A picture may be worth a thousand words but a Buddha statue may be worth many thousands more. I was delighted to recently find this pic of Seokgoram online.

This Buddha, built about 742 AD, is about a mile trek up the mountain of one of Korea’s most visited temples, Bulgukgsa. For hundreds of years, Buddhist pilgrims have climbed the steep slope, hoping for a bit of nirvana. I didn’t think a mere glimpse of a statue could transport me to an everland of peace, but it’s the closest any have come. This picture does it a disservice, the fine craftmanship and the subtle lighting more blur than bliss.

Built to be housed inside a stone grotto, this Buddha receives a beam of sun each dawn, the third eye and entire forehead illuminated. The intent was to keep Japanese invaders away.

If you ever get to Korea, make this a stop. Note, however, that no one can take any photos inside the grotto and that the popularity of the destination may mean waiting on line. I waited, was given about a minute to look, and then stepped out of line to more fully observe its radiant beauty. Impressive artistry and a deeply moving experience.

 

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