SW temple of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom
in the Central-Southwest Sector of Jiri-san
There are fourteen Buddhist temples in Korea that are named
after Munsu-bosal [Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Ch:
Wenshu Jp: Monju] that are considered to be traditional
temples, founded before the 20th century (including 4 in the
Seoul/Gyeonggi-do region, and 3 each in Gyeongsang-namdo &
Jeolla-bukdo provinces), but this is not one of them. This very
impressive complex was built on a 'new' site in the last 20
years, making it one of the dozens of 'modern' temples and
hermitages that have been established with this name.
This Munsu-sa is notable for its older-style wooden pagoda-
tower building (quite unusual for Korea, more similar to typical
Japanese temples) and it's exceedingly remote scenic location.
It is found in the Central-southwest Sector of Jiri-san, its long
unpaved access-road running in-between the great ancient
Hwaeom-sa and Yeongok-sa monasteries, but the actual
temple is much farther deep into the mountains, up at a higher
elevation. It's in a deep 'pocket' 4 km almost due south from
Nogo-dan Peak, with Wangshiri-bong Peak (1212m) to its
SE, Mun-ba-u-deung [Culture Prominent-Boulder Lantern]
Peak (1198m) to its NE, and the SW Hyeongje-bong [Elder-
Brother Peak] to its west. These mountains are generally
associated with Munsu-bosal, and so this seems to be a
natural name for a new major temple built within them.
The Samseong-gak [Three-Saints Shrine] also contains the above very fine Dok-seong
painting, obviously by the same artist -- the left-hand dongja attendant-boy is just the same!
At Right is the very Sanshin-ish Bukseong-shin [North Star Spirit] from the Chil-seong icon.
The modern Shin-jung [Assembly of guardian Spirits] painting in the Main Hall is truly
excellent, with all characters depicted amazingly vividly. San-shin (holding a white-
crane-feather fan AND a basket of bullocho mushrooms-of-immortality) is directly and
prominently front-and-center, in the "Koreanist" motif seen in the 19th-Cen Shin-
jung of Hwangak-san Jikji-sa Temple. The complimentary Yong-wang [Dragon-King
of the Waters] stands right next to him, with unusual orange fish-fins flanking his head.
The San-shin painting found in south Munsu-sa's Samseong-gak is new and original, but follows traditional motifs.
The dongja attendant-boy on the left holds and seems to gesture towards a Peach of Immortality, while the one on
the right is quite angelic with his bare upper-torso and "flying-scarf". The background is simple but fitting, with very
few very extra symbolic elements. The Mountain-King has gray hair instead of the usual white, and his beard is
sharply divided into three parts; three is the most common sacred number in Korean culture, and perhaps in this
case it is intended to evoke the three most important sacred peaks of these mountains (see introduction & Sudo-am).
This is the Sanshin-gak Altar of Yeongbong-sa [Spirit-Peak Temple], a small
Shamanic place south/southeast of Munsu-sa (at Wangshiri-bong) in 1999 --
I think it might have been re-named Bohyeon-sa by now, not sure. The San-
shin painting is cartoonish, but contains many (fairly standard) symbolic
elements. Just below it is a framed-photo of the famous Gat-bawi Stone
Buddha of Daegu City's Palgong-san, and to its right are icons of Gwanse-
eum-bosal [the Bodhisattva of Compassion] and Bodhidharma.
Above is a shot of the wooden pagoda and Wangshiri-bong
Peak from a 2007 KNTO calendar, and Left is my own
photo from a lower angle, from my visit here in 1999.