Buseoksa Temple (부석사)
Pages InformationWriter Jogye Date23 Aug 2018 Read5,269 Comment0
2. Buseoksa Temple
Buseoksa Temple, which is located in Yeongju City, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, was established in 676 by Great Monk Uisang of Silla, the founder of Hwaneom School. Buddhism was the spiritual foundation of Silla that has greatly contributed to the consolidation of power even after the unification of the Three Kingdoms. Great Monk Uisang built Buseoksa in accordance with Hwaeom thoughts upholding the king’s order. Hwaeom thought of National Precepter Wonyung played an important role in centralizing power for the newly unified state. And the characteristic of such thought is shown in Buddhist arts related to Hwaeom school placed in the Ten Hwaeom School Temples established by Great Monk Uisang. Buseoksa is one of the Ten Hwaeom school Temples built during the beginning of the Unified Silla Dynasty.
Ever since, Buseoksa has maintained its high reputation as a mountain monastery representing Maitreya belief of Korean Buddhism from Goryeo Dynasty (918~1392) and Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910) to the present moment. Buseoksa Temple is a mountain monestery that has been built on a relatively steep terrain at the foot of Bonghwangsan Mountain with a beautiful scenery. The construction began around Josadang Hall and Muryangsujeon Hall area and rest of the buildings were built to the lower area along the steep ground on top of pavement in the 9th Century. Buseokesa Temple remained nearly undamaged even during the Japanese Invasion of 1592.
Buseoksa Temple became the central temple of Korean Hwaeom School and Maitreya belief. Muryangsujeon Hall, the main hall, has Amitabha enshrined as the main Buddha facing the east. This shows that Buseoksa has arranged the temple keeping Maiterya belief in mind as the central ideology. Muryangsujeon Hall was established in 13th Century which currently is one of the oldest remaining wooden structure. The building is a unique wooden structure and valuable heritage of East Asia that has features from both northern and southern Chinese architecture.
The characteristic of space arrangement in Buseoksa Temple is that there are different levels of pavements from the One-pillar Gate – Gate of Heavenly Kings – Gate of four Devas to Bell Pavillion – Central Yard – Anyangnu. In order to go to Muryangsujeon Hall, one has to walk up nine levels of pavements which represent the nine different types beings living in the heaven. In the other hand, this can also represent the spirit of practice according to the Boddhisattva’s way in Hwaeom teachings. Here, one can see the representative characteristic of a temple that has incorporated teachings into the space arrangement. Having built Seonmyogak, which contains the legend related to the founding of the temple, not so far from Muryangsujeon Hall but away from axis, Buseoksa Temple has integrated various aspects of Buddhist faith.
Since the foundation until today, Buseoksa Temple has continuously maintained Sangha community of monks and lay people. Uisang Daeje, a ritual to commemorate Great Monk Uisang according to the Hwaeom teachings, takes place on March 3 in lunar calendar in Buseoksa Temple. During the ceremony, a Dharma talk is held in Muryangsujeon Hall and a ritual for Great Monk Uisang take place in Josadang. After the ritual, After the rital, monks and lay followers walk along the Diagram of the Avataṃsaka Single Vehicle Dharmadhatu with the wooden blocks of Flower Garland Sutra on their head while chanting sutra.