Haeinjeongsa Temple – 해인정사 (Saha-gu, Busan)

The View from the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall at Haeinjeongsa Temple in Saha-gu, Busan.

Temple History

Haeinjeongsa Temple is located in Saha-gu, Busan. It’s located on the lower south-western slopes of Mt. Gudeoksan (545.3 m). Haeinjeongsa Temple is a modern temple. It first started being built in August, 1999. It has an overall size of 5,000 pyeong, or nearly 16,529 square metres. The first of the temple structures to be built was the main hall, the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall, which started to be built in June, 2000. And the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall was completed in 2003. In total, there are half a dozen temple shrine halls for visitors to explore at Haeinjeongsa Temple.

Temple Layout

To get to the temple, you’ll first need to ascend a steep road that leads you towards the temple parking lot. To get there, you’ll need to pass under a high vaulted ceiling for the Boje-ru Pavilion. The ceiling of this pavilion is painted with beautiful dragon and Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) murals.

Making your way up to the main temple courtyard, you’ll pass by the temple’s administrative office and kitchen. Ascending a set of stairs, you’ll finally enter into the main temple courtyard. Straight ahead of you is the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall. As you approached the elevated main hall, you’ll notice the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) to your back. This is the upper portion of the Boje-ru Pavilion that you first passed through on your way up to the main temple courtyard. It’s also from this vantage point that you get some amazing views of the southwest-end of Busan off in the distance.

As for the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall, its exterior walls are adorned with an assortment of golden Buddha and Bodhisattva murals. Stepping inside the main hall, you’ll notice seven statues taking up residence on the main altar. The central image, as the name of the shrine hall already hints at, is that of Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). This central image is flanked by two large seated statues of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) and Nosana-bul (The Perfect Body Buddha).

To the left of the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this temple shrine hall are adorned with various murals like the frightening Judgment Murals that include images of Agwi (Hungry Ghosts) and Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). The interior to the Myeongbu-jeon Hall is rather cavernous but plain. The central image on the main altar is a statue of Jijang-bosal with a golden scroll in its hand. Interestingly, the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld) are absent from the interior of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.

And to the right of the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall, and joined by the monks dorms to the far right, is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. All of the exterior walls to the Gwaneum-jeon Hall are adorned with various incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). These murals include some of the thirty-three incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal. As for the main altar inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, and much like the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, you’ll only find a solitary statue on the main altar. This is a golden statue of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The other two shrine halls that visitors can explore at Haeinjeongsa Temple are to the left of the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall. One is the rather underwhelming Yongwang-dang Hall, which is dedicated to Yongwang (the Dragon King). And the other shaman shrine hall is the Sanshin-gak Hall, which is dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). These bunker-like structures look out of place next to the brilliantly designed Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall.

How To Get There

To get to Haeinjeongsa Temple, you’ll first need to get to Goejeong Subway Station, stop #105, on line one of the Busan subway system. From there, you should take a taxi, because the roads that lead up to the temple are both confusing and steep. It should only cost you about 3,000 won to get to Haeinjeongsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Haeinjeongsa Temple is one of the more complicated temples to rate. Because it’s harder to get to, and it has two dilapidated shaman shrine halls, it isn’t the best; however, with that being said, the newly constructed Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall, the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall help to elevate the overall rating of this newly constructed temple in Busan. Also, the spectacular views of southwestern Busan help add to the overall aesthetic of Haeinjeongsa Temple. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that Haeinjeongsa Temple is a bit of a mixed bag of sorts; but by far, the architecturally good outweighs the architecturally bad.

Passing under the Boje-ru Pavilion at Haeinjeongsa Temple.
The second-story Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion).
The Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall (right) and Myeongbu-jeon Hall (left).
The main altar inside the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall.
The beautiful view from the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall out towards the city of Busan.
Inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.
A look inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
Jijang-bosal with a tissue.
The bunker-like shaman shrine halls dedicated to Yongwang (bottom) and Sanshin (top).

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