Seokbulsa Temple: Stone Buddha

Whilst living in Korea we have visited countless temples. While I enjoy a good temple, it’s still fair to say that the vast majority lack a distinct feature & are substantially the same. This is NOT true of Seokbulsa. Temples in Korea are typically dominated by wooden structures. Seokbulsa means ‘stone buddha temple’, & it lives up to its name. Smaller than nearby Beomeosa (where we did our templestay), Seokbulsa is often overlooked, but its unique nature should be  revered not rejected. Tucked away behind a temple hall are the spectacular stone statues of Buddha, carved into the rock face. These detailed etchings are a striking sight in size &  artistry as you walk through the prayer platform to explore the small caves sequestered in secret above. 

Stone caves & carvings

Smiling serenity at Seokbulsa

 Inside the temple hall are infinite rows of diminutive buddhas, a myriad of magic to behold. Their peaceful faces protrude from the masses, as if bobbing in a sea of gold. It really is a divine display, invoking a celestial atmosphere.  

The temple grounds aren’t any less inspiring. The forecourt looks out over the city of Busan, stretching right to the waters of the East Sea. Busan may well be a sprawl of concrete like all Korean cities, but it somehow looks attractive from aloft.  

Seokbulsa (석불사) is located on Geumjeong mountain, the opposite end of this giant rocky ridge to Beomeosa (범어사). The location is famous for once housing Korea’s largest fort, the remnants of which are still visible at the stunning South Gate (남문). From Geumgang Park at the mountain’s base you can either take on the challenging hike to the summit, or take the cable car save your energy for exploration around the mountain’s sites… being lazy & late, we opted for the latter!  



~ Rhys ~

One Response to “Seokbulsa Temple: Stone Buddha”
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  1. […] The so-called ‘Stone Temple’ has the unique central theme of,… surprisingly, STONE. Unlike other Korean temples there is a distinct lack of wood in this stone sanctuary. Tucked away in Geumjeongsan mountain’s dense forest in Busan, Seokbulsa is a hidden gem. Very few tourists make it here & its this ‘off the beaten track’ feel that adds so much to a visit here. The stone carvings are impressive in size & artistry, etched to perfection into the cliffs surrounding the main temple hall. Inside the temple, also made oddly of stone, are infinite rows of golden buddhas, bobbing in a sea of gold. Seokbulsa’s forecourt also offers impressive views of Busan city, a stretching sprawl of concrete right down to the East Sea. For more information read Seokbulsa Temple: Stone Buddha. […]

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