Bohyeonsa Temple – 보현사 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do)

The beautiful view from Bohyeonsa Temple in Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Temple History

Bohyeonsa Temple is a modern temple located in the western part of Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do on Mt. Sutaesan (574.7 m). Bohyeonsa Temple is named after the Bodhisattva of Power, Bohyeon-bosal. The temple was first established in 1983 by the monk Jeongcheon, who was a disciple of Cheongdam (1902-1971). Cheongdam was the abbot of the neighbouring Munsuam Hermitage, which looks down on Bohyeonsa Temple from its mountainous heights.

Temple Layout

From the large temple parking lot, you’ll approach the stately Iljumun Gate. Past this entry gate is the lone shrine hall at Bohyeonsa Temple. This solitary shrine hall is a modern three-story structure. And on top of this three-story structure is the ever present image of a golden statue dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha).

Up a long gravel pathway, you’ll finally come to the front doors to one of the temple’s shrine halls. Housed inside this hall is a solitary picture dedicated to the founding monk at Bohyeonsa Temple. But before entering this shrine hall, you’ll find a pair of book-ending statues, one small and one medium in height, dedicated to Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). Also, you’ll find a pair of paintings framing the entryway to the hall: one of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and one dedicated to Bohyeon-bosal.

To the left and right of the main hall are sets of stairs. Up the right set of stairs are a pair of paintings. The first is dedicated to the Bodhidharma and Dazu Huike (487-593 A.D.), while the second mural is dedicated to Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) and Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.). As for the left set of stairs, you’ll find a mural dedicated to the Bodhidharma. After ascending either set of stairs, you’ll come to the second floor of the modern structure. Here you’ll find the main hall at Bohyeonsa Temple. On the main altar, the sumidan, is a triad centred by Yaksayeorae-bul. This central image is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).

Once again, and to the left and right of the second story main hall, are a two more sets of stairs. This set leads up to the third, and final, floor that houses the massive statue dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul. If you head up the right set of stairs, you’ll find a rather atypical painting dedicated to a Shinseon (Taoist Immortal), as well as a vibrant painting dedicated to Jijang-bosal. However, if you decide to head up the left set of stairs, you’ll find an angelic Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deity), as well as an image of the Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag) playing and surrounded by children. There’s also a painting dedicated to Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva that Protects the Buddha’s Teachings), as well.

Finally standing on the third story of the structure, you’ll first notice the massive seated image dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul; and perhaps from a distance it doesn’t seem quite as large, but up-close it’s pretty big. The circular enclosure is adorned with murals dedicated to the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha), as well as the Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life). Fronting the massive statue of Yaksayeorae-bul is a smaller statue of the Buddha of Medicine, as well as bronze incense burners. Additionally, and opposite the open area on the third floor, there’s an enclosed area where people can pray when it’s either raining or during the winter months.

Outside the aforementioned enclosed area, there are a pair of doors that lead out towards an observation area. From this area you get some pretty amazing views like Munsuam Hermitage off in the distance, the black waters of the East Sea, as well as the tiny islands that dot the horizon. Adorning the walls of this observation area are the Shimu-do (Ox-Herding Murals). Take your time up here because the views are really second-to-none in all of Korea.

How To Get There

From the Goseong Intercity Bus Terminal, there is really only one realistic way to get to Bohyeonsa Temple and that is by taxi. From the Goseong Intercity Bus Terminal to Bohyeonsa Temple, it’ll take 20 minutes over 15 km, and it’ll cost you 23,000 won (one way).

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

By far, the view at Bohyeonsa Temple is the main highlight. It’s surrounded by the beautiful sea and towering mountains. Other than the view, it’s the murals that stand out, as well as the neighbouring Munsuam Hermitage. While lesser known and modern in design, you won’t regret visiting Bohyeonsa Temple, especially if you’re visiting Munsuam Hermitage, as well. So take the better part of a day and see what Goseong and Bohyeonsa Temple have to offer.

The view from Munsuam Hermitage towards Bohyeonsa Temple.
The Iljumun Gate at the entry to Bohyeonsa Temple.
A look back towards Munsuam Hermitage.
A walk up to the modern Bohyeonsa Temple.
The first floor Josa-jeon Hall.
The second floor Yaksa-jeon Hall.
The first painting from the Palsang-do (Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life).
The Bodhidharma (right) and Dazu Huike (left).
Wonhyo-daesa (left) and Uisang-daesa (right).
The large Yaksayeorae-bul statue on the third floor of the shrine hall.
From a different angle.
An up-close look at Yaksayeorae-bul.
And one last look at the Buddha of Medicine.

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