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Friday, May 21, 2010

Samkwangsa Temple

Last night, Aaron and I ventured over to a huge temple in Busan for Buddha's birthday! Here's a little history lesson for ya! Seokgamoni, the founding figure of Buddhism was born on the 8th day of the 4th lunar year (which usually falls sometime in May) and Buddha's birthday is the most important holiday of the year for Buddhists.

The temple complex is so big in fact, that there is a space for 10,000 Buddhists to gather together at one time!! There were thousands of people walking the grounds of the temple last night... and probably tens of thousands of lanterns lighting the way!
On the street leading to the temple, street vendors had set up shop to sell their fruits, vegetables, traditional Korean sauces, fried chicken, fresh pajung, sweet potato fries, squid balls, candy, etc... It was a party, for sure! Here's an ajuma selling some traditional Korean rice cakes which she probably made in her own kitchen.

This was a Korean traditional candy making table. Kids love this stuff! The candy is made from melting brown sugar at just the right temperature. It's then flattened and stamped with a shape like a heart or a star and the kids use toothpicks to try to punch the shape out!

These gorgeous traditional lanterns lit the street leading to the temple!

Each lantern within the temple structure has a special paper hanging from it with a number and a name. I'm not sure what this means, but some people were searching for their lantern and stopping to pray at it.

We spotted this woman, tucked back in a balcony area of one of the temple structures, meditating and chanting...

Me and Aaron :)

This was a 9 tier, 8 sided, 90 foot tall Daebo Pagoda carved with 53 Buddha relics. Buddhist followers were walking around the pagoda with their hands in a prayer position chanting sutra to the 53 names of Buddha. They believe it deepens their piety and gets rid of evil spirits.

Dragon's are a huge part of Buddhism... Apparently they represent defenders of the faith and are a positive symbol in the religion. Interesting huh?

I'm always taken back when I see this sign! I have to remind myself that it's not the nazi symbol! This was one of the main buildings on the temple grounds, adorned with colorful lanterns!

It was magical the way the lanterns lit the night sky...

I had heard about this temple, but I had no idea until I got there how incredibly beautiful it was! Visiting a Buddhist temple during this time of the year is an experience that I think everyone should have! I've seen beautiful beaches, gorgeous monuments, and fantastic nightscapes... but I have never, in my life, seen anything like I did last night!


  1. The photos are gorgeous, did Aaron take them?

  2. Thanks Bri! We actually both took them. Some are mine and some are his... About 1/2 and 1/2 :)

  3. Let's just say, the good ones are mine!