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On a torrentially wet Wednesday morning I headed for Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju. “It is home to seven National treasures of South Korea, including Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas, Cheongun-gyo (Blue Cloud Bridge), and two gilt-bronze statutes of Buddha. The temple is classified as Historic and Scenic Site No. 1 by the South Korean government. In 1995, Bulguksa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Seokguram Grotto [that I visited in the afternoon], which lies four kilometres to the east. The temple is considered as a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom.”

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One thing which immediately catches the eye swastika-looking insignia all over the buildings. These of course have nothing to do with the Nazi’s who stole and adapted the symbol from Hindu/Buddhist traditions. Swastika’s can be seen on Dharmic based religious buildings across Korea – the symbol does not hold the same taboo that it does in the west.

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The stone pagodas are of particular historical importance (part of one of them resides in the British Museum!!) and reflect a story in the Lotus sutra. The left hand one (in the photo) is depicted on the obverse of the 10 won coin.

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I’ve always thought that there is something very beautiful about these sorts of temples in the rain. More photos here.

Comments

  1. SirSteven says:

    wow, i’ve also been here; so it was a nice surprise to stumble upon the photos. I’d even forgotten the name of this place. I went back in 2001, which was unfortunately before I had a digital camera (or, indeed, a blog).

    • David says:

      Cool, it’s amazing to think how blogs and digital cameras have changed the way we consume media in less than 10 years. I can’t quite imagine life without them now!

      I’d like to visit Gyeongju again one day – it rained almost non-stop when I went in 2007 so wasn’t ideal travelling weather…

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