It was early November in 2013 and I had plenty of time on my hands. My job in Jeonju had ended in October, so I had a month of free time until I had to leave Korea. The foliage had just started changing over so I decided to pay a visit to Geumsansa (금산사), a Buddhist temple in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do. A few years earlier, in 2011, I went with my co-workers but hadn’t been back since then. At the time I thought the temple was rather unremarkable, just one of the countless typical Buddhist temples littered across the country. At that time, however, I wasn’t interested in photography and hadn’t trained myself to look for interesting details worthy of photographing.
I arrived at the temple entrance early in the afternoon. Nothing about the temple grounds had changed much since my last visit. One of the temple halls was still surrounded by scaffolding and under repair. Yet I felt that, for the first time, I was finally seeing it and appreciating it. Since my last visit I had seen many (too many) Buddhist temples while traveling around Korea, so now I had a way to properly judge Geumsansa. Everything from the sweeping courtyard to the ginkgo trees lining the main path to the colorful, expertly carved flowers and dragons adorning the main hall led me to judge that Geumsansa’s understated beauty ranked it amongst the most beautiful temples in Korea.
Korean Cultural Heritage “Geumsansa”
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