Seokguram Cave and Bulguksa Temple – World Cultural Heritage in Korea

After defeating the two kingdoms of Goguryeo in the north and Baekje in the southwest of the Korean peninsula, gaining dominion in 668, the Silla state made efforts to build a Buddhist nation, expressing its desire for peace. .

English name: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
Location: North Gyeongsang Province
Year of recognition: 1995
Criteria: (i)(iv)

Seokgul Cave (Thach Quat) describe the sacred moment of enlightenment of the Buddha Bulguk Temple (Buddha Country) describe the world of Buddhism through the eyes of the world. Both buildings have high historical value while preserving almost the entire architecture from the 8th century of the unified Silla dynasty.

In terms of construction planning, if Seokgul Cave accurately represents architectural, arithmetic, geometric, religious, and artistic parameters, then Bulguk Pagoda is a typical example of depicting Buddhist teachings. through unique architectural shapes, which are considered unique in Asia, the birth and development land of Buddhism.

1. Bulguk Temple

With the mission of expressing Buddhist teachings, architecture Bulguk Temple divided into many spaces such as Daeung Palace (Dai Hung) is the place to worship Shakyamuni Buddha representing the real world, Geuknak Palace (Uce Bliss) worshiping Amitabha Buddha is a symbol of the world of ecstasy, electricity Biro (Bi Lo) worships Bi Lo Gia Na Buddha as the image of absolute truth, Gwaneum (Quan Am) temple worships the statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara as a symbol of compassion, joy and discharge.

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seokguram cave and bulguksa temple - world cultural heritage in korea

Bulguk temple space is divided by bridges. The earthly world below is connected to the Buddha’s world by the bridges of Cheongun (Thanh Van), Baekun (White Cloud), Yeonhwa (Lotus) and Chilbo (Seven Treasures) bridges leading to the Geuknak (Extreme) Palace. Lost). The two bridges Cheongun and Baekun leading the entrance to the temple have a total of 33 steps, representing the 33 steps to enlightenment, encouraging ordinary people to make efforts to set foot in the land of Buddha.

Bulguk Temple (Buddha Country) is dedicated to three Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but overall, this is a unified space. This represents the important thought of the Avatamsaka Sutra, both recognizing differences and emphasizing harmony.

Hoa Nghiem Buddha Country This is the first name of Bulguk Pagoda (Buddha Country) from the early days of its construction, conveying the wishes of the Silla people to heal the wounds of war and build a peaceful and unified country.

Seokga Tower depicts the process of Buddha Shakyamuni Tathagata preaching the Lotus Sutra. The Dabo stupa shows the process of Buddha Tathagata proving that the Lotus Sutra preached by Shakyamuni Buddha is true.

The architecture of Seokga tower is simple but has a perfect balance and harmony. Meanwhile, Dabo tower is decorated with “seven treasures” (seven treasures mentioned in Buddhist scriptures including gold, silver, lapis lazuli, coral, amber, mother-of-pearl, onyx).

If the Dabo tower is a symbol of the sophisticated stone carving techniques of the Silla dynasty, then the book of the Unconstructed Tinh Quang Da La Ni stored on the second floor of the Seokga tower (Shakyamuni) is recognized as the best book. The oldest woodblocks in the world.

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2. Seokgul Cave

In order to represent the moment of Buddha’s enlightenment, turning from darkness to light, the Silla people built a temple in a cave and called it Seokbul Temple (Buddha Stone) side of Toham cliff 565m above sea level.

Different from the usual rock caves, Seokbul Temple, later called Seokgul Cave (Thach Quat), built of granite under the skillful hands of artisans. In particular, the cave has a dome-shaped roof made of 360 granite slabs, the top is covered with a stone slab weighing 20 tons. Therefore, Seokgul is also known as the miracle of the granite cave.

Seokgul cave has a circular main hall worshiping the 3.5m-high statue of Duc Thich Ton, and an auxiliary space a path away is the place to perform prayer rituals. This architecture clearly reflects the concept of “round sky, square earth” of the ancient Silla people.

Around the walls here are engraved images of vajra athletes, the four heavenly kings acting as protectors of the Buddhadharma and 39 images of Buddhas, bodhisattvas and disciples in the teaching of Buddhist scriptures.

Over 1,200 years, Seokgul cave has kept its original design thanks to the scientific architectural structure that helps to regulate humidity and air circulation in the cave. Silla artisans designed cold spring water to flow under the stone floor, causing the moist air inside the building to be pushed to the floor, creating an extremely effective ventilation effect. This is a work that clearly shows the superior wisdom of the ancients.

Map of Seokguram Cave and Bulguksa chùa Temple

Video of Seokguram Cave and Bulguksa Temple

UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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