Above the Sanbanggulsa temple, up steps through the trees that cover the lower slopes of Sanbangsan, is a cave which is home to a small Buddhist grotto. A statue of the Buddha sits on a platform at the back of the cave, with candles and offerings placed by visitors. A stone trough has been placed under the steady drip of water from the roof in front of the Buddha with ladles to allow people to drink. A monk, wearing the grey of Korean Buddhists, was chanting and striking his moktak (hollow percussion instrument) when I visited a couple of days ago.
The location is quite something, with the rock face of Sanbangsan high above and views southwards over the coast to the islands beyond.
We visited the Sanbanggulsa temple today, at the foot of Sanbangsan Mountain – that’s the mountain in the photo at the top of my blog. We hadn’t set out to see it; we found it by chance.
There’s a temple building next to the road as you enter, with a big golden Buddha statue next to it. You can also walk up the steps through the trees and visit the grotto, in the side of the cliff face.
There are many things I don’t understand about Buddhism – the different statues and what they represent. Worshipers also leave various offerings, and I was intrigued by the little figures of children left at the foot of large statues, with their bald heads and big eyes, and their mixed expressions of piety, longing or irreverence.