Monthly Archives: December 2010

Buddhist culture Gyeongju history Statues & carvings tips for tourists

Ancient Buddhas of the Shilla Dynasty: Part 2

Continued from Part 1…

Avalokitesvara Relief, Mt. Namsan, Gyeongju

Avalokitesvara Relief, Mt. Namsan, Gyeongju

Avalokitesvara: The Bodhisattva of Mercy

One of the key differences that evolved between Mahayana (Northern School) and Theravada (Southern School) Buddhism is the former’s belief in Bodhisattvas, or “Bosal” (보살) in Korean.  These are highly enlightened beings who have vowed to postpone their final enlightenment until all sentient beings on earth have been awakened.  Most Bodhisattvas are simply humans who’ve taken the Bodhisattva vow.  However, some are considered to be god-like spiritual beings with great compassion and power, who Buddhists can petition for aid and refuge in times of suffering. read more »

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Festivals holidays photography Pohang Sites to see tips for tourists

The Homigot (호미곶) New Years Sunrise Festival

Hand of Harmony, Homigot Sunrise Plaza

Hand of Harmony, Homigot Sunrise Plaza

For most westerners, New Years Eve means late night parties with friends or family (and usually booze) where we count down the seconds to midnight and ring in the New Year with cheering and fanfare.  Korea has a different, if no less alcoholic, way of ringing in the New Year.   Every December 31st thousands of Koreans brave the freezing cold and flock to various beaches and mountain peaks where the stay up all night to watch the first sunrise of the New Year.  You may not know, but one of the most popular spots in the country for greeting the sun on January 1st isn’t far from Gyeongju:  The Homigot Sunrise Plaza (호미곷해맞이공원). read more »

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Buddhist culture Gyeongju history Statues & carvings tips for tourists

Ancient Buddhas of the Shilla Dynasty: Part 1

Sakyamuni Buddha, Golgulsa Temple, Gyeongju

Sakyamuni Buddha, Golgulsa Temple, Gyeongju

Looking at the history of Gyeongju, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of Buddhism to the ancient Shilla Dynasty.  The acceptance of Buddhism by the Shilla in the 5th century C.E. brought an increased cultural exchange with China.  This coincided with the military rise of the Shilla Empire which ushered in the “Golden Age” of the Shilla Dynasty.  This cultural renaissance saw the construction of many architectural marvels, like Bulguksa Temple (불국사) and the nine-story Golden Dragon Pagoda of Hwannyeongsa Temple (황룡사), and creation of great artistic masterpieces, such as Seokkuram Grotto (석굴암). read more »

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Food & drink Hwangnam-dong restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #15: Dosol Maeul (도솔 마을)

Dosol Maeul Traditional Restaurant, Gyeongju

Dosol Maeul Traditional Restaurant, Gyeongju

I apologize for being a bit slack with the restaurant reviews here lately.  It’s been long overdue that I post on one of the classic tourist restaurants in Gyeongju: Dosol Maeul (도솔 마을).  And, unlike a lot of over-hyped tourist restaurants around here, Dosol Maeul is well deserving of its reputation. read more »

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Arts & crafts Buddhist culture Events Hwangnam-dong Music & dance tips for tourists

December Events in Gyeongju

Seorabol Cultural Center (image from www.gjcwc.or.kr)

Seorabol Cultural Center (image from www.gjcwc.or.kr)

There are a few things going on in Gyeongju this month that I thought I’d mention here.  First, I recently heard that the Buddhist Art Majors at Dongguk University are currently holding an exhibit of their work at the Seorebol Cultural Center (서라벌 문화회관).  The Buddhist Art Program at Dongguk University is pretty unique as it focuses on traditional styles of Korean Buddhist art, such as painting temple murals.  I had the pleasure of viewing some the students’ work on campus before and it’s fairly impressive.  Unfortunately this current exhibition only runs until next Tuesday, Dec. 7th, so try to catch it this weekend, if you can. read more »

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