Tag Archives: Danseoksan

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Buddha’s Birthday at Sinseonsa (신선사) Temple on Mt. Danseoksan (단석산)

Miruk Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple, Mt. Danseoksan, Gyeongju

Miruk Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple, Mt. Danseoksan, Gyeongju

Like many things in Gyeongju, I’ve been meaning to write about Mt. Danseoksan for a while, but I’ve been too busy to get around to it.  However, celebrating Buddha’s Birthday, or Seokga Tansinil (석가탄신일), yesterday at the ancient stone grotto of Mirukgul (미룩굴) on Mt. Danseokan has given me the best reason I’m probably going to get.  Located about 10 km south-west of Gyeongju City, Mt. Danseoksan is officially part of Gyeongju National Park and is famous for its history, legends and natural beauty.  Literally meaning “Split Rock Mountain,” Mt. Danseoksan is, in fact, named after one such ancient story involving the famed Silla general Kim Yu-sin. read more »

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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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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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