Buddhism, loosely speaking


Marado’s Cheonyeodang Buddhist temple has many of the things you’d expect – the monk, the bell, the Goddess of Mercy, the little cairns – but it’s the other statues that are the really interesting feature.


For a start, there’s a Harubang – the doleful looking character in the photo on the left. They’re a common sight on Jeju, made of dark volcanic rock, and placed outside gates to give protection against demons.


 I’ve got no explanation for the rest of the figures in these photos. It may be that a local potter has had some fun with the clay figures with the lopsided faces and incorporated them into his pantheon. There are more crooked-looking faces carved into the rocks in the walls around the temple.

I don’t know what a mainstream Buddhist would make of this. Maybe it’s a case of Buddhism being superimposed on local shamanist beliefs. The figures don’t look as if they’re seeking enlightenment, anyway.


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