|the Entranceway of Haein-sa
original flagpole-supports, 800 CE
the "Gosa-mok-namu", an ancient ginko tree
that is said to have been granted by the
Shilla king, and planted soon after Haein-
sa's foundation. It lived for over 1100 years,
finally dying when Korea was divided in
1945. Its' children are growing all around it,
some of them already centuries old.
the Main Gateways
Above: the Guksa-dang or Guardian-spirit Shrine
in front of the Main Gate. Long ago it was once a
Sanshin-gak, and it is still labeled that way in
several guidebooks, which is now an error.
Left: the portrait of the guardian-spirit that was
the only icon in that shrine. Identity is not labled;
it's unusual and myterious. No background is
painted in, the wood was left bare. It's a little like
a Bodhidharma painting, but not much; he wears
the boots of a nobleman. He is surely not a
Buddhist figure of any kind. His clothing is like
that of a government official, but his beard is
untrimmed and his hair is not in a topknot --
suggesting that he's retired. Could this be the
great scholar Choe Chi-won, known to have
lived near Haein-sa near the end of his life....?
Monks at this temple denied to me that this is
Choe, but could not provide any alternate theory
of his identity -- just, "guksa guardian-spirit". It is
certainly not a San-shin, and Choe remains my
There must be some controversy over it, because
this painting was removed from this shrine in 2007!
one of the interior wall-pantings in that shrine. It seems to be a Shin-seon
(wise old man, Daoist Immortal) hiking through Gaya'san's deep forests.
exterior wall-pantings on that shrine, very simple nature-
scenes. Daoist-flavored, like the Zen "10 Ox" series.
The Ilchul-mun first-gate, with signboard (R to L): "Ga-ya-san Hae-in-sa"
An info-sign recently placed in front of this shrine states
that when it was founded is "still unclear", and it is only
known that it was repaired in 1855, 1899, 1961 & 2007.
It says that this "Palace" enshrines a female deity named
Jeonggyun-myeoju, who is considered as the Guardian
of Gaya-san, and people can pray to her here for good
fortune. it says that "Jeonggyun-myeoju" refers to "the
mother of enlightment" and founding matriarch of the
Gaya tribal-confederations (proto-kingdoms) on Korea's
southeast coast around 100-500 CE. According to some
record, her first son established "Great Gaya (DaeGaya
or Goryeong Gaya), while her second son established
Geumgwan Gaya (Gimhae Gaya, near Busan).