Find serenity in Beomeosa (also Pomosa) Temple (Mt. Kumjong, Busan). In spite of tourists and worshippers milling about the temple, you can still feel a sense of tranquility in the midst of the hubbub. Its name means the 'Temple of the Fish from Nirvana'. The temple, which is one of South Korea's five oldest temples, is a tapestry that will delight your senses. You can marvel at the artistry of the pagoda paintings, the architectural delights provided by the pagodas and temple hall and the lush forests that surround the temple. There is also the delightful smell of incense wafting about the temple. Its symbolism stimulates your imagination.
According to records, the temple was founded by Master Uisang during the reign of Shilla King Munmu. The monk Uisang is recognized to have built ten great Havom temples including the Beomeosa Temple. Currently administered by a Zen-Meditative sect of Korean Buddhism (the Chogye Order), Pomosa Temple is filled with National Treasures of Korea. The temple was originally built in A.D., 678. during the Koryo dynasty. Then, the temple had over a thousand monks and more than 360 rooms. Sadly, the temple was destroyed in 1592. It was razed to the ground, a casualty of the Japanese Imjin Invasion. It again burned down after it was rebuilt in 1602. Now, it stands after experiencing a third rebuilding (in 1613). Hopefully, this is the last. The Daeungjeon (main hall) and the Iljumun (front gate) hark back to this last rebuilding.
These are the buildings of note at the Beomeosa Temple Complex:
Three Story Stone Pagoda: Designated as National Treasure 250, the pagoda harks back to the time of the Unified Shilla. It was among the buildings destroyed in the fire of 1592. The top three stories hark back to the Shilla Era, while the fence and the base were added later.
Daeungjeon: Designated as National Treasure 434, this is the main hall of the Pomosa Complex. Its newest rebuilding was in 1614, with three major alterations in 1713, 1814 and 1871. Look up and be mesmerized by the carved flowers on the ceiling. These carvings are a reminder of the legend that when the Buddha is teaching, there will surely be flowers raining over the place.
Iljumun: This is designated as a Tangible Cultural Asset 2. Its name means the One Pillar Gate and is the temple's first gate. When seen from its side, it would look like it is propped by only one pillar. This is said to represent the fact that it is enlightenment (that one true path) that supports the world as we know it. All who pass through this gate are encouraged to find enlightenment by having oneness of mind. This gate was built in 1614.
Wonhyoam Eastern and Western Pagoda – Designated Tangible Cultural Asset 11 and 12, respectively, these are the residences of Wonhyo, the renowned Shilla monk.
Aside from these national treasures and cultural assets, you can also find the Flag Pole Holder (Tangible Cultural Asset 15) and the Stone Lamp (Tangible Cultural Asset 16). You should also drop by the Four Guardians' Gate, the second gate of the temple. Facing this gate, you will see the four protectors of the temple. These protectors aided Siddhartha Gautama when they took hold of his horse's hooves and helped Gautama climb over the palace walls. The third gate is called the Gate of Non-Duality. Also, you can find the famous painting of Vairocana, which is appreciated for its magnificent harmony of colors.