On the south-west side of Jeju-do Island, and in the shadows of Mt. Sanbangsan and Sanbanggulsa Temple, is Bomunsa Temple. In fact, in order to get to Sanbanggulsa Temple, you’ll first need to pass through the Bomunsa Temple grounds. Bomunsa Temple has a commanding view of the South Sea and the southwestern coastline of Jeju-do Island.
You first approach Bomunsa Temple past a crowded parking lot and up a set of wide stone stairs. Bomunsa Temple, much like the famed mountain that it rests upon, is frequented by busloads of visitors. The first thing to greet you inside the temple courtyard is the stone statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). There’s also a beautiful five-story stone pagoda that has a dharma wheel at its base that reads “Eightfold Path” on it. As for the main hall itself, the Daeung-jeon Hall, there’s a triad of statues resting on the main altar centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) and Gwanseeum-bosal. Also resting on the main altar are hundreds of smaller sized white Buddha statues. And to the far left of the main altar, you’ll find a black Gamno-do (Sweet Dew Mural) for the dead.
To the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and past the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) and visitors’ centre, sits a line of stone Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). From where these statues sit, you get an amazing view of the South Sea. A little further along, and you’ll come across the Samseong-gak Hall. The murals inside this shaman shrine hall are rather plain, but the cave shrine hall is anything but ordinary.
One of the final things a visitor can see at Bomunsa Temple is the massive, golden statue dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). Yaksayeorae-bul serenely looks towards the Daeung-jeon Hall and welcomes any and all visitors to the temple. This statue of Yaksayeorae-bul was installed at the temple in 2010. Just a little up the mountainside, and you’ll see the peak of Mt. Sanbangsan. Also in this area, you’ll see a shrine with life-sized stone statues dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul, Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power), and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). It’s also from this part of the temple that you’ll find the trailhead that leads you up towards Sanbanggulsa Temple.
How To Get There
From the Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take Bus #702 for twenty-two stops. The bus ride takes about an hour and ten minutes, and you’ll need to get off at the Sanbangsan bus stop. From this stop, you’ll be able to see the temple on the neighbouring mountainside with the golden Yaksayeorae-bul statue to the right.
Overall Rating: 5/10
The real reason you’ve probably traveled to this part of Jeju-do Island is to see Mt. Sanbangsan and Sanbanggulsa Temple. However, along the way you’ll need to pass through Bomunsa Temple to get to the aforementioned destinations. So Bomunsa Temple makes for a nice little addition while you’re in the area. You get to see a beautiful Gamno-do mural, as well as a beautiful statue dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul and a cave Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.