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    Sibiji-shin – The Twelve Spirit Generals: 십이지신

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction One of the more common things to greet you at a Korean Buddhist temple, in one form or another, are the twelve Zodiac animals; which, in Buddhism, they’re known as The Twelve Spirit Generals. In Korean, they’re known as the Sibiji-shin – 십이지신. And they come in many forms at a Korean Buddhist temple. They can appear as shrine hall paintings, statues, or even adorning pagodas. However, the way…

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    The Manja – The Swastika: 만자

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction I’m sure you’ve seen the Manja – 만자 several times when you’ve visited a Korean Buddhist temple. In the West, this symbol is known as a swastika, and it has a more ominous meaning to it, unfortunately. It’s now come to be synonymous with Nazism, Hitler, and the Third Reich. However, while the Nazi use of the swastika stands for racism and hatred, the Buddhist idea of the swastika…

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    Gwimyeon – The Monster Mask: 귀면

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction If you look close enough at temple paintings, you’ll probably notice a menacingly grotesque face staring back at you. To the uninitiated eye these faces appear to be nothing more than ornamental. However, these paintings do in fact have a meaning. So what are their meaning? What do they look like? And why are they are adorning Korean Buddhist temples? Gwimyeon Design The name of these ornamental designs that…

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    Yong – Dragons: 용

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction One of the most common things you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple is a dragon. You can find them in paintings, statues, adornments, latticework around shrine halls and even under bridges. So why do you find so many dragons are a Korean Buddhist temple? History of the Korean Dragon As Buddhism started to migrate eastward from India, it started to take on local influences and forms. One great…

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    The Sermon on Vulture Peak Painting – Yeongsan Hoesang-do: 영산 회상도

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! The Sermon on Vulture Peak Painting History The English name for the Yeongsan Hoesang-do is The Sermon on Vulture Peak Painting. It’s a highly symbolic painting that most people see at a Korean Buddhist temple, but they simply don’t understand its meaning. So what does the Vulture Peak painting look like? And what is its meaning? During the Goryeo Period (918-1392), Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) was the…

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    Dancheong – Temple Colours: 단청

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Dancheong Introduction One of the most recognizable features that distinguishes Korean Buddhist temples from a Japanese or Chinese Buddhist temple are the elaborate colours and motifs. Korean Buddhist temples are decoratively painted in a myriad of colours that include reds, blues, greens, yellows, blacks, and whites. So why exactly are they adorning Korean Buddhist shrine halls, and what do they all mean? History of Dancheong The oldest surviving example of…

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    Podae-Hwasang – The Hempen Bag: 포대화상

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! The History of Podae-Hwasang Until recently, I had no idea that Podae-hwasang even existed in Buddhism. It was only after researching him a bit more that I found out who the easily misidentified jovial figure was. Sometimes, he can be confused for the Buddha, but he’s in fact Podae-hwasang. Podae-hwasang, who is better known as Budai or Pu-Tai in Chinese, is a disguised monk. Podae-hwasang is believed to be an…

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    Shinjung Taenghwa – The Guardian Mural: 신중 탱화

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction The Shinjung Taenghwa is one of the most popular murals that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple. In English, the Shinjung Taenghwa means “Altar Painting of Guardian Deities,” or the “Guardian Mural” for short. This mural is highly intricate. So what exactly does a Shinjung Taenghwa look like? Where can you find it? And what does it all mean? Shinjung Taenghwa Design The Shinjung Taenghwa is a relatively…

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    Gamno-do – The Sweet Dew Mural: 감로도

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction One of the more difficult Buddhist murals to find at a Korean Buddhist temple is the Gamno-do, or “Sweet Dew Mural” in English. In fact, I’ve only ever seen this mural at a handful of temples and hermitages in all of my travels. So what is a Gamno-do? What does it look like? And what is it supposed to mean? Gamno-do Design A Gamno-do depicts the Ullambana Sutra. Other…

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    Budo – Stupa: 부도

    This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support! Introduction When you first enter a Korean temple or hermitage, or even their grounds, you might see a row of strangely designed stone monuments that somewhat resemble headstones. In Korean, these are known as “budo,” or “stupa,” in English. Officially, they are known as “seung-tap,” or a “monk’s pagoda,” in English. So what exactly does a Korean Buddhist stupa look like? What are they for? And what are their symbolic…