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The Manja – The Swastika: 만자

The Manja Front and Centre During Buddha’s Birthday Celebrations at Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan.

This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Introduction

I’m sure you’ve seen the Manja – 만자 several times when you’ve visited a Korean Buddhist temple. In the West, this symbol is known as a swastika, and it has a more ominous meaning to it, unfortunately. It’s now come to be synonymous with Nazism, Hitler, and the Third Reich.

However, while the Nazi use of the swastika stands for racism and hatred, the Buddhist idea of the swastika is meant to symbolize good fortune and auspiciousness. It’s a head-spinning world of difference. So let’s take a closer look at the history of the swastika, what it symbolizes, and why you can find it at a Korean Buddhist temple.

The Nazis appropriated the swastika for hatred (Courtesy of Wikipedia).
The left-facing swastika typically found at Korean Buddhist temples. This one is from Jangansa Temple’s Cheonwangmun Gate in Gijang-gun, Busan.

Design

A swastika is a cross-like symbol with four arms of equal length. At the end of each of these four arms, they have a bend in them at a right angle. There are right-facing/clockwise swastikas –, and there are left-facing/counter clockwise swastikas – . The first use of the swastika dates all the way back to the Indus Valley civilization that existed some five thousand years ago. The swastika can be found worldwide in the art of multiple cultures like the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Native Americans, Persians, and East Asians. Religiously, it can be found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In Korean Buddhism, the swastika, which is known as a Manja, is predominantly left-facing, while the Nazi swastika is right- facing.

Meaning of the Manja/Swastika

The word “swastika” is a transliteration of the Sanskrit word “svastika.” The word is a compound word. “Su/sv” means “good or auspicious” in English, while “asti” means “it is.” And “ka” is simply a diminutive suffix.” So put together, swastika means “it is good” or “all is well” in English.

It’s common to see the swastika at the beginning of Buddhist texts much like in Hinduism. In Buddhist texts, this symbol is meant to represent universal harmony, prosperity, good luck, the dharma, long life, and the eternal. Different forms of Buddhism throughout the world have different meanings associated with the swastika symbol. It’s common to find a left-facing swastika imprinted on the chest, feet, or palms of the Buddha. It’s synonymous with the dharma wheel and the turning of the wheel. More generally, the shape symbolizes the eternal cycle of Samsara which is a core tenet of Buddhism.

The Daeung-jeon Hall at Daewonsa Temple in Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do.
The Manja adorning the Daeung-jeon Hall at Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan.

The word for the swastika in Korean is Manja – 만자. The Manja is commonly used to represent the whole of creation, and the word literally means “The character for ten thousand.” Why is the number ten thousand so important? Well, “Man – 만” is a transliteration of the Chinese Character for “wàn” in Mandarin. This character variant, which is known as Hanja in Korean, has the meaning of “myriad, “all” or “eternity.” So “Man” is a homonym for both “ten thousand” and “myriad;” and hence the connection between the two words is formed.

In Sanskrit, Manja is referred to as Srivatsalksana. And while there are four different ways that this word can be expressed in Sanskrit, the most common is Srivatsa. Srivatsa, or Gilsanghuiseon (길상희선) or Gilsanghaeun (길상해운) in Korean, refers to one of the Samsipisang (삼십이상). The Samsipisang are the thirty-two marks of excellence that could be found on Seokgamoni-bul’s (The Historical Buddha) body. From his head to his toes, the Buddha was covered in these thirty-two marks of distinction.

Thousands of colourful lanterns during Buddha’s Birthday Celebrations at Samgwangsa Temple.

Korean Temples

So where exactly can you find the Manja at a Korean Buddhist temple or hermitage? Well, you can find them pretty much everywhere. In fact, when you’re looking to find a temple or hermitage on a Korean map, the map symbol that demarcates a temple say from a museum is a Manja. As for the temple itself, you can find a Manja pretty much anywhere and everywhere, including temple shrine halls and Buddhist artwork. Some of the more common places to find a Manja is the ornamental painting atop the roof of a main hall. Another place you can find the Manja is adorning the chest of a painting dedicated to the Buddha or in the clothes that a Bodhisattva might be wearing.

Manja Examples

There are a countless amount of great examples of the Manja throughout the Korean peninsula. The Manja is especially prominent during Buddha’s Birthday celebrations in Korea. Here are just a few specific examples that you can find of the Manja at Korean Buddhist temples. The roof of the Daeung-jeon Hall at Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan, and the Daeung-jeon Hall at Daewonsa Temple in Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do. There’s also a large Manja on the ceiling of the Cheonwangmun Gate as you pass through the entry gate at Jangansa Temple in Gijang-gun, Busan. There’s a beautiful white Manja that adorns the chest of Jeseok-bul in the centre of the Chilseong (Seven Stars) mural at Naewonsa Temple in Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do. And the Manja symbol can be found on the feet of the large bronze statue of the Reclining Buddha at Manbulsa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. As you can see, the architectural and artistic examples are nearly limitless.

The Manja on the chest of Jeseok-bul in the Chilseong (Seven Star) mural inside the Samseong-gak Hall at Naewonsa Temple in Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do.
The copper feet of the Reclining Buddha at Manbulsa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Conclusion

So the next time you’re looking for a temple on a map, or you’re in fact at a Korean Buddhist temple and looking around at the architecture and artwork, you’ll know that the Manja has nothing to do with the Nazis. Context is everything! In fact, when you see a Manja at a Korean Buddhist temple, you’ll now know that it’s meant to be a symbol for good fortune and auspiciousness. So while the symbol of the swastika has been associated for too long with hate and the Nazis; hopefully, slowly but surely, it’ll be reclaimed for something far more beautiful and peaceful. And perhaps one of those vehicles for change towards peace and beauty can start at a Korean Buddhist temple.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #97: Making a Phone Call

In this lesson we'll learn some useful information related to making a phone call in Korean. If you visit Korea for an extended amount of time, you'll probably want to make a phone call somewhere once or twice.

There will be 100 episodes in this series, so we're now already at 97% completion.

Remember that this course goes in order, so I recommend starting from the first episode - even if you've already learned a few of these lessons already. Everything is designed to let you follow from one lesson to another, without any learning gaps.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #97: Making a Phone Call appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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법이다 "It's natural" | Live Class Abridged

Sunday I did an Advanced lesson about a few grammar forms.

We learned about 법이다, 기 (or 게) 마련이다, and how they're different. These are both Advanced Level forms in that they can compliment other advanced level sentences, although they're not difficult to conjugate or use.

The post 법이다 "It's natural" | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Borisa Temple – 보리사 (Gyeongju)

Borisa Temple on Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju.

This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Temple History

Borisa Temple is located on the northeast side of Mt. Namsan (494 m) in the historic town of Gyeongju. The name of the temple means “Awakening Enlightenment Temple” or “Bodhi Temple” in English. It’s believed that the temple was first established in 886 A.D., during the 12th year of King Heongang of Silla’s reign (875-886 A.D.). The founder of the temple is unknown. Not only is Borisa Temple the largest Buddhist temple on Mt. Namsan, but it also falls administratively under the famed Bulguksa Temple.

In fact, Borisa Temple is mentioned in the historic Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms). The 13th century text discusses the location of the tombs of King Heongang of Silla and King Jeonggang of Silla (r. 886-887 A.D.) in proximity to Borisa Temple, when it states that the tombs are on the “southeast side of Borisa Temple.” This further highlights the rich and long history of the Silla-era temple.

Beyond this, unfortunately, not much of the temple history is known. And for a long time, Borisa Temple was abandoned. It isn’t until the 20th century, in 1911, that the temple was reconstructed by the monk Bak Beok-eum. And in 1932, the temple became a place for nuns under the guidance of Nam Beop-myeong. In 1980, the present Daeung-jeon Hall was constructed.

The temple is home to one Korean Treasure. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to why it’s not a National Treasure. It’s the Stone Seated Buddha of Mireuk-gol Valley of Namsan Mountain, Gyeongju, which is Korean Treasure #136.

Temple Layout

After passing by the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) that stands to your left up a side-winding road, you’ll enter the main temple courtyard at Borisa Temple. Straight ahead of you is the large Daeung-jeon Hall. The main hall is backed by a beautiful, lush forest of twisted red pines and bamboo. And the exterior walls to the Daeung-jeon Hall are adorned with colourful Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). As for the interior, there is a beautiful golden altar. And resting on this main altar is a triad centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). The triad is then backed by a beautiful golden relief and a large golden canopy overhead. And if you look closely, you’ll notice Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) floating around the golden main altar. To the left of the main altar is a shrine where you’ll find a stunning statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Jijang-bosal is wearing a beautiful golden robe, and he’s backed by a stunning mural of himself in the company of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). And to the right of the main altar you’ll find a vibrant Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

In front of the Daeung-jeon Hall is a three-story stone pagoda. To the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall is the temple’s office and dorms. To the left of the main hall, and situated under three large, red pines, is the beautiful Samseong-gak Hall. The exterior walls are adorned with paintings of the Sinseon (Taoist Immortals) and a white tiger. As for the interior, there are three impressive murals inside of the three most popular shaman deities. In the centre hangs a mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). To the right hangs a mural dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and to the left hangs a mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). If you take a close enough look at the Sanshin mural, you’ll notice the glowing, golden eyes of the tiger that accompanies the Mountain Spirit in the mural.

Finally, and probably the main reason you’ve traveled to Borisa Temple, there’s the Stone Seated Buddha of Mireuk-gol Valley of Namsan Mountain, Gyeongju. This statue is located to the rear of the Samseong-gak Hall. The total height of the statue is 4.36 metres, with just the Buddha itself being 2.44 metres in height. The face of the Buddha smiles with half-closed eyes. And the clothes that it wears covers his shoulders and hangs down loosely. The right hand is placed on the knee, and the left is placed on the belly, which is reminiscent of the Touching the Earth mudra. The statue is backed by a beautiful nimbus that’s made separately from the statue. It’s adorned with carvings of heavenly flowers and vines. It’s unknown as to the identity of this Buddha statue. It could be Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha), Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) or Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). On the back side of the Nimbus, in thin lines, is an image of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). Overall, the statue is beautifully preserved. The statue is believed to date back to Later Silla (668 – 935 A.D.), and it’s Korean Treasure #136. Again, why it’s not a National Treasure is beyond me.

How To Get There

From the Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take a taxi. Because the temple is relatively close to the bus terminal, the ride should only cost you about 8,000 won.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Without a doubt, the reason you’ve traveled all the way to Borisa Temple is to see the Stone Seated Buddha of Mireuk-gol Valley of Namsan Mountain, Gyeongju. It’s a beautiful example of Later Silla Buddhist artistry at its height. In addition to this Korean Treasure, you can also enjoy the ornate interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall and the golden eyed tiger painted alongside Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). And the entire temple is surrounded by the lush mountain forest of Mt. Namsan. It’s something not to be missed.

The Daeung-jeon Hall at Borisa Temple.
The ornate main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The shrine dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left of the main altar.
The Samseong-gak Hall at Borisa Temple.
The Chilseong (Seven Stars) mural inside the Samseong-gak Hall.
The golden eyed tiger inside the Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural.
The amazing Later Silla statue, which is Korean Treasure #136. It’s known as Stone Seated Buddha of Mireuk-gol Valley of Namsan Mountain, Gyeongju.
A better look.
The backside of the nimbus with the faint image of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha).
And the view that the statue gets to enjoy of Gyeongju.

Obscure Korean Counters | Korean FAQ

This is a video for Advanced Level speakers.

What's the strangest, or most uncommon counter word that you know? Most of these are... well, useless in regular speech. But as a teacher I've come across them used before. Some are actually useful at certain times, despite also being very common.

Do you know any others that I missed? Let me know in the comments here or under the video.

The post Obscure Korean Counters | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Busan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan at a Glance

Location: 

From: https://english.busan.go.kr/bsvaccination

Korean Website:  https://www.busan.go.kr/covid19/Prevention09.do 

Busan COVID-19 Vaccination Center
  • Location : Citizen Sarangchae in Busan Citizens Park, Busanjin-gu
  • Scheduled to open in the middle of March 2021
  • Phone : 051-605-6976
  • The city plans to operate a vaccination center in each gu/gun starting in July.

 

Busan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan at a Glance

Medical Institutions & Vaccination Centers

Visiting Vaccination

February~ May~
16,000 people 10,000 people
  • Residents and workers at elderly care facilities
  • Residents and workers at mental institutions and rehabilitation facilities
  • Residents and workers at home care facilities for the elderly and the severely disabled, etc.
Team from partnered medical institutions〮public health community centers
Team (1 team: 1 doctor, 1 nurse and 2 administrative staff)

COVID-19 Vaccination Information (by KDCA)

Ministry of Food and Drug Safety – COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Information

Original Post: 

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #96: I Want To

In this lesson you'll learn about the ~래(요) form, which can be used to say things that you want to do or intend to do. We'll also learn how this form is different from the (으)려고 form we previously learned.

The final four lessons of this series (100 episodes in total) will be focused on day-to-day conversations using everything that we've learned in this course. Stay tuned!

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #96: I Want To appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Ssangbongsa Temple – 쌍봉사 (Hwasun, Jeollanam-do)

The Newly Built Daeung-jeon Hall at Ssangbongsa Temple in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do.

This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Temple History

Ssangbongsa Temple, which is located in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do, means “Twin Peak Temple” in English. Ssangbongsa Temple was first established by the monk Cheolgam-seonsa. At the age of twenty-eight, Cheolgam-seonsa (797-868 A.D.) traveled to Tang China (618-907 A.D.) to study Buddhism. Cheolgam-seonsa returned to the Korean peninsula in 847 A.D. alongside Beomil-guksa (National Preceptor). Cheolgam-seonsa settled around Mt. Pungaksan in Namwon, Jeollabuk-do. He later moved to Hwasun, where he built a temple that he called Ssangbongsa Temple. The name of the temple was based upon his pen-name, which literally means “twin peaks” in English.

However, there is some dispute as to when the temple was built. The stele dedicated to Hyecheol at neighbouring Taeansa Temple in Gokseong, Jeollanam-do states that Hyecheol spent a summer at Ssangbongsa Temple after returning to the Korean peninsula from Tang China during King Sinmu of Silla’s (r. 839) reign. So it appears as though the temple had already been built before 839 A.D., and definitely before Cheolgam-seonsa’s return to the Korean peninsula in 847 A.D.

Whoever first built Ssangbongsa Temple first, the temple was part of the Sajasan School of Seon Buddhism. The monk Jinghyo first opened the Sajasan School of Seon Buddhism at Heungnyeongsa Temple in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do. Heungnyeongsa Temple is now known as Beopheungsa Temple, and it was one of the original Seonjong Gusan (Seon Sect Nine Mountains). Ssangbongsa Temple, under the watchful eye of Cheolgam-seonsa, was the first branch temple to open up under the Sajasan School of Seon Buddhism.

When Cheolgam-seonsa died at the temple at the age of seventy-one, King Gyeongmun of Silla (r. 861-875) awarded Cheolgam-seonsa with a posthumous honorary title in recognition of all the service he had done as a teacher for the state. It was also at this time that Stupa of Master Cheolgam at Ssangbongsa Temple (N.T. #57) and Stele for Master Cheolgam at Ssangbongsa Temple (T #170) were built to honour the Buddhist monk.

Ssangbongsa Temple was later rebuilt by Hyeso-guksa in 1081. From this time up until the later part of the 16th century, Ssangbongsa Temple was repeatedly expanded. During the Imjin War (1592-1598), Ssangbongsa Temple was destroyed in 1597. In 1628, the temple was reconstructed, and it was further rebuilt in 1667 and 1724.

Until recently, there were only three historic wooden pagodas that date back to the early 17th century that were Korean National Treasures. They were the Palsang-jeon Hall at Beopjusa Temple, the Mireuk-jeon Hall at Geumsansa Temple, and the Daeung-jeon Hall at Ssangbongsa Temple. While both the Palsang-jeon Hall and the Mireuk-jeon Hall still stand to this day at their historic temples, the Daeung-jeon Hall no longer stands. In 1984, while a worshiper was celebrating Buddha’s Birthday, the worshiper tripped over a candle and the entire Daeung-jeon Hall burned to the ground. The one that now stands at Ssangbongsa Temple is a precise replica of the former wooden pagoda.

Ssangbongsa Temple, despite the tragic destruction of the Daeung-jeon Hall, is home to one National Treasure and three additional Korean Treasures.

Temple Layout

Ssangbongsa Temple is located in a bend in a country road. From the temple parking lot, you’ll see the stately Iljumun Gate right in front of you. With slender pillars and a top heavy roof, the Iljumun Gate is a beautiful introduction to the temple. Next up is the Cheonwangmun Gate. Housed inside the Cheonwangmun Gate are four eye-popping Four Heavenly Kings. Just to the left, as you emerge on the other side of this entry gate, is the temple’s Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion).

Towering over top of the Cheonwangmun Gate, and the rest of the temple grounds for that matter, is the rebuilt Daeung-jeon Hall. The present three-story wooden pagoda dates back to 1986, when it was rebuilt as an exact replica of the original. The exterior walls are beautifully adorned with intricate Dancheong colours. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar of the Daeung-jeon Hall, is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha).

Directly to the rear of the three-story Daeung-jeon Hall, and up an embankment, is the Geukrak-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with Shimu-do (The Ox-Herding Murals). And sitting on the main altar of this temple shrine hall is the central image of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is joined on either side by standing statues dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

To the left of the Geukrak-jeon Hall, and still up the embankment, is the Jijang-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with some pretty scary murals dedicated to the Afterlife and the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld) and the particular underworld that they rule over. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, sits a green haired statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This central statue is joined by the Siwang. All of these statues are officially known as the Wooden Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Triad and Ten Underworld Kings of Ssangbongsa Temple. They are also Korean Treasure #1726. The collection of wooden statues date back to 1667, when they were first created by the monk Unhye and a team of Buddhist monks.

To the right of the Geurak-jeon Hall are two additional temple shrine halls. To the immediate right of the Geukrak-jeon Hall is the Nahan-jeon Hall. The exterior walls are adorned with various depictions of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). As for the interior, you see statues of the Nahan inside. And in front of the Nahan-jeon Hall is the Hoseong-jeon Hall. This building is off-limits to the general public; however, there are some beautiful paintings adorning the exterior walls of this temple shrine hall.

As for the rest of the temple grounds, and definitely the most historic, you’ll find the stupa and stele dedicated to Cheolgam-seonsa to the rear of the temple grounds in a sectioned off area. The Stupa of Master Cheolgam at Ssangbongsa Temple is National Treasure #57. The stupa is believed to have been first constructed in 868 A.D. upon the death of the beloved monk. While the stupa is typical of the designs of Later Silla (668 – 935 A.D.), the finial is missing from the top of the stupa.

Also in this part of the temple is the Stele for Master Cheolgam at Ssangbongsa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #170. The stele is believed to have been built at the same time as the accompanying stupa. While the body of the stele is missing, the base is turtle-shaped with the features of a dragon’s head. The dragon is holding a cintamani in its mouth, while the capstone is engraved with a cloud design.

How To Get There

From the Hwasun Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch Bus #218 to get to Ssangbongsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Unfortunately, the historic three-story Daeung-jeon pagoda no longer exists; instead, it’s been replaced by an exact modern replica. In addition to this beautiful architecture at Ssangbongsa Temple, you can see two amazing stone artifacts that give us a glimpse back into Korea’s past. There are a handful of temple shrine halls with beautiful paintings, as well as the treasured statues housed inside the Jijang-jeon Hall at Ssangbongsa Temple.

The Cheonwangmun Gate at the entry to Ssangbongsa Temple.
A look through the second entry gate.
The Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) to the left of the Cheonwangmun Gate.
The newly rebuilt Daeung-jeon Hall pagoda front and centre. To the left is the Jijang-jeon Hall. And to the right is the Nahan-jeon Hall and the Hoseong-jeon Hall.
A look up at the amazing pagoda.
A better look at the Hoseong-jeon Hall.
A painting of Wonhyo-daesa’s enlightenment that adorns the Nahan-jeon Hall.
One of the Siwang (Ten Kings of the Underworld) mural that adorns the Jijang-jeon Hall.
A monk conducting morning prayers inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.

 

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #95: Two Things at Once Part 2

This is a continuation of the previous episode, where we learned about how to say "while" using 동안 and (으)면서. This time we'll be learning about how to use the ~다가 form.

Remember that this course goes in order, so start from the beginning if you're new. There will be 100 episodes in total once it's completed, and the last episode will go up before the end of this month.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #95: Two Things at Once Part 2 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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