temple.
What Should I Wear?
Beomeosa Temple is a very sacred and important praying site. Wear clothes that are not too revealing, better keep your tanktop or hotpants for a day at the beach.
Best Time to Visit
Beomeosa Temple is even more charming on May. It's the season where the valley is blanketed with wisteria blossoms. It is an incredibly rare breathtaking view that you possibly won't find in the entire Korea. Thus, May is the best time to enjoy the full magical charm of Beomeosa Temple.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, you won't need a guide. All informations you need about Beomeosa Temple can be found easily in our website.
How To Get There?
Beomeosa Temple is located within hiking route of Mount Geumjeongsan. To get there, you can take Bus number 90 and alight at the first stop from Beomeosa Temple subway station. You can find the bus if you exit from Exit 5 or Exit 7. The bus will takes you directly until the temple's entrance. Alternatively you can also take a taxi for a much more convenient way, but of course you'll have to prepare more cash If you are a hiker, you can reach the temple by following the hiking route. It might takes time between 40 minutes to one hour.
Definitely try to stay overnight or two to experience the true Buddha's monastic culture. Like many other Buddhist temples, Beomeosa Temple offer a templestay program that can be booked online in advanced. You can participate in the temple's activities including joining the Seon meditations.