temple compound includes many different buildings. Ranging
from grandiose main Buddha Halls to tiny Mountain Spirit
Shrines perched on the sides of mountains; no two temple
buildings are alike. Each one is built so that the aerial
view of the compound forms a mandala, and the main hall
the focal point of the compound is enhanced by the juxtaposition
of the other buildings.
main hall is the heart of a temple complex and so it is
built with special care and ceremony. It is highly ornamented
and decorated to enhance the beauty of its complex architecture.
about every temple includes a separate Mountain Spirit
Shrine in its compound. The mountain spirit, the resident
spirit long before Buddhism, arrived in Korea, has territorial
rights to the mountain and consequently gets a higher
place in the temple
compound. Many temples also have separate buildings for
the Seven Star Spirit (Big Dipper) and for the Recluse.
of the most important shrines is for Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva,
who usually has green hair and waits to help tormented
people. The Judges of the Hells are placed along the walls
of the shrine.
there is yet another hall dedicated to Avalokitesvara,
the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Sometimes a special shrine
is dedicated to the Buddha's disciples who have attained
enlightenment: the Disciple's Hall. Sometimes there are
sixteen and sometimes there are as many as one thousand
traditional buildings are built of wood. Usually no nails
are used and the wood, often, whole tree trunks are merely
interlocked. In this way, the buildings can be dismantled
and moved to different locations. Each piece of the building
depends on all of the others and the whole depends on
each part. In the cities, cement is being more and more
used, but much care is taken to make it look like the
traditional wood complex.
roofs are of special interest. Layer upon layer of whole
tree trunks of varying girth are interlaced to produce
the strength necessary to support the heavy tiles. Sometimes
tiered and gabled to an extreme degree, aesthetic proportions
are always kept in mind. An interesting fact is that traditionally,
people believed that evil travels in straight lines. In
order to stop it from entering the building the ends of
the roofs are curved up.
temple builders are so keen to preserve the traditional
atmosphere that they even go to the trouble of making
the washing and toilet facilities in the same style as
the other buildings. When you visit a temple, you will
notice a lot of wood and stone used to make different