the "Guardian Valley Temple"
in Chilgap-san Provincial Park
Janggok-sa [Guardian Valley Temple] was founded on the southwestern slope of its main western
ridge, in a lovely and comfortable valley, in 850 (near the end of the Unified Shilla Dynasty; it was probably
intended as a remote meditation center under the Seon doctrines thriving then). It became a well-respected
medium-size temple, moderately famous for its excellent icons and having two Main Hall's -- the lower
one (Treasure #181) is original and enshrines the popular Medicinal Buddha, while the upper one
(Treasure #162) was built in the early Goryeo Dynasty to enshrine Biro-bul [Variocana, Buddha of Infinite
Cosmic Light] (which would indicate influence of the Hwaeom School by that point). It was damaged in the Korean
War but is still quite a charming place to visit, with old wooden buildings remaining below the newly
renovated Halls. In the 1990s a new Samseong-gak [Three Sages Shrine] was built on the ridge facing
the Upper Main Hall.
This is the antique San-shin painting
displayed in Janggok-sa when I
visited there back in 1988. It is now
replaced by a modern one in the
new Sam-seong-gak -- hopefully it's
in a museum somewhere.
It's a classic folk-art treasure -- Tiger
is fully leopard-spotted with a happy-
crazy expression, dongja offer
persimmons and peaches (2 each, not
the usual 3!), and the Mountain-King
wears a unique blue-cloth Daoist
cloud-cap and a worried expression
-- responsible sorrow for the ills and
failures of the world. The leaf-mantle
on his shoulders, echo of Korea's
mythical Founding-King Dan-gun, is
quite full and prominent.
|two views of the gilded-bronze Yaksa-yorae [Buddha of Medicine] statue
(Treasure #181) enshrined in Janggok-sa's Lower Main Hall, from 1988
below: by 2006, it's been cleaned up!
|stone towers next to a sacred tree below the Upper Main Hall
San-shin is prominently featured upfront, holding a white-feather-fan and a
straw basket of bullocho in the Shinjung-taenghwa of the Lower Main Hall
the new Samseong-gak [Three
Sages Shrine] contains these
modern icons, nicely done but
thoroughly unremarkable and
ordinary -- except perhaps for
the long ginseng root in the
girl-dongja's right hand.
the Upper Main Hall contains a gilded-iron statue of
Yaksa-yeorae (Treasure #162) with colorfully-painted
wooden halo-background (left), and an excellent gilded-iron
Biro-bul with carved-stone lotus pedestal and an old
(Treasure #174, right), and also a modern Sakyamuni.
San-shin is almost lost on the left side,
holding a bullocho sprig, in the Shinjung-
taenghwa of the Upper Main Hall