|Eastern Worak-san Shilleuk-sa
Great Temple of the Baekdu-daegan Region
in Jecheon County of North Chungcheong Province
|Still Under Construction
San-shin Site Contents Page
|19th-century Dragon-boat painting, mural on the Western Paradise Hall, Mt. Worak-san Shilleuk-sa -- about as
"middle of nowhere" as you can get in South Korea! Featuring a lively yellow dragon (representing West) and an
unusually high number of figures, including Amita Buddha, four Bodhisattvas. Also a 2nd smaller boat with souls
being transported to the Western Heaven, with no deities, being towed on a rope -- who is THAT..??? Maybe
some Neo-Confucianists who were not "saved" Buddhists like those in the big ship, but were good people in
their lives and so are being brought-along out of Compassion....? with the legs sticking out
I know this building quite well and the mural. It seems like you missed the earlier potion of this mural where there
is a depiction of Venerable Samyong's mission to rescue Korean captives after the Imjin War. The people
depicted in the second boat, therefore, are all the Korean captives who returned back to Joseon from Japan. If
you think more about it, these people came back through a sea voyage from East (Japan) to West(Korea),
which coincides with the Dragon boat motive. Attached here is the first section of the mural, depicting
Samyong's arrival to Japan. BTW, the mural is dated around 1806 - 1814. There is a small piece of writing
which records the date of its creation; "Painted in the 1Xth year of Jiaqing 嘉慶 Emperor" - the second letter of
the year is missing; but Jiaqing 10 was 1806, and Jiaquing Emperor died in 1814, so the date should fit within
these 8 years.
Wow thanks for that info and theory JiHoon, I do have a photo of that Samyeong mural that you show here -- but
just did not realize that they were connected!! I just assumed they were unrelated, or at most that the dragon-
boat was carrying the good Korean souls who died in the Imjin War. That the small boat is carrying the
redeemed prisoners westward, in a separate towed boat so that they can be "dropped off" at Korea, makes
perfect sense! 1806-14 makes sense too...... Very precious old paintings at that un-repainted temple!
David A Mason Now that I recall, all the outside wall paintings around the Hall are of Samyeong Daesa, right?
But inside it's a typical Paradise Hall..? Why is Samyeong so honored at this Shilleuk-sa? I know he is at Haein-
sa, Gap-sa and Jikji-sa, etc, but why at this obscure, remote, little site...? Did he fight a battle here?
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JiHoon Suk I am a bit worried though, that the CHA is currently dismantling the entire building for "restoration"
since November and I hope they would not mess with the murals. At least they designated the murals as a
separate registered cultural property so they will at least stabilize them?
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JiHoon Suk David A Mason According to the temple records, Samyong was briefly a patron of this particular
temple in 1602-1603 and spent his own money to restore the temple - the Juji of this temple apparently was one
of his disciples.