|Bulam-san 불암산 Page 4:
Okcheon-am, West Cheonbo-sa, Gyeongsu-sa and Do-am-sa
This is the combined Main Hall and San-shin-gak of
Ok-cheon-am [Jade Heaven Hermitage], the highest-
the San-shin-gak of West Cheonbo-sa [Heavenly Treasure Temple],
high up on the western slope of Bulam-san (trail access only) has an
amazing location as shown by these photos. The signboard is in
hangeul reading right-to-left like Chinese; i've never seen that before!
It is actually built in front of a cave claimed to have been used for San-shin worship by the
great-maverick-genius-monk Wonhyo (7th century). Inside is only a statue, electric
"candles" with names of donors, and a portrait of Wonhyo. Next to it is a new granite statue
of Buddha in an overhang-niche, the sort typically used by shamans for San-shin worship.
the Sanshin-gak of Gyeong-su-sa [Luminescent Water Temple], just above the western foot of
Bulam-san, is almost lost in the deep forest. Its signboard labels it as a Chilseong-gak [Seven
Stars Shrine] (which were very popular before the Korean War). However, the main painting
inside it is of San-shin (with electric "candles" with names of donors). What the female dongja
attendant on the left is holding, I cannot figure out; never seen that before... two of some kind of
mushroom or root or stem... probably intended to be bullocho.
At the small & humble Do-am-sa [Tao
Rocks Temple], also at the western
base of Bulam-san, is a fairly normal
San-shin painting (next to Chil-seong
and a Buddha) in the Main Hall. But
there is also a stunning discovery -- an
outdoor Sanshin-dan [Mountain-spirit
Altar] at a boulder-cliff, unique in all
Korea so far as i have found (below) !
Written on the rock in Chinese is "Nam-u-san-wang-dae-shin" [I Take Refuge in Mountain-King-Great-
Spirit] and a lotus flower. That "Nam-u" is a very common and famous Buddhist statement, used for
"taking refuge in" Amita-bul [Amibitha Buddha of the Western Paradise] or the holy triad of Buddha,
Dharma & Sangha. Almost all Buddhists around the world recite such prayers frequently, as a
declaration of faith or stimulous to practice. It is amazing to see them appended to the common chant
in praise of San-shin! This elevates the San-shin to the status of a Buddha -- implied all over Korea
these days, but rarely made so explicit as this. The abbot of Do-am-sa told us that he had been
inspired by the old stone monument in Bulam-sa with this slogan carved on it, then decided to write it
on the boulder at his own temple after having a visionary-dream of San-shin urging him to do so.
elevation temple on Bul-am-san. It was made by putting a simple front across an overhang-cave,
under huge granite boulders. Mark and a weird sort of pagoda stand in front. Inside, San-shin
icons and large tiger paintings share the cramped space with seveal Buddhas and other spirits.