Geumyongam Hermitage – 금용암 (Dongnae, Busan)
Hello Again Everyone!!
Geumyongam Hermitage is located on the southern slopes of Mt. Geumjeongsan (801.5m). The hermitage lies just east of the very busy Mandeok Tunnel on the far western part of Dongnae in central Busan.
Geumyongam Hermitage is situated up a small road after exiting the much larger and busier bend in the road along the first of Mandeok’s tunnels. The small hermitage’s road zigs and zags its way up the mountain, until you eventually come to the hermitage’s grounds. The first thing to greet you is a mature bamboo forest to your right and the hermitage’s kitchen and visitors centre to your left.
Past both, you’ll see the temple’s main hall in the elevated courtyard to the rear of the hermitage’s facilities. The exterior walls to the main hall are adorned with fading Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals in a blue pastel hue. Stepping inside the main hall, and sitting all alone on the main altar inside a glass enclosure, is a golden statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). To the right of the main altar is the hermitage’s Shinjung Taenghwa, guardian mural. And to the left is a colourful mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Adorning the interior of the main hall are various Buddhist motif murals like the Bodhidharma in the back left corner and a pair of painted screens that flank the main altar.
To the left rear of the main hall is a smaller sized shrine dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). The stone statue of the Buddha is surrounded by a beautiful nimbus. There is another shrine, but it seems to have been taken down.
To the left of this former shrine, and next to a small mountain stream, you’ll find a set of stone stairs that leads up to the temple’s Sanshin/Chilseong-gak. Interestingly, there are two separate entries to this shaman shrine hall: the one to the right is for Chilseong (The Seven Stars), while the door to the left is meant for Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). However, once you step inside this shaman shrine hall, you’ll notice that there is also a mural dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) hanging on the far right wall. In the centre hangs a red mural of Chilseong. And to the far left, you’ll see a rather regal image of Sanshin. The exterior walls to the Sanshin/Chilseong-gak are adorned with beautiful floral and dragon paintings.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Dongnae subway stop, Line 1, subway stop #125, you’ll need to go through exit #3 to get a taxi. From this station, it’ll take 7 minutes, or 3 kilometres, and cost 4,100 won.
OVERALL RATING: 4/10. Geumyongam Hermitage is beautifully located. It has an eerie feel to it because of the mature trees that surround and envelop the hermitage at times. The artwork in and around the hermitage grounds are beautiful including the Sanshin mural and the Shimu-do murals.