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* Date : 2015-05-25

Bulbokjang, Placing History in Buddha Statues
Statues that welcome temple visitors with a gentle smile

The smiles on Buddhist statues assuage the worries of all, and people bow humbly in front of these statues as they make their wishes. However, these statues hold more than just wishes. Unimaginable treasures have been found in the statues over the years.

The statues become the Buddha

A statue is born from wood. Only after the bulbokjang, a ritual that symbolizes the addition of Buddha’s internal organs, is conducted can a statue become the Buddha who grants wishes. Only a select group of people can take part in this reverent ritual, which has afforded time capsules that have survived the test of time.

The splendid history of Korea found in the statues

From a woodblock print made a thousand years ago to a centuries-old Korean traditional upper garment, ancient treasures have been found inside the statues. These well-preserved bulbokjang relics attest the excellence of Korea’s print and textile technology and hold great cultural significance.

Today and tomorrow, placed in the statues

Newly established temples bring in new statues. These statues are filled with sarira, precious valuables, the huryeongtong, or treasure receptacle, and contemporary history. The world may change, but praying in front of the statues has remained unchanged for centuries. How will today be remembered in the distant future? The history that will be told tomorrow is being written inside the Buddha statues today.

Ancient stories found within statues

These statues from the past are storytellers. They carry the wishes of a court lady for the well-being of an orphaned prince, King Sejo's story of being cured of an illness after meeting the child Manjusri, and the wishes of King Sejo’s daughter for her father's health and long life.

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