Bulguksa

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Bulguksa is a Buddhist temple in the North Gyeongsang province in South Korea. 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 statues 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, which lies four kilometers to the east.

The temple is considered as a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom. It is currently the head temple of the 11th district of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.

The temple's records state that a small temple was built on this site under King Beopheung in 528. The Samguk Yusa records that the current temple was constructed under King Gyeongdeok in 751, begun by Prime Minister Gim Daeseong to pacify the spirits of his parents. The building was completed in 774 by the Silla royal court, after Gim's death, and given its current name Bulguksa (Temple of the Buddha Land).

The temple was renovated during the Goryeo Dynasty and the early Joseon Dynasty. During the Japanese invasions between 1592 and 1598, the wooden buildings were burned to the ground. After 1604, reconstruction and expansion of Bulguksa started, followed by about 40 renovations until 1805. During the Japanese occupation of 1910-1945, the Japanese conducted a restoration, but there are no records of the work done, and known treasures disappeared during this time.

After World War II and the Korean War, a partial restoration was conducted in 1966. Upon an extensive archeological investigation, major restoration was conducted between 1969 and 1973 by the order of President Park Chung Hee, bringing Bulguksa to its current form. The famous stone structures are preserved from the original Silla construction.