Busan never fails to surprise me with its hidden gems and warm, familiar feeling. It feels like home, perhaps I lived here in a past life? Anything is possible. Recently, I visited a place of peace and stillness, with the lingering scent of incense. Hidden in the Geumjeong Mountain foothills, guarded by the spirits of the forest is Beomeosa Temple. I spent a weekend here as part of their Templestay program, a memorable experience that you can enjoy too.
While I was initially excited to go to the temple, the weather was grey and gloomy. The climb to the temple was exhausting and the threat of rain really bugged me but when I finally reached the temple, my feelings changed. The explosion of dancheong* colourful patterns could brighten anyone’s day.
**dancheong – Korean traditional decoration technique that combines 5 colours (black, white, red, blue and yellow) that represent The Five Elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Legend of the Golden Fish
So, what makes Beomeosa Temple so special? This magnificent Buddhist temple was built over 2000 years ago by master Uisang and is considered a representative temple of Korea. Beomeosa is connected to the ‘Legend of the Golden Fish.’ The legend says that golden fish descended from the skies on clouds in colours of the Five Elements, to swim in a golden (‘geum‘) well on Geumjeong Mountain.
The temple follows a traditional philosophy of inner reflection through meditation, and generous spirit. It is home to three official National Treasures, including the one-pillar gate and stone pagoda. Although Beomeosa is an establishment of the Buddhist faith, all are welcome to visit and participate in temple customs.
Beomeosa Temple Stay
An extraordinary way to experience Korea is to sign up for a temple stay program. The temple stay program is a country-wide initiative that allows people to stay overnight at a Buddhist temple and experience the temple culture.
Spending a weekend in a historic temple in the mountains sounds idyllic, but there is a lot to consider. There are several rules in place during the templestay, such as no smoking, alcohol or outside food. What’s more, you should remain as quiet as possible throughout your stay and will need to wake up at 6:30am for breakfast.
Nonetheless, I highly recommend the templestay program as it is unique to Korea. You will have the chance to join in Buddhist ceremonies, make lotus lanterns and even find your inner Buddha. What’s more, you’ll have plenty of free time to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings.
See more information on the Beomeosa templestay program and others >> here <<
The Jogyemun Gate is the first gate visitors will pass in order to access the temple. Just like the rest of the temple architecture, the gate is beautifully decorated with colourful patterns. Once you pass this gate, you are advised to leave behind your prejudice and start your journey for inner truth.
Before you leave Beomeosa Temple, why not buy some traditional-themed souvenirs at the gift shop? This is no ordinary gift shop, as you can buy Buddha statues and bracelets as well as handmade chopsticks and ornaments. I bought a bracelet that was said to bring good fortune to its beholder. Will my future be brighter thanks to Beomeosa? We’ll see!
Location & Directions
Address: 250 Beomeosa-ro, Geumjeong-gu, Busan Directions: Beomeosa Station (Subway Line 1) Exit 5
Things to Do near Geumjeong Mountain
- Gukcheongsa Temple
- Mireuksa Temple
- Geumjeong Fortress
- Jeongsuam Heritage
Have you visited Beomeosa Temple in Busan? Or have you ever participated in a templestay? Let us know your experience in the comments below! For more articles related to Korean travel and tourism, subscribe to KoreabyMe.com