Chris and I went up to Palgong Mountain to the Donghwasa Temple. Its in Daegu, and is famous for its HUGE Buddha statue, pictured above. Its hard to tell scale from this angle, but I can assure you that it is gigantic - 33 meters or 108 feet tall! The pamphlets in English say that this is the largest Buddha in the world! To give you some scale, the pagodas 17m high, so they are much shorter but look taller as they were much closer to the camera. (Click the pictures to get a larger version of it!)
There was this beautiful fountain next to the Buddha statute, which Chris assured me is good to drink, but I decided to stick with my safe, bottled water hah.
Because this temple was built in the mountains, it is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, giant trees, and breathtaking scenery. It was built here during a time period when Buddhist monks were persecuted, and this was intended to create a secluded place for the monks to live.
This was carved into a wall of rock on one of the paths through the mountain.
The temple was a large, spread out amount of land, with paths leading through the mountain with buildings, Buddhas, and statutes dispersed amongst the area. Every aspect of it was stunning.
Inside the buildings was an "alter" area, with buddha's image in pictures or statues... and in front was usually people praying at little stations like this. A small pad to rest on, with buddhist texts and materials for traditional ceremonies.
One buildings collection of buddhas.
A small archway leading up a path.
All of the buildings had buddhist symbols on the outside, this is one of the earliest forms of the peace sign.
I love the architecture. This painting is beautiful, and probably has been retouched numerous times, but I love it regardless.
In the entrance, and throughout the temple, there were giant statues of the temple's "protectors."
The protector is crushing a nondescript "bad guy."
I'm not sure if he is protecting or killing the dragon, but I think its awesome.
I'm really white.
The details of the paint really amazes me.
This is near the ceiling in one of the temple buildings.
This is the first temple I have been to, and I am more than impressed. It was beautiful, and serine, which was nice, as I have heard some are full of rather disrespectful guests. The weather was insanely hot, but more than worth it. I can't wait to see more of Korea, and to experience more temples. I am looking into doing a temple stay - staying the night in a temple, from about 4pm one day until the next afternoon. It was created to introduce people to Buddhism and the lifestyles of Buddhist monks. Stays involve creating your own prayer beads, traditional Buddhist meals, and doing the 108 bows monks do every day. I feel so ignorant of Korean and Buddhist culture, I think a temple stay would be eye opening and educational. I've been looking for one aimed at foreigners, with instructions in English, and think I should be able to do one in October.