Posted by: rbbadger | August 19, 2008

A small Buddhist temple near Gyeongbokgung

In a street filled with art galleries, bookshops, and museums is this small Buddhist temple.  I am not sure of the name, but it is interesting how they sort of grafted a temple onto a building which includes a small hall for exhibitions and a bookshop/religious goods store. 

There is also a small shrine outdoors.  Mahayana Buddhism, the sect to which the vast majority of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Buddhists belong, features several different Buddhas.  Of course, the main one is the historical Buddha, the Buddha Sakyamuni.  If I am not mistaken, this is an image of the Buddha Matreiya, the Future Buddha who currently abides in the Tusita Heavens and will come at some time in the future to enlighten all of humanity.  He is accompanied by two figures, one of which is a Bodhisattva on the right (these are often crowned) and perhaps a disciple of his on the left.  Figuring out which Buddha is which can be difficult, as the faces are often identical.  They are often distiguished by either the objects they hold or by the position of their hands. 

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