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The Hwaeom sect is the name of the Korean transliteration of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism. Huayan uses the Avatamsaka Sutra, or “Flower Garland Sutra” in English, as their primary text. In Korean, this sutra is known as the Hwaeom-gyeong – 화엄경, which is a reference to the idea that the Flower Garland is meant to be the crowning glory of the Buddha’s understanding of ultimate reality.
The founding of the Huayan school is traditionally attributed to the Five Patriarchs, who were instrumental in the development of the school’s teachings. These five are: 1. Dushun (557-640 A.D.), 2. Zhiyan (602-668 A.D.), 3. Fazang (643-712 A.D.), 4. Chengguan (738-839 A.D.), 5. Guifeng Zongmi (780-841 A.D.).
It was from Zhiyan that the visiting Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) learned the Huayan school teachings. Upon his return to the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) in 671 A.D., Uisang-daesa transmitted the teachings throughout Silla. This resulted in the establishment of the Hwaeom sect. Originally, when the sect was established, it was one body. Only later did it become two separate streams. The first of these two streams, rather obviously, was established by Uisang-daesa who had traveled to Tang China (618–690, 705–907 A.D.) and directly learned and studied under Zhiyan. The other, independently, but influenced by Uisang-daesa, was founded by Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.), who also just so happened to be Uisang-daesa’s close friend. These two streams, together, would form the original Hwaeom sect of Buddhism. So while Uisang-daesa was a direct disciple of Zhiyan and the Huayan school, Wonhyo-daesa would attempt to solve the contradictions found in the Huayan teachings through metaphysical exploration.
Wonhyo-daesa’s stream of Hwaeom would be known as the Haedong Sect, the Bunhwang Sect, and/or the Wonhyo Sect. Uisang-daesa’s stream would be known as the Buseok Sect, or the Uiji Sect. So what are the differences and commonalities found between these two streams of the same sect?Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) A: The Haedong Sect
The Haedong Sect was first founded during the reign of King Munmu of Silla (r. 661-681 A.D.) by the famed Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.). The sect is also known as the Bunhwang Sect because that’s the temple, Bunhwangsa Temple in Gyeongju, where he lived and taught during the majority of his lifetime. In 661 A.D., both Uisang-daesa and Wonhyo-daesa attempted to travel to Tang China after a first failed attempt in 650 A.D. Both were attempting to further their Buddhist studies. In Liaodong, which was a part of the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.), they needed to take shelter in a cave during a strong storm. During the night, Wonhyo-daesa became thirsty, so he reached out to a gourd filled with water to quench his thirst. After drinking the cool water, and feeling refreshed, he fell back asleep. Waking the next morning, the two monks discovered that they had in fact taken shelter inside an ancient tomb that was filled with skulls. And instead of drinking from a gourd from the night previous, Wonhyo-daesa had in fact drank dirty water from one of the skulls. Upon realizing this, Wonhyo-daesa vomited. After recovering, Wonhyo-daesa came to realize just how much power the mind had to transform reality. So while afterward, Uisang-daesa continued on to Tang China, Wonhyo-daesa returned to the Silla Kingdom to teach what he had learned.
Upon his return to the Silla Kingdom, Wonhyo-daesa would write various commentaries like “The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana.” He would also write the “Treatise on Reconciliation of Disputes in Ten Approaches.” With these commentaries, Wonhyo-daesa was attempting to reconcile and answer the differences found in Buddhism and the human condition.Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) B: Buseok Sect
The Buseok Sect, on the other hand, which was already mentioned, was founded by Uisang-daesa. Uisang-daesa would continue on to Tang China despite Wonhyo-daesa leaving him after Wonhyo’s enlightenment. Uisang-daesa would learn under, and be guided by, Zhiyan. Rather interestingly, while Uisang-daesa was learning under Zhiyan, Zhiyan gave Uisang-daesa the nickname of “Uiji,” which means “Meaning Maintainer” in English. That’s why the Buseok Sect is also sometimes known as the Uiji Sect, as well. And the main reason that the Buseok Sect is known as such is because the main seat of the Buseok Sect was maintained at Buseoksa Temple.
So after leaving Wonhyo-daesa, Uisang-daesa would continue on towards Tang China, where he studied at Zhixiang Temple on Mt. Zhongnan under Zhiyan. It was from Zhiyan that Uisang-daesa would learn the Hwaeom teachings. Upon his return to Silla in 671 A.D., Uisang-daesa would build Buseoksa Temple in 677 A.D. under royal orders to help promote the Hwaeom teachings. Uisang-daesa taught the teachings of Hwaeom to some three thousand disciples before dying in 702 A.D. It was in 1101 that Uisang posthumously earned the title of “Great Saint, National Preceptor of the Perfect Teaching,” or “Daeseong Wongyo-guksa” in Korean.
A rather unique feature to the Hwaeom sect is what is known as the “Ocean Seal,” or “Haein” in Korean. This Ocean Seal is also known as the “Ocean Seal Diagram,” or “Haein-do” in Korean. This is based upon the Ocean Seal Samadhi, or “Haein Sammae,” in Korean, which is contained in the Avatamsaka sutra. It’s believed that if one enters this stage of meditation, the three worlds, which are known as “Samgye” in Korean, which represent the material world, the world of living beings, and the world of the Buddha, will suddenly appear to the individual. It’s also said that if one were in the middle of a great sea, all things existing here on earth and up above in the heavens would appear suddenly all together as if they were imprinted on a great seal in the middle of a boundless sea. That’s why this is called the “Ocean Seal.”
As for the history behind this seal and the Buseok Sect of Hwaeom, Zhiyan, Uisang-daesa’s master, drew seventy-two graphs of the Ocean Seal and showed them to Uisang-daesa. Uisang-daesa carefully studied each of the seventy-two and made one of his own. When he showed it to Zhiyan, Zhiyan looked at it and said, “This one Ocean Seal of yours is equal to my seventy-two seals. Your Ocean Seal is comprehensive, and mine is partial. The great meaning of Huayan [Hwaeom] does not dwell outside of your seal.” So when Uisang-daesa came back to Silla, the Ocean Seal was adopted as a symbol to help propagate the Hwaeom teachings.
Of all the Gyo sects that were founded at this time during Silla, it was the Hwaeom sect that was the most successful. Besides Buseoksa Temple, other temples that were Hwaeom were Bimarasa Temple in Wonju, Gangwon-do; Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do; Okcheonsa Temple on Mt. Biseulsan in southern Daegu; Beomeosa Temple in Geumjeong-gu, Busan; Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye, Jeollanam-do. In total, there were ten of these temples, including Buseoksa Temple, which were known as the Ten Hwaeom Temple Complexes, or “Hwaeom Sipchal” in Korean.
Towards the end of Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.), and the start of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), two great and influential monks would help to continue to promote the Hwaeom teachings. This split would result in two factions. The first was to the south, and it centred around the monk Gwanhye of Hwaeomsa Temple. This would be known as the Southern Peak, or “Namakpa” in Korean. While to the north, the Northern Mountain, or “Bugakpa” in Korean, would be formed under the leadership of the monk Huirang (875-927 A.D.). And the Northern Mountain of Hwaeom would be promoted from Haeinsa Temple.
These two streams of Hwaeom would bitterly fight back and forth over the smallest of details about doctrine. They did this for a long time until the monk Gyunyeo (923-973 A.D.), a Hwaeom monk, reunified and harmonized these two streams of Hwaeom thought. The Hwaeom sect would remain in a position of influence in Gyo Buddhism up until the end of the Goryeo Dynasty, when it was forced to merge with Seon Buddhism. But even within Seon Buddhism, Hwaeom would continue to play an influential role in the growth and development of Buddhism during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and beyond.Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye, Jeollanam-do. —
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I am a 25-year-old American from Los Angeles. I have worked with kindergarten up to high school age at private academies in South Korea around Seoul and Busan. I am looking for a part-time job for the winter. I would prefer a position near Pusan National University but am willing to travel around Busan if the job seems fit. Thank you for your consideration!
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I learned how to ride the subway and train while living in Korea, through lots of trial and error. The bus is no different, but it took a lot more trial and error than the other methods.
No matter where you visit in Korea, there will be some sort of bus system. Although how well it works will depend often on the population of that city. Even when I visit smaller cities, there has been a bus system. But a bus system is only useful if you know how to use it, and because I didn't understand how it worked well I often ended up just walking or taking the subway or some other means of transportation more often. But with a lot of trial and error, and a lot of time, I eventually learned how to ride the bus well enough to rely on it. So I wanted to make a video with all of my tips I've learned throughout many years, to hopefully help some people who would also like to use it during their next trip to Korea.
The post How to Ride the Bus in Korea | Getting Around in Korea appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.—
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Any school in South Korea can be considered a good one. After all, South Korea has some of the highest rates in literacy, sciences, and mathematics, among OECD countries on its Program for International Student Assessment ( PISA ), and essentially in the whole world. In fact, it is said that South Korea has a 100% literacy rate producing gifted students!
Thus, it is incredibly interesting to learn more about Korean schools and understand better why the South Korean education system is regarded so highly. In this article, we will explain to you what school is like in South Korea.What is school like in South Korea?
South Korea has the highest percentage in the entire world – 70% to be specific – in regards to people aged 24 to 35 that have completed some type of education beyond high school. That may mean a university degree or higher in university, or completing a shorter program in a polytechnic, or something else equivalent.
The standard of Korean education is really high and public and private schools both provide a great quality of teaching. The basic construction of Korea’s education system is as follows: The compulsory education is composed of six years in primary school (elementary school) and three years in middle school, and three years in high school.
South Korea also has a national curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education. They also monitor this national curriculum which is revised every five to ten years reflecting the changes happening in Korean society.When does school start in Korea?
There are two semesters in each school year, the first one running from March to July, and the second one from September to February. While summer and winter holidays exist, there are 10 optional half days of school at the beginning and end of each holiday break, and the majority of the Korean students attend both.How much do students study in South Korea?
It is common for Korean students of any schooling level to attend private schools and/or receive tutoring outside of official school hours. For primary and secondary schools, the number of classes taken is typically less, as well as less rigid, than they are for high schools.
There are also more recreational activities and classes, such as taekwondo or piano or cooking and baking, included in their schedules than there are for high schoolers.What is the school system in South Korea?
Although there has been some push for change over the years, especially recently, as of right now the Korean school system is highly test-driven. In general, which middle school, high school, and university the student went to has a major influence on future career opportunities. That is one major reason why students even from primary and secondary schools already receive tutoring lessons and go to private schools.
However, the Korean government has been making efforts as of late to reduce the pressure and stress put on Korean students through the current education system. In some regions, there are limitations to the operating hours of private schools – better known as hagwon (학원 in Korean) or cram schools. There is also an exam-free school year system put to place in middle school. Only time will tell whether these efforts will work.
Overall, Korea’s education system is seen as one of the most rigorous ones in the world with its goal to efficiently prepare students for their future careers. It certainly does have the largest private tutoring industry out there. Also, a lot of the top-ranking Korean government officials and big company management positions are also currently mostly held by university graduates from top-tier Korean universities.Teachers in South Korea
Teachers in South Korea are typically highly respected by the general public. It’s not without reason, as they are also highly educated in their profession and often get into universities in South Korea from top high schools. Those seeking to become teachers must also attend a university specialized in education.
For people who aim to teach in primary school, they must also major in primary education which is specifically created to develop future primary school teachers. There are also only very few institutions in Korea for training primary school teachers. However, unlike primary education, there are more training institutions and programs dedicated to secondary school teachers.Foreign Language learning in South Korea
A foreign language like English is taught at various levels in Korea. Young primary school students from public and private schools are already taught English.
At the university level, foreign language learning is becoming increasingly important. In the top universities, already more than 30% of courses are taught in English now. In general, English is seen as one of the most prioritized school subjects to learn, with private tutoring and hagwon classes offered from as early on as kindergarten.
Thus a lot of money has also gone into this foreign language learning, both by the Korean government and by the families themselves.Is school free in South Korea?
Primary and secondary schools are free in South Korea. Also, in order to promote equality, middle school students are placed into schools based on the districts they live in, through a computer lottery system. However, unlike previous levels of schooling, high school is not free in Korea. It is also not mandatory to attend.Education Levels in South Korea
There are different levels of education in South Korea starting from elementary school, all the way up to university. To add, Korea also accommodates international students through international schools.Elementary school in South Korea
In South Korea, attending school at the primary school level is free of charge at its public education, beginning at the age of 6. Prior to entering primary school, nearly every child attends some form of preschool and kindergarten.
School subjects studied by primary school students are as follows: Korean language, mathematics, ethics, social studies, English, science, arts, music, and physical education.
In recent years, efforts have been made for primary schools to move away from the multiple-choice question-only exams and to introduce essay writing and creative thinking into exams and testing instead.Middle school in South Korea
In South Korean middle schools, the curriculum is constructed of 12 subjects, some of which are basic and mandatory for all, and some of which are electives and extracurricular activities.
Middle school teachers all have their own subjects they are specialized in teaching. Much of the subjects are the continuation of what the children were taught in elementary school namely the Korean language, mathematics, ethics, social studies, English, science, arts, music, and physical education.
However, in addition, middle school students also get to choose between studying technical education or home sciences.High school in South Korea
There are nine primary subjects taught during high school in Korea. These subjects are Korean language, social studies (including Korean history), mathematics, science, physical education, fine arts, practical arts, and moral education.How are high schools categorized in South Korea?
High schools in Korea are divided into these different categories.
The majority of high schools in South Korea still continue to be boys only or girls only today, although the amount of co-ed high schools has been on the rise. The high schools follow a standardized curriculum, which means that boys and girls study the same subjects, even if they attend Korean schools separated by gender.
Academic and vocational high schools
High schools are also divided between academic high schools and vocational schools. More than half of them are still of the academic type focusing on academic performance. There are also a few high schools that are specifically specialized in focusing on sports, science, arts, or foreign languages, among other fields of specialization.
The vocational high schools, on the other hand, offer an education system focusing on employment. The majority of South Korean students enroll in regular high schools.
Elite high schools in Korea
Lastly, there are also some high schools that are designated autonomous in what type of curriculum they have to offer. These are typically seen as elite institutions which are focused primarily on preparing students to get into the very top universities. Therefore, lately, they are meeting a lot of scrutiny and criticism from the Korean administration, and they may end up getting converted into regular high schools.High school admission
For 60% of the high schools, admission happens based on a lottery system, similar to middle schools. However, the rest of the high schools have a highly competitive admission process, selecting students based on GPA, entrance exams, interviews, and recommendations by teachers.What to expect in Korean high schools?
A typical school day in high school begins at 8 am, and finishes between 4 pm and 4:50 pm. Each class runs for 50 minutes, as does lunch break. High school students usually remain in the same schoolroom for the duration of the day, with teachers rotating room to room based on which class they are teaching the subject to.
The subjects taught in regular high school are largely the same as the subjects under middle school education. In the 11th and 12th grades, high school students additionally get to choose elective subjects to learn. These include various sciences like physics, chemistry, and geography, or even economics or politics, or foreign languages.
However, while the actual school day finishes in the late afternoon, it is normal for high school students to attend more classes, either at private academies or through tutoring sessions, until as late as midnight. Of course, they do get to have a dinner break in between. Thus, it is not uncommon to hear of high school students studying as much as 16 hours on some days.
Meanwhile, in vocational high schools, the students study the standard academic curriculum for the first year, before moving on to studies specializing around their choice of vocational field. These include agriculture, business, fishery, engineering, technology, and marine transportation.
Most of the vocational high schools use modules developed by the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training the Ministry of Education. By graduating from vocational schools, students do still have access to universities but fewer choose to pursue such a path. Instead, they are more inclined to choose a shorter program at junior colleges.
Meister schools (Vocational Education Programs)
4% of high school-aged students in South Korea also currently attend school programs known as Meister schools. It’s a type of vocational school where students learn of industries such as banking, social services, dentistry, and semiconductor development. The curriculum at these vocational secondary schools is conducted in cooperation with local companies, lectures offered by experts in the industries, and internships included in the study programs.
These vocational schools exist as an effort from the Korean government to push more students into the labor market directly from high school. Therefore the graduates from Meister schools are not allowed to enter university until after having worked for at least three years. However, upon completing the three years of full-time work, it’s easier for them to have a university degree in comparison to their peers.University in South Korea
In South Korea today, university graduates from a prestigious university like the Seoul National University are still at advantage, since where a student has graduated from still holds a lot of importance in hunting for a job.University admission
Universities accept students based on their test scores from admission exams. However, other means of admission to universities are also considered.
To enter, students must complete the Suneung (수능) exam, officially known as the “National University College Scholastic Ability Test”. In total the exam lasts for 8 hours, is mostly constructed of multiple-choice questions, and allows access to apply for 3 universities.
This exam takes place each November, and it is such a major national event that even businesses will open later that day to ensure that every student taking the exam will be able to get to the testing site on time. Even air traffic is suspended as the students take the listening part of the examination.
There are 9 subjects tested during the exam, with the students having some options of which subjects they will take the exam in. The Korean language is the only subject that is mandatory for everyone. This exam is seen as one of the toughest university entrance exams in the world.
Other ways of admission to a university
Although the Suneung exam is of major importance, universities additionally look at various other criteria when choosing their students. These include university-specific admission tests, high school GPA, recommendation letters, and more. The Korean government, on the other hand, is trying to push the universities to emphasize the Suneung exam over other criteria in their student selection process.
Additionally, the government is also requiring special admissions of students from rural areas. This is because they have less access to private tutoring and academies, which in turn result in lower score results from Suneung, putting them otherwise at disadvantage with university admission.University degrees and higher education
Bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete and are possible to follow up with master’s degrees lasting two years, and doctoral degrees. In the case of a doctoral degree, it may be constructed together with a master’s degree, or it may be a separate degree.
Alternatively, it is possible to obtain a shorter associate degree from junior colleges. Most students try to achieve some sort of higher education before starting their working lives.Universities in South Korea
There are more than 400 universities, junior colleges, and other higher education institutions in South Korea at the present time. The vast majority of the most prestigious universities are located in the capital area, including universities such as Yonsei University and Korea University. Tuition fees are roughly $8,500 USD per year, although the specific figure depends on the university and department, with various scholarships available for South Korean and foreign students.
Most of the universities comprise multiple departments, ranging from business to technology. However, some specialized universities exist as well, with KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) as the most notable one of them. This university also ranks 22nd in the World University Rankings.
Each degree comprises core subjects mandatory for every student, elective general subjects, and then both mandatory and elective subjects focused around the major. A student must complete 130 credits in order to qualify for graduation.International Schools in South Korea
There are also international schools in South Korea. There are more than 40 international schools to accommodate qualified international students, as well as Korean students. However, enrolling in an international school is not open to everyone.
To be qualified as a student in international schools, one must either be a Korean national who has lived abroad for at least three years, or the student must be a child of a foreign national.
And that would be the Korean education system and school in South Korea in a nutshell! How does the South Korean education system compare to your country’s? Do you also have plans of studying in universities like Seoul National University or Korea University? How much of this content did you already know and what was new information? Let us know below in the comments!
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Bulyeongsa Temple is located in the very scenic Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do to the northwest of Mt. Cheonchuksan (653.3 m). Bulyeongsa Temple means “The Reflection of the Buddha’s Shadow on the Pond Temple” in English. The temple was first established in 651 A.D. by Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.).
According to one legend, Uisang-daesa built Bulyeongsa Temple near Mt. Cheonchuksan because it resembled Mt. Cheonchuksan in India, which is where the image of the Buddha was reflected on the water. Another legend behind the creation of Bulyeongsa Temple is that Uisang-daesa saw five Buddha images hovering above a pond in the area. So Uisang-daesa drove out the dragons that were residing there, and he then built Bulyeongsa Temple.
In 1396, Bulyeongsa Temple was completely destroyed by fire with the exception of the Nahan-jeon Hall. Not long after, the temple was rebuilt by the monk Soun. Then in 1592, during the Imjin War (1592-1598), all the buildings at Bulyeongsa Temple were destroyed by fire with the exception of the Yeongsan-jeon Hall. In 1602, the Daeungbo-jeon Hall was rebuilt; and then, in 1608, the rest of Bulyeongsa Temple was rebuilt. Tragically, the main hall was destroyed once more by fire in 1720. It was rebuilt five years later in 1725 by the monk Cheonok. In total, the temple has been rebuilt numerous times including 1500, 1608, 1724, and 1899.
In total, Bulyeongsa Temple is home to three Korean Treasures which includes the Daeungbo-jeon Hall (Korean Treasure #1201), the Eungjin-jeon Hall (Korean Treasure #730), and the Buddhist Painting of Buryeongsa Temple (The Vulture Peak Assembly) (Korean Treasure #1272). Additionally, the Bulyeongsa-gyegok Valley and Surrounding Area is considered a Scenic Site.
Admission to the temple for adults is 2,000 won, for youths (age 14-18) it’s 1,500 won, and for children (age 8-13) it’s 1,000 won.Temple Layout
Bulyeongsa Temple is located a fair distance from the Iljumun Gate. The walk up to the main temple grounds is one of the more beautiful walks, as the pathway leading up to the temple passes by lush forests and farmland used by the nuns that call Bulyeongsa Temple home. When you do finally arrive at the temple, the first thing to greet you is the Bulyeong-ji Pond. This pond harkens back to the founding myth of the temple. Navigating your way around the pond, and to the left, you’ll see a collection of temple shrine halls.
The first of these shrine halls is dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). Inside this rather plainly painted Chilseong-gak Hall is a beautiful mural of the shaman deity. Book-ending both sides of the painting are rows of Buddhist texts.
To the right of the Chilseong-gak Hall is the older-looking Eungjin-jeon Hall. The Eungjin-jeon Hall is the oldest structure at Bulyeongsa Temple. Originally, the Nahan-jeon Hall, which is another name for the Eungjin-jeon Hall, at Bulyeongsa Temple was spared a destructive fire that destroyed the entire temple complex in 1396. However, in 1592, another fire claimed the entire temple complex, once more, except for the Yeongsan-jeon Hall. According to a record found during the repair of the temple in 1984, it was discovered that the Yeongsan-jeon Hall had been converted over to the present-day Eungjin-jeon Hall. This took place after several repairs to the hall both before and after the Imjin War (1592-1598). Once again, the exterior walls to the Eungjin-jeon Hall are plainly painted in dancheong colours. Stepping inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall, you’ll find a triad of statues resting on the main altar. In the centre sits Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is then joined by sixteen statues of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). The Eungjin-jeon Hall is Korean Treasure #730.
Next to the Eungjin-jeon Hall to the right is the Uisang-jeon Hall. If this name sounds familiar, it should. It’s effectively a Josa-jeon Hall (Founders’ Hall), which is named after the founding monk of Bulyeongsa Temple, Uisang-daesa. Resting in the centre of the main altar, and among other paintings of famous monks, is a painting and small stone statue dedicated to Uisang-daesa. This central painting is joined by other murals dedicated to the likes of Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) and Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610).
The final shrine hall in this area, other than the Beopyeong-ru Pavilion that overlooks the Bulyeong-ji Pond, is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The Myeongbu-jeon Hall is beautifully adorned both inside and out. Both the exterior and interior walls are, rather strangely, adorned with murals from Uisang-daesa’s life, which leads me to believe that this might have once been the original Uisang-jeon Hall. Seated on the main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall is a large, green-haired statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This central image is then joined on both sides by statues of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld).
To the right of these four temple shrine halls, and in a courtyard of its own, is the Daeungbo-jeon Hall at Bulyeongsa Temple. Out in front of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall is a three-story stone pagoda that dates back to the early Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Based upon the date recorded on the Buddhist Painting of Bulyeongsa Temple (The Vulture Peak Assembly), which is kept inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, the present incarnation of the main hall at Bulyeongsa Temple dates back to 1735. The Daeungbo-jeon Hall is Korean Treasure #1201. The exterior walls dancheong colours have faded, but the interior dancheong colours are well-preserved. Also inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, and resting on the main altar, is a triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). This triad is backed by Buddhist Painting of Bulyeongsa Temple (The Vulture Peak Assembly). This main altar painting was first made in 1733. The central image in the centre of that of Seokgamoni-bul. The Buddha is then joined by ten Bodhisattvas, the Sacheonwang (The Four Heavenly Kings), and ten Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). The Buddhist Painting of Bulyeongsa Temple (The Vulture Peak Assembly) is Korean Treasure #1272. Filling out the rest of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, and to the left rear of the main hall, is a tiny statue and beautiful mural dedicate to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). And to the right rear of the main altar is a shrine with sari (crystallized remains). As for the rest of the interior of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall, it’s filled with paintings from the early 18th century, when the main hall was rebuilt.
The final shrine hall that visitors can explore at Bulyeongsa Temple is the Sanshin-gak Hall to the left rear of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. While small in size, and largely unadorned around its exterior walls, it houses a beautiful mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Of note are the intense green eyes of the tiger beside the image of Sanshin.How To Get There
From the Uljin Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll find that there are several buses that go to Bulyeongsa Temple. But instead of having numbers, these buses simply say that name of the places that they’re going. Here are six of those bus names that go out to Bulyeongsa Temple: 1. Deokgu – Gwangbi, 2. Deokgu – Saejeom, 3. Bugu – Saejeom, 4. Uljin – Gwangbi, 5. Jukbyeon – Saejeom, 6. Jukbyeon – Sogwang. The bus ride to Bulyeongsa Temple from the bus terminal will take about twenty-seven minutes, or thirteen stops. From where the bus drops you off, you’ll need to walk an additional seven minutes, or five hundred metres, to get to the temple grounds.
You can take public transportation, or you can simply take a taxi. The taxi ride from the Uljin Intercity Bus Terminal takes twenty-five minutes and costs 18,000 won.Overall Rating: 8/10
Bulyeongsa Temple is scenically located in a valley below the peaks of Mt. Cheonchuksan. Things to look for are the Daeungbo-jeon Hall and the Vulture Peak Assembly painting housed inside it. Other things to keep an eye out for are the Uisang-daesa paintings adorning the Myeongbu-jeon Hall and the historic Eungjin-jeon Hall, as well. And all of the temple shrine halls are beautifully fronted by the Bulyeong-ji Pond.The Bulyeong-ji Pond and Beopyeong-ru Pavilion. A look inside the Beopyeong-ru Pavilion at the Brahma Bell. The mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars) inside the Chilseong-gak Hall. The historic Eungjin-jeon Hall. A look inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall at the main altar. A look inside the Uisang-jeon Hall. The colourful Myeongbu-jeon Hall with murals from the life of Uisang-daesa adorning its walls. It was a rather cold day when I visited Bulyeongsa Temple. The historic Daeungbo-jeon Hall. A look inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. Unfortunately, the Vulture Peak Assembly painting was being repaired when I visited. The Sanshin-gak Hall to the rear of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. With a look inside at the Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) painting. —
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As the name of the sect already hints at, the Nirvana sect, or Yeolbang-jong (열반종) in Korean, follows the Nirvana sutra as its primary source of teaching. The main interpretation of this sutra is that beings have a Buddha-nature. And that Nirvana is obtained and expressed by acquiring the Buddha-nature that exists within all of us. It’s believed by scholars that the sutra dates back to around the second century based upon physical evidence and Chinese canonical catalogs. As for the Korean Buddhist form, it was transmitted by the Korean monk Bodeok-hwasang during the reign of King Muyeol of Silla (r. 654 – 661 A.D.). Before Bodeok, there was a monk named Wongwang of Silla that also studied the Nirvana Sutra in Chen (557 – 589 A.D.). However, it isn’t until a century later that the Nirvana sect grew to prominence under Bodeok.
Bodeok was originally from Yonggang, Goguryeo (present-day North Korea). While in Goguryeo, and as a monk, he was the abbot of Ballyeongsa Temple. Then, in 624 A.D., a messenger from the Goguryeo king, King Yeongnyu of Goguryeo (r. 618-642 A.D.) was sent to Tang China (618–690, 705–907) to ask for help to introduce Daoism to the Goguryeo Kingdom. The Tang emperor, Emperor Gaozu (r. 618-626 A.D.) gave consent and sent Daoist monks and images of heavenly deities to the Goguryeo Kingdom. As King Bojang of Goguryeo (r. 642 – 688 A.D.) ascended the throne, both Buddhism and Confucianism were doing quite well and flourishing within the borders of the Goguryeo Kingdom. However, Daoism was still in its infancy, so a special enjoy was sent to Tang China to ask for support from the Tang concerning Daoism.
Bodeok was critical of King Bojang of Goguryeo. Bodeok believed that the king was supporting the wrong belief system in the form of Daoism. In fact, Bodeok believed that the future of the kingdom was in jeopardy because of the king’s support of Daoism. And because the king wouldn’t listen to Bodeok, the monk voiced his displeasure and sorrow, and then he fled to the southern part of the Korean peninsula. Bodeok would flee all the way to Wansan-ju, which is now known as Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do. He would take up residence on Mt. Godaesan, which is now known as Mt. Godalsan.
As Bodeok expected, the Goguryeo Kingdom would fall in 668 A.D. After the fall of the Goguryeo Kingdom, Bodeok would found Gyeongboksa Temple, which would act as a home for him to help spread the teachings of the Nirvana sutra and the Nirvana sect. Among Bodeok’s eleven disciples, eight would found temples of their own which would help in the expansion of the Nirvana sect. Of the numerous temples established by Bodeok and his disciples, perhaps the most famous still in existence is Daewonsa Temple in Boseong, Jeollanam-do, which was founded by two brothers, Iljong and Simjeong.
After Bodeok, such prominent monks as Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.), Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.), and Gyeongheung would write commentaries on the Nirvana sutra, which would help to understand and expand the sutras meaning. However, it should be noted that none of these monks used the Nirvana sutra as a primary source of study; instead, it was used as a secondary source.Daewonsa Temple in Boseong, Jeollanam-do. —
I occasionally make videos about Hanja if I feel they're important to know, and this week's video is about the Hanja 분 (分).—
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