Small but Significant Traditional Temple
in the Eastern (W Sancheong County) Sector of Jiri-san
The unique and excellent Chilseong [Seven
Stars of the Big Dipper] painting of Naewon-sa's
Samseong-gak is truly an antique treasure!
It contains no Bukseong-shin [North Star Spirit],
very rare, but does include eight sitting Buddhas
across the top (representing the Stars, one of
whom can be presumed to be North Star), the
Sacheon-wang [Heavenly Guardian Kings of the
Four Directions], an Ilwol-bosal [Sun-Moon
Bodhisattvas] and a girl-boy pair of
dongja-attendants with both a platter and a
basket of Peaches-of-Immortality at bottom.
detail shots are below:
The Three-Storey Stone Pagoda of Naewon-sa
(Treasure #1113) was built in the late 800s, as the
Shilla Dynasty was nearing its end. It echoes the ruin
of its kingdom with its badly-damaged appearance.
Naewon-sa's San-shin painting (left) is unique for its extremely
abstracted-folkish tiger and the huge leaf-fan he proudly holds
(and in his right hand is a ginseng root). Nothing else like it!
The Dok-seong painting (right), clearly by a different artist, is
notable for the Buddhist mudra the dongja-boy is making with
his right hand, instead of holding an object as usual.
The Seated Stone Biro-bul [Vairocana, the Buddha of Infinite
Cosmic Light] (Treasure #1021) enshrined here is also seriously
damaged by the elements. Carved in the 766 (according to the
inscription on the sarira casket found in a hole in the center of its
pedestal), it was originally at Seong-nam-am Hermitage deeper
up in Jiri-san (which no longer exists), and was moved here after
the Korean War for its preservation. It is Korea's earliest-known
statue of Biro-bul, valuable for the study of art history.
It was designated as a National Treasure of Korea in 2015!
|The unusual Samseong-gak of Naewon-sa in 1995
with separate rooms, doors and signboards for (L-to-R) Sanshin, Chilseong and Dokseong
Naewon-sa [Inner-House, or Entering-Temple, Monastery] is recorded to have been originally founded as Deoksan-sa
[Virtue Mountain Temple] in 657, but the founder's name is unknown. In the late Shilla Dynasty National Master-Monk
Muyeom-guksa (801-888) reconstructed it. It's name was changed to Naewon-sa during the Goryeo Dynasty
(918-1390), but we don't know exactly when, by whom or why this was done.
It is located just 3km west of Samjang Town in Samjang-myeon District of Sancheong-gun County (South Gyeongsang Province),
almost 7 km SE of Jiri's summit Cheonghwang-bong, 4 km east of Guksu-bong (1037.5m), in the mouth of the long
Naewon-cheon Stream-Valley (a.k.a. the Naewon-gyegok, or the Jangdan-gyegok or "Guardian-Altar Scenic-Gorge").
It was a great monastery a thousand years ago, but fell into ruins during the Joseon Dynasty after being sacked by the
Japanese in the Imjin Invasion (1592), and was further damaged during the Korean War. It was restored post-war
(1959) by monk Hong Won-jong as a small, quiet and pleasant temple, now visited by tourists and pilgrims for its two
stone treasures (a pagoda and a Buddha) as well as the lovely scenery.
|the Long-Eyebrow Arhat [enlightened disciple of Buddha] as a Korean Shinseon [Spirit-Immortal]
|Dancheong decorative-painting and 2 of the Ten-Ox series, on the Main Hall
|Naewon-sa is well-sheltered by trees, and it's dramatic entrance-bridge crosses over the mouth of the Samjang-cheon Stream.
The same building in 2007 -- it has been
reconfigured! It's now all one room
inside, and the positions of the sign-
boards and icon-altars for San-shin and
Chil-seong have been switched, with
San-shin moved to the center -- yet
more evidence of the elevation of its
relative status in Korean religion.
Also, the wall in front of this shrine was
torn down and a new stone-stairway
constructed (with crude "turtle" rocks),
side-windows were removed, and a new 3-storey pagoda (with little buddha bust) has been erected in front.