Name/TitleBulguksa 佛國寺 a Buddhist temple on Mount Toham
About this objectWhen Buddhism started taking hold in the kingdoms of the Korean peninsula, mountains—already the home of the mountain god, Sansin (山神), and other deities, often became the site of temples for the new religion. Toham Mountain (吐含山) in the Silla kingdom (57 BC—AD 935) was no exception. Records state that King Beopheung (法興王, r. 514–540) established a small Buddhist temple here in 528, shortly after his minister Ichadon 異次頓 (501–527) was martyred for his Buddhist faith [EXH54]: the king is reported to have embraced Buddhism as the state religion after this.
According to the Samguk yusa (三國遺事) [EXH18], the current temple, Bulguksa (佛國寺), was built under the patronage of the Prime Minister Kim Daeseong (金大城, 700–774), along with Seogkuram rock-cut temple, (石窟庵) in memory of his parents and was completed after his death.
The temple buildings include two early stupas, Seokgatap (釋迦塔) [EXH52] and Dabotap (多寶塔). An 8th century printed dharani sutra, similar to those later commissioned in Japan [EXH25], was discovered in Seokgatap.
Subject and Association KeywordsEncounters
Object numberEXH43: Bulguksa 佛國寺