Pulguksa monastery, (in) Kyŏngju, Gyeongsanguk-do, KR

Raw data

“The … Pulguksa Temple is the most famous Buddhist temple in Korea and the home to a number of important relics from the Silla period, including most obviously the two stone pagodas Tabot'ap and Sokkat'ap. It also dates from the 8th century, but has been rebuilt on a number of occasions.”

- “World Heritage Site: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple” http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/sokkurampulguksa.html

The temple, located on the outlying suburbs of Gyeongju, is on the Unesco Cultural Heritage list for its fine carpentry and paintings from the era of the Silla (Shilla) Empire (57 BCE–935 CE). There are two famous bridges, one with 33 steps that represent 33 stages of enlightenment. The two pagodas reflect the styles of the Silla kingdom and Paekche (Baekje) kingdoms respectively.

- Lonely Planet Korea (2010: 213)

“Its present structures, however, date to 751 when Kim Daeseong, a devoted Buddhist who had served as chief state minister, began building the large ‘Temple of the Buddha Land.’ An able administrator with an eye for beauty, Kim directed the construction until his death in 774, a few years before the project was completed. Originally consisting of more than 80 buildings, 10 times the number surviving today, it was the center of Silla Buddhism and served primarily as a place to pray for the Buddha's protection against invaders.”

“Kim Daeseong constructed Seokguram at the same time he built Bulguksa Temple and at the time, it was called Seokbulsa, literally Stone Buddha temple.”

- “Bulguksa Temple” http://www.koreanculture.org/06about_korea/symbols/08bulguksa_temple_seokguram.htm

“The construction of large monasteries in capital cities in the Three Kingdoms period turned into a truly significant government task. The monasteries became national institutions, receiving direct support and patronage from the palace and aristocracy … Until the ninth century, therefore, monasteries were mostly built in the cities.”

- Pak & Whitfield (2002: 12-3)

On the mountain overlooking Bulguksa is Sŏkkuram “a domed circular structure of granite blocks.” The main object of worship is a granite figure of either Gautama or Amitābha.

- Encyclopedia Britannica Online

‘It has been said that the original Sokkuram was commissioned by King Gyeongdeok of the Unified Silla (the conglomeration three main Kingdoms of Korea) in 742. Rumors say that the design was greatly influenced by several religious structures in India.”

-“Famous Wonders: Sokkuram at Bulguksa Temple” http://famouswonders.com/sokkuram-at-bulguksa-temple/

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Dec 03, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 08 Jul 2014

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Pulguksa monastery, KR.

General location of the Pulguksa monastery, KR.
Lat 35.78973 Long 129.331774
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2010.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Pulguksa 불국사 (佛國寺). Alternative English spelling: Bulguksa, Bulguk-sa.

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Korea, Republic of (South):Kyongsang-bukto
  • Korea: Gyeongsanguk-do

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Mount T’oham – Encyclopedia Britannica

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 35.78973 Long 129.331774 - based on the visual identification of the monastery in satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 7 Dec 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

11. Date-early

  • 6th century

MBM chrono-tag 0533-66p - tmciolek 08 Jul 2014
0533-66p 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99p dated-ex

12. Date-intermediate

MBM chrono-tag 0733-66c - tmciolek 08 Jul 2014

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Architecture, documents (The Samguk yusa)

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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