Serene Borimsa Temple

borimsa-templeSteps are very symbolic to Buddhism religion comparable to attaining enlightenment in one life's journey

Borimsa Temple

Borimsa Temple [보림사] quietly nestles by the foothills of the popular Sarabong (Peak) on Jeju Island, South Korea. It was not in my plan, and did not even know that there is such a small temple area near the 'sunset' peak.

I was excited as always every time I see a temple area for some reason. As I don't want to deal with it in this article, one of the reasons is that it feels peaceful and serene.

It is the same atmosphere and feeling when I see other religious and worship places, including cathedrals, mosques, other temples, and similar sites. I could be wrong, but I guess most people feel the same as I do, even the non-believers.

Okay, going back to Borimsa Temple...

Since I don't know much about this temple, I can only base my contents here from the site or information board erected right before the steps located across the main temple.

borimsa-templeEntrance gate to the temple area [보림사]
borimsa-templeDaeungjeon [Main Temple]
borimsa-templeJeju Island Borimsa

Wooden Figure: A Cultural Heritage

guanyin-bodhisattva

Etched and painted on the metal board, it is said that there is a wooden figure of a Guanyin Bodhisattva.

The bodhisattva measures 86mm in total height. The Guanyin is in a seated position, lacquered and gilded.

Shown on the left is a photo of Guanyin in China before it was demolished.

The bodhisattva was brought to Borimsa Temple when built in 1957 from Seonamsa Temple in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province).

The bodhisattva, who is in a lotus position, wears a sumptuously-decorated crown on her head.

"With the head slightly inclined forward, the hair gathered behind the ears flows down over the shoulders in two strands. The thumb and the middle finger of the left hand touch each other, and the right-hand rests on the lap, holding a kundika."  

(A 'kundika' is an ewer used in rituals).

The bodhisattva is clothed like a Buddha with her silk robe covers both shoulders. "The robe, as it flows downward, hides the toes of the left foot, and drapes down below both legs, forming multiple folds."

WHAT'S A GUANYIN?: A Guanyin is a Buddhist bodhisattva highly worship for its compassion. Its name is equivalent to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. Guanyin was the name given to the Goddess of Mercy or the Mercy Goddess by Jesuit missionaries in China. Wikipedia

guanyin-bodhisattvaA Guanyin Bodhisattva with no 'kundika'

I have searched Guanyin photos online and found that they mostly don't have the kundika (see the photo), a  common bodhisattva's ritual ewer. But the figurine in Borimsa has it.

According to the information, the figurine of Amitabha, usually found on a Guanyin's crown, is missing (broken off). This late Joseon period statue has a large head compared to its body and with a thick garment.

It is believed that a sculptor monk, Saeknan, a famous figure of Buddhist sculpture active between the late 17th and the early 18th century, was the creator of this Guanyin Bodhisattva.

I have not seen it as the temple was closed due, most probably, to the Coronavirus problem that was still around during my visit. I really hope to see it next time.

I have searched Guanyin photos online and found that they mostly don't have the kundika (see the photo above), a  common bodhisattva's ritual ewer. But this figurine has it.

According to the information, the figurine of Amitabha, usually found on a Guanyin's crown, is missing (broken off). This late Joseon period statue has a large head compared to its body and with a thick garment.

It is believed that a sculptor monk, Saeknan, a famous figure of Buddhist sculpture active between the late 17th and the early 18th century, was the creator of this Guanyin Bodhisattva.

I have not seen it as the temple was closed due, most probably, to the Coronavirus problem that was still around during my visit. I really hope to see it next time.

보림사-borimsa-templeBorimsa Temple's ground and buildings with Sarabong as the backdrop

Jeju Special Self-Governing Province made Guanyin Bodhisattva statue a Tangible Cultural Heritage (number 18) under the care of Borimsa Temple.

Verdict? It is certainly worth a visit and as part of your exploration in the area where you can find Jeju National Museum.

After my quick visit and photography session of Borimsa, I proceeded to Sarabong Peak Park, which stands some meters away.

Thanks for reading.

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