Video: Buddha’s Birthday at Bulguksa, Tongdosa and Sinseonsa Temples


Since we’ve been on the topic of Buddha’s Birthday lately, I thought I’d post a few HD videos shot at a few of the Buddhist temples around Gyeongju this year on Buddha’s Birthday, aka Seokga Tansinil (석가탄신일). Rob Fioretta, my coworker at Gyeongju University, was kind enough to share with me the video he took of the lantern parade at Gyeongju’s famous and historical Bulguksa (불국사) Temple that night. The lantern parade on Buddha’s Birthday is my favorite time to visit Bulguksa (in fact, it’s one of the few times it’s not filled with hoards of screaming school kids and bus tours) and the atmosphere there is very magical. I’ve been three times since I moved to Gyeongju, though I haven’t shot any new video since 2008. The quality of that old video is pretty lo-fi, so thanks Rob for the update ;-)



As for myself, my family and I went to visit the equally historical Tongdosa (통도사) Temple the day before Buddha’s Birthday, so I’ve spliced some footage of the festivities at Tongdosa together below. Tongdosa is one of the “Three Gems” of Korean Buddhist temples and is home to what is believed to be a relic of Śākyamuni, the Historical Buddha, which is housed in the reliquary in the last sequence of the video. The relic was a gift from the Buddhist Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty and brought back to the Silla Kingdom by Venerable Jajang during the reign of Queen Seondeok (but more on that curious story later). Unfortunately our son was teething and a bit grumpy during our visit, or I would’ve gotten a bit more footage.



The last video here is a short one I shot of the ancient stone Buddhas of the Miruk Grotto (미룩굴) of Sinseonsa Temple (신선사) on Mt. Danseoksan. But since I just posted on that a few weeks ago, I’ll let you check out the details in the previous post. And don’t forget the videos are a full 1080 p in quality, so set the  Youtube player to “full screen” and readjust the quality setting  for full effect. Until next year’s Buddha’s Birthday, enjoy the videos!

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