South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Samgwangsa (삼광사)- A Buddhist Temple in the Hillside of Busan

Contrary to the classic notion that a temple must be somewhere remote, or in the middle of forest or even on the top of the mountain, Samgwangsa Temple, I must say is a breaker of that stigma. Not only it is located near the city, you can actually view the whole city when you are up there. Yes, “UP THERE” because although it's near the city, the temple is located in the hillside of the Baekyang mountain in Busan. Don't worry, you don't need to hike to reach the temple, they built a concrete road that lead to the gate of the temple so that elder followers of Buddha can go to the temple and pray. It is open 24 hours, so you could go up there any time of the day or night to pay respect to Buddha.

So here are the 7 remarkable things you can see/experience at Samgwangsa Temple.

1. The statue of Buddha

statue_buddha_samgwangsa
The statue of Buddha at Samgwangsa
Of course, the celebrity of this temple is no other than, the Big Boss, Buddha. This is his temple and as an homage to him, they built a big statue of him as if he is the big brother looking at the faithful worshipers.

2. The temple shrine and the 10 storey pagoda

The shrine of Samgwangsa
The shrine of Samgwangsa

What looks like a resting area from afar is actually a shrine where followers of Buddha can get to worship the Big Boss. I was sitting calmly at the waiting area and observed the patrons of the temple. Most of them were elderly women and I saw how they fervently prayed to Buddha at this shrine. The small 10 storey pagoda beside the temple is an additional attraction aside from its religious use.


3. The repentance stair

The repentance stair
The repentance stair
In this temple, you don't need to see the monks to confess for your sins and ask forgiveness. Just climb this stair and you will be forgiven. However, it's a steep stair with probably hundreds of steps. Climbing the stair requires more effort and energy. In exchange for your sacrifice and your hardship in climbing the steps, your sins will be washed away and will be forgiven.


4. The Healing Fountain


The healing fountain
The healing fountain
Now, here's an interesting part of the temple, the healing fountain. They believe that  if you drink from this spring water, you will be healed of whatever sickness you carry. By sickness, they meant not only the physical level but also in all other aspects of your life.

5. The city view

City view of Busan from the Temple
City view of Busan from the Temple

What set this temple apart from other temples is that, it is situated by the hillside where you can see the whole city of Busan from up there. While you're praying or keeping yourself away from the noise of the city, you will feel like you've never really been away from the city because you can still see it from up there. However, the serenity of the place is still there because city noise could not penetrate the area.


6. The statue at the garden

The statue at the garden of Samgwansa
The statue at the garden of Samgwansa
The garden on the other side of the temple is an added attraction and at the same time a contributor of the serenity in the general ambiance of the place. There's spring water coming out from the mouth of a what looks like a statue of the dragon. A more than human size statue of some religious characters all related to Buddhism.

7. The overwhelming monastery

The Samgwangsa monastery
The Samgwangsa monastery
Nested by the hill of the mountain is an enormous building with magnificent design you couldn't help but look up to it and be amazed with its grandeur. Who would have thought they could build a monastery as big as this in this side of the world?

Whether you go there for spiritual purpose or just for a tour, I would guarantee that you will feel relax when you visit this temple. To go there, get off at Busan Station and go to Exit 10. From the Exit 10, go to the bus stop in front of the exit and take Bus No. 81 and get off at Samgwangsa Temple Entrance Bus Stop.


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