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Tongdosa-Oct 16, 2011

by on October 16, 2011

Today we went to Tongdosa. Tongdosa is located on Mt. Chiseon. There are actually no Buddha statues in the temple and the temple survived numerous wars and invasions but it is said that the Beopdeung (temple candle) has not gone out for 1,300 years (damn I am a scientist why do I even copy this?). Instead of a Buddha statue the Geumgang Stairs behind the main building preserves some relics of the Buddha (like a robe, a bone from his skull, his begging bowl, etc) 

Dragon at the entrance to Tongdosa.

When we approached the Tongdosa Temple we noticed a lot of graffiti on the rock faces and then we passed through the four-post Ilju-mun Gate. To the right of that gate is a large field of stupa headstones honoring monks that resided and died at the temple.

Graffiti in stone.

Pass by two bridges to your left and pleasure the Buddha in front of the temple museum to your right. This is done like so:

Giulia and Salar pleasure the Buddha.

Next, you’ll pass through the Cheonwang-mun Gate, with the four fierce Heavenly Kings that guard the temple. Here are some pictures of the Kings. Enemies were stepped on by these guards.

One of four temple guard kings.

To see the poor guys that are being stepped on you have to lean over the wooden railing.

How does this feel you lousy non-Buddhist guys?

Passing through the gate, you come into into the outer courtyard of the temple. This is my second time at the Tongdosa temple and the view is still breathtaking. Immediately on your left is the two storied bell pavilion. I do like the wooden fish.

The music instrument hall.

There are several halls for various Buddhas such as Geungnak-jeon, dedicated to Amita-bul [Buddha of the Western Paradise (Las Vegas)–who makes all these names up?]. On the backside of Geungnak-jeon hall is a  painting of the wisdom dragon ship that brings people to the Land of Ultimate Bliss (Belgium). Also the Yaksa-jeon is here, this hall is dedicated to Yaksa-bul (The Buddha of Medicine).

Looking into the temple courtyard.

The next gate is the  Buli-mun Gate, this gate represents the division between the worldly and the spiritual realms.  The inner courtyard is the spiritual realm of the temple. In this courtyard there are a couple of halls dedicated to yet more Buddhas and Bodhisattavas. To your right are halls dedicated to the white Buddha Mireuk-bul [The Buddha of Future Salvation (Glenn Beck)], and behind this hall is a hall dedicated to Birojana-bul  [The Buddha of Infinite Cosmic Light (Sarah Palin)]. The building that houses Birojana-bul is believed to be the oldest wooden structure at the temple. When  you walk from Mireuk-jeon to Daejeonkgwang-jeon, look  at the exterior of the buildings there are some beautiful paintings  ( I like the tiger the best).

The pond in the picture below (we are sitting on a bridge over it)  comes with a bit  of history. The story goes that in a pond  on the future temple grounds (Guryong Shinji a.k.a. “Nine Dragons Sacred Pool”), monk Jajang-daesa found nine dragons. In order to start his temple, he had to drive  all the dragons off the grounds. But one dragon begged to stay so he could protect the temple from evil spirits. To house that one remaining dragon, the pool was dug for him to live and protect the temple. Small dragon I say.

Reflecting on all these difficult Buddha names. Why not Oh, or Kim?

Walking through the inner courtyard that houses an ancient stone lantern and stone pagoda, you  notice the brown main hall,  that is Geumgang Daeung-jeon and behind this hall is the Geumgang Gyedan, which houses the remains of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). In the middle of Geumgang Gyedan  sits a stone carved lotus bud which supports the bell shaped sari budo (stupa). This stupa is the focal point of the entire temple, and it’s also probably the busiest place at the temple as people are walking around the structure while praying (see picture below).

Holy Shrine.

To the  left of the Buddha’s remains (see bell shaped stupa above) is a shrine hall dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain god).

Hoping Buddhists have a good sense of humor here are some more pictures from Tongdosa.

Donut shrine erected by the CHP.

This is where all the lost home-works end up.

From → MY BLOG

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