Jukrimsa Temple – 죽림사 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

Part of a Modern Stupa at Jukrimsa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Temple History

Jukrimsa Temple is located in the southern foothills of Mt. Yubongsan (245.1 m) in southern Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. It’s believed that the temple was first built in 809 A.D., but the exact history of the temple is unknown. The only details that we really know is that Jukrimsa Temple was destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-98) and then later rebuilt. There were several reconstructions conducted on the temple during the 1800s. However, during the Korean War (1950-53), the temple was destroyed. After a few decades, Jukrimsa Temple was built, once more, starting in 1990. In the ensuing years, the Daeung-jeon Hall, the Samseong-gak Hall, the Eungjin-jeon Hall, and the Yosachae (monks’ dorms) were built at the temple.

Jukrimsa Temple is home to a Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Property, which is the main altar triad inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

Temple Layout

About a kilometre and a half up a mountain road is Jukrimsa Temple. The first thing to greet you at the temple is the stately Iljumun Gate with stout, stone pillars. A little further up the road, but before you arrive at the temple grounds, you’ll notice a pair of ornate stupas to your right. These modern stupas are near replicas of the one found at Seonamsa Temple on Mt. Baekyangsan in Busan-jin, Busan. These stupas are adorned with decorative dragons, elephants, tigers, Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities), as well as an image of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And just beyond these large, ornate stupas are a row of older stupas.

With a slight incline in the mountain road, you’ll finally near the outskirts of the main temple grounds. Up an uneven set of stone stairs, you’ll make your way under the two-story Boje-ru Pavilion. The first story acts as an entry to the main temple courtyard, while the second story acts as a lecture hall for larger dharma talks. The pavilion is adorned in simplistic dancheong colours, while being surrounded on all sides by rose bushes, Japanese maples, and various shrubs.

Now standing squarely in the main temple courtyard, you’ll find a three-story pagoda out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall. There is a stone barrier surrounding the pagoda with stone lotus images on all sides of the structure. The pagoda is modern, while also reminiscent of a Silla-era design. To your left, you’ll find the monks’ dorms, while straight ahead of you is the Daeung-jeon Hall. Out in front of the main hall are a collection of stone statues. To the far left is an image dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). Joining this statue in this area are three statues embodying the idea of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” And to the far right, you’ll find a stone triad centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise).

Surrounding the exterior walls of the Daeung-jeon Hall are a collection of simple Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life). Stepping inside the main hall, and resting on the main altar, is the Gyeongsangbuk-do Tangible Cultural Property. The main altar triad is centred by an image dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). And joining this central image on either side are statues dedicated to Jijang-bosal and Gwanseeum-bosal. The statue of Seokgamoni-bul stands 1.33 metres in height. The statue has a robust chest with smooth shoulders. Its robe hangs over only one shoulder. It’s believed that the statue dates back to the early Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Additionally, the statue had damage to both its neck and face, which has subsequently been repaired. Also, the statue has two new hands. Overall, the statue is both stately and imposing. There are a couple murals that hang inside the Daeung-jeon Hall like the Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) that hangs on the far left wall, as well as the red mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal on the far right wall. Rather interestingly, and to the bottom left of the mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal, are a collection of pictures. The far left picture is of Park Chung Hee (1917-79, the central picture is that of his wife, Yuk Young-soo (1925-74), and the final picture is of Roh Moo-hyun (1946-2009).

To the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find two temple shrine halls. The first of these two is the Samseong-gak Hall. The exterior walls are adorned in simple dancheong colours. Stepping inside the shaman shrine hall, you’ll find three different murals. These murals consist of one dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), another dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), and the final dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). And the other shrine hall that visitors can explore at Jukrimsa Temple is the Eungjin-jeon Hall to the left of the Samseong-gak Hall. Housed inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall is an all-white main altar triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul and joined on either side by images of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) and Yeondeung-bul (The Past Buddha). And on either side of this main altar triad are white images of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha).

How To Get There

There are no direct buses that go to Jukrimsa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. So the most direct way to get to the temple is by taxi from the Yeongcheon Intercity Bus Terminal. The bus ride will take about 15 minutes and cost about 10,000 won.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

While there isn’t one huge highlight at Jukrimsa Temple, there are several smaller ones like the two ornate modern stupas at the entry of the temple grounds, the main altar triad inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, and the shaman paintings and Nahan statues inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall. The temple grounds are quite tranquil, as well.

The Iljumun Gate at the entry of Jukrimsa Temple.
The wonderfully ornate modern stupa at the temple.
A close-up of one of the Bicheon (a Flying Heavenly Deity) reliefs that adorns the side of the stupa.
The ornate modern stupa from a different angle.
And an up-close of the decorative dragon that adorns the stupa.
The Boje-ru Pavilion at Jukrimsa Temple.
A beautiful red rose next to the entry gate.
A look through the first floor of the two-story Boje-ru Pavilion.
The modern three-story pagoda and Daeung-jeon Hall at Jukrimsa Temple.
The three statues dedicated to the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” motif.
A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The Samseong-gak Hall.
The Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural housed inside the shaman shrine hall.
The Eungjin-jeon Hall.
And a look inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall.