Buddhism, loosely speaking

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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.

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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.

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 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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