Pages InformationWriter Jogye Date22 Jul 2015 Read3,547 Comment0
Three Jewel Temples,
Tongdo-sa, the Buddha Jewel Temple
The Three Jewels of Buddhism refer to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, also known as the “Three Refuges” for Buddhists. Among the major temples of Korea, there are three temples that correspond to each of these three jewels.
Over 1,400 years ago, Ven. Jajang, an eminent monk of the Silla Kingdom, went to China to study Buddhism. When he returned he brought with him the relics and the robe of Sakyamuni Buddha. In his search for the best location for the enshrinement of these two treasures, equal in status to the Buddha himself, he chose Mt. Chukseo-san in present-day Yangsan, which closely resembles India’s Vulture Peak where the Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra. On this mountain Ven. Jajang established Tongdo-sa Temple and built the Altar of the Diamond Precepts (Geumgang-gyedan), which enshrines the Buddha’s relics and robe. Ven. Jajang was appointed the National Head of the Sangha (Seungtong) and enforced strict Vinaya discipline among monastics at the Altar of the Diamond Precepts of Tongdo-sa.
Through the window in the Main Buddha Hall, the Altar of the Diamond Precepts is visible. As the relics of the Buddha himself are encased within the altar, there was no need to enshrine a Buddha statue within the hall. That’s why no statue of Buddha can be found within Tongdo-sa's Main Buddha Hall. The name of the mountain was soon changed to Mt. Yeongchuk-san, which means “Vulture Peak.”
- excerpt from Buddhist English (Intermediate 1) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism