Sinheungsa Temple in Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

Sinheungsa Temple in Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

Seoraksan Sinheungsa Temple (설악산 신흥사) is a Buddhist temple located in Seoraksan National Park, Gangwon Province, South Korea.

Historical accounts vary as to whether this ancient Zen (Seon) temple was first constructed by Jajang in 653, first called Hyangseongsa (Temple of Zen Buddhism), or in 637 following his return from Tang China. It burned to the ground in 699, was rebuilt in 710, burned again in 1645 and was rebuilt in 1648 at its present location by Uisang.

This temple is believed to be the oldest Zen (Seon) temple in the world.

The Great Unification Buddha, a 14.6-meter/48-foot, 108 ton gilt-bronze Buddha statue, called “Tongil Daebul”, sits atop a 4.3-meter/15-foot high pedestal, of the same material, making the total height 18.9-meter/62-foot, excluding the lightning rod and nimbus.

The lotus pedestal is flanked with 16 delicately engraved panels and the forehead of Tongil Daebul is adorned with eight 8-centimeter/3-inch stones of amber, with a single piece of jade in the center that is 10-centimeter/4-inch in diameter.

Tongil Daebul sits with legs crossed and half-closed eyes in meditation, his lips displaying a perceptible smile. A flowing robe with gentle folds, revealing the right shoulder, drapes the Buddha’s robust torso. The hands of Tongil Daebul are positioned in the mudra symbolizing the “enlightened one.”

Contained within the hollow statue are three pieces of the Buddha’s sari, remains collected after his cremation, donated by the Myanmar government, and the Tripitaka, the original Buddhist scriptures.

The project to construct this statue of the Buddha cost 3.8 billion won ($4.1 million), raised through the contributions for over a decade from over 300,000 small donations from anonymous donors visiting the temple.

This statue represents the crucial wish of the Korean people for the reunification of the divided country.

Video Source: [한국 사찰여행 ~ 설악산 신흥사]설악산 기슭에 있는 신흥사는 신라때 자장율사가 창건한 천년고찰로 목조여래좌상과 천동대불좌상이 있는 곳,Korea temple Sinheungsa from 왔다왔어TV #캠핑,계곡,여행korea camping tour on Youtube ⁄ CC BY

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