Thursday, March 21, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Tongil Daebul

Tongil Daebul - 108 ton
            Day 5, Nov/21/2012, 11.00 am: As we make our exit from the cable car, Kent lead us to our next stop - The Great Unification Buddha. Along the way we stop to buy ice-cream. The way they sell ice cream in winter is rather creative. It does not looks like ice cream at all, but more like colorful beads. It does not melt because of the cold weather but it melts once it hit your tongue. After everyone had a cup of ice cream we hurry along to join Kent at a water fountain before the Buddha statue. Everyone are taking pictures with the water fountain as it had a rather unique design.  
          The Buddha statue is a 14.6 meter, 108 ton gilt-bronze Buddha statue, called "Tongil Daebul", sits atop a 4.3 meter high pedestal, of the same material, making the total height 18.9 meter. The lotus pedestal is flanked with 16 delicately engraved panels and the forehead of Tongil Daebul is adorned with eight 8 cm stones of amber, with a single piece of jade in the center that is 10 cm in diameter. Tongil Daebul sits with legs crossed and half-closed eyes in meditation, his lips displaying a perceptible smile. A flowing robe with gentle folds, revealing the right shoulder, drapes the Buddha's robust torso. The hands of Tongil Daebul are positioned in the mudra, symbolizing the "enlightened one." It was said that contained within the hollow statue are three pieces of the Buddha's sari, remains collected after his cremation, donated by the Myanmar government, and the Tripitaka, the original Buddhist scriptures. This statue represents the crucial wish of the Korean people for the reunification of the divided country.
          The maintenance cost of the Buddha statue are funded through donations, either through wishes candles or wishes roof tiles. I took the liberty to had a wishes candle lit and other family members offered some prayers in front of the Buddha statue. May all our wishes come true. Here are the pictures I took at The Great Unification Buddha area.
Location:         Seoraksan-ro, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea

How do one sell ice cream in winter time? A little bit of creativity goes a long way. Here they make it into beads that melt in your mouth. The cold and dry weather freezes the ice cream, but it melt once you put it in your mouth.
A magical fountain that seem to hang in thin air with water seemingly flowing out. Illusion? No. Go and see for yourself.
The gateway to Big Buddha statue and Sinheungsa Temple.
Big Buddha statue, also called Tongil Daebul in Seoraksan National Park up close and personal.
One for the album while admiring the Big Buddha statue up close.
Notice board explaining the Big Buddha statue origin and its historical facts.
Big Buddha is roughly 19 meters tall from the ground and sits on  16 lotus flower petals.
Little M taking off his shoes before paying his respect to Big Buddha.
Candles are being sold in the vicinity as a way to generate fund to maintain the Big Buddha. I donated by buying a candle which we wrote our whole family names' to seek Buddha's blessing. The candles were kept inside a cupboard to prevent wind from putting out the flame.
Offering of bags of rice being place at the foot of Big Buddha by devotees, flanked by 2 prosperity toads.
Big M praying for good result in his pre-U exam.
The offering of bags of rice up close. It signifies abundance and devotees prayed for abundance in life. Make sense.
Another way donation is being collected to fund the maintenance of Big Buddha in Seoraksan National Park - Roofing tiles that one leave his name with good wishes.

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