Buseoksa Temple(in Hangul: 부석사, in Hanja: 浮石寺) is the second oldest existing wooden building in South Korea, constructed in 676, the 16th year of Munmu of Silla. A prominent scholar-monk, Uisang overtook the construction, located near Mt. Bonghwang (봉황산/鳳凰山) in Buseok-myeon, Yeongju City, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
In 1372, large numbers of annexes were re-established by the great monk Won-eung at the time under King Gongmin's reign in 1376. A few buildings during Goryeo era (9th century to the late 14th century) remain until now, one of which is the main hall called Muryangsujeon located at the highest level, where Amitabha is enshrined.
According to Samgukyusa, which is the oldest remaining historical record of this region, there was a Chinese lady named Sunmyo who admired Uisang while his study in Tang China. Uisang was to leave Tang after finishing his study, and she dedicated herself so deeply and ended up transforming herself into a dragon to help him go over the challenges on his way back to Shilla.
It is said she expelled the evils which blocked Uisang from building the temple at the current site. She hang huge stones high up in the sky upon heads of the evils. There is a huge "floating" stone just next to Muryangsujeon (Buseok means 'floating stone' in Korean).
In the era of Uisang were several conflicts among the norms of Buddhism. He would like to accomplish the harmonious values between denominations and among people in social context. The conflicts were the impact of unification of Silla after a long war with Tang China. To harmonize subjected people, the royal power was required to establish the center of spiritual contents, one of which was to build the temples based on Uisang's Huayan school. In this way, each central area came to hold one Huayan temple in the end, leading to back off from chaotic social and political instability in the late 7th century.
During Goryeo Dynasty, the temple was called as Seondal or Heunggyo temple. In 1916, stained paper was found to tell that Muryangsujeon building had been re-built in early years of Goryeo whereas there was arson of enemy in 1358. Muryangsujeon and Josadong shrine were built in 1376 and in 1377, respectively.
As the oldest building, the temple cherishes several assets: 5 national treasures, 8 treasures and 2 tangible regional assets.
- National Treasures of South Korea
- Stone lantern in front of Muryangsujeon Hall (No.17)
- Muryangsujeon Hall of Buseoksa Temple (No.18)
- Josadang Hall of Buseoksa temple(No.19)
- Seated clay statue of Amitabha Buddha (No.45)
- Wall painting in Josadang Hall of Buseoksa temple (No.46)