Monday, May 6, 2013

Jinheon-dong, South Korea - Bulguksa Temple - Four Heavenly Kings Gate

Updated from earlier post!
The walkway was lined with brightly colored lotus lanterns. The lanterns cover the entire temple throughout the month and often spill down the street (as we saw in earlier posts). Each lantern had a Buddha child with a finger pointing up and one pointing down.

From wikipedia:
In Korea the birthday of Buddha is celebrated according to the Lunisolar calendar. This day is called 석가탄신일 (Seokga tansinil), meaning "Buddha's birthday" or 부처님 오신 날 (Bucheonim osin nal) meaning "the day when the Buddha came". Lotus lanterns cover the entire temple throughout the month which are often flooded down the street. On the day of Buddha's birth, many temples provide free meals and tea to all visitors. The breakfast and lunch provided are often sanchae bibimbap.

We entered the Temple grounds through the Four Heavenly Kings gate.  The Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings is a typical element of a Korean temple and marks the entrance to the entrance of the temple's boundaries.
 The first building housed the four guardian gods.  The building is vividly painted as were the guardian gods. In the Buddhist faith, the Four Heavenly Kings are four gods.  Each one watches over one cardinal direction of the world.
See if you can match up this description of the god with each of the four pictured.  (My guess is at the end of the post.)
North: name means "he who hears everything". Color is yellow. Symbol is umbrella, mongoose, stupa. A stupa is a mound-like structure.
South: name means "he who causes to grow". Color is red.  Symbol is sword.
East: name means "he who upholds the realm". Color is green.  Symbol is pipa. A pipa is a four-stringed Chines musical instrument, similar to a lute.
West: name means "he who sees all". Color is white. Symbol is serpent, stupa, pearl.

God 1 and 2
God 3 and 4

 The floor was tiled with long planks.
 These photos give a closeup view of the details.

 We walked through the small building and continued to the main set of buildings past a lovely grotto.

 There is always a place to stop and buy souvenirs.
And we continued on to the main front facade.

My answers to the "Name that God" quiz:
God 1 - East, with a pipa
God 2 - South, with a sword.
God 3 - West, with a serpent.
God 4 - North, and I am guessing that the stick is an umbrella.

Did we match or did you figure out a different order?  I checked my guess to the gods shown on this website:

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