"Gyeongju" Top 5 Page for this destination Kyongju by i-s-a

Kyongju Travel Guide: 192 reviews and 503 photos

As I am reliving my wonderful memories of Gyeongju, I found an interesting piece of story (from www.ocp.go.kr/english) about the place. Let me share it with you:

Legend of a Filial Son

In the small village of Moryang-ri on the western outskirts of Gyeongju, there lived a poor woman named Gyeongjo who had an odd-looking son. The villagers made fun of the child as he had a big head and a flat forehead, that looked like a wall. They called him Dae-seong, meaning "big wall."

The boy's mother was too poor to feed him so she gave him to a rich neighbor named Bogan as a farm hand. Dae-seong worked so hard that his master was moved and gave him a small piece of a rice paddy. About this time , a virtuous monk named Jeomgae from Heungnyongsa temple, visited Bogan and asked for a donation for a big ceremony at his temple. As Bogan handed him fifty rolls of hemp cloth, the monk bowed in appreciation and said that the Buddha would repay his generosity by blessing him ten thousand times the worth of his donation.

Dae-seong overheard this and ran home and told his mother, "Now we are poor, and if we do not give something to the temple, we will be poorer in our next lives. Why don't we give our little rice field for the ceremony so that we may have a great reward in our afterlives?" His mother readily consented and donated their rice field to the temple.

Dae-seong died a few months later. On the night of his death, a voice from heaven was heard above the house of Prime Minister Kim Mun-ryang. The voice said that Dae-seong, a good boy from Moryang-ri, would be born to Kim's family. Kim's wife conceived at the time the heavenly voice was heard and gave birth to a boy. The child kept his left hand tightly clenched for seven day after his birth. When he opened his fist at last, they found the two characters for Dae-seong written in gold on his palm. They gave him his old name and invited his mother of his previous life to take care of him.

Dae-seong grew up into a strong man who loved hunting. One day he climbed Mt.Tohamsan and there he killed a big bear. As he was sleeping in a village at the foot of the mountain that night, the bear's ghost appeared in his dream and threatened to kill and eat him unless he built a temple for him. Dae-seong built a temple on the spot where he killed the bear and named it Jangsusa, meaning the Temple of Long Life. From that time he gave up hunting.

Dae-seong was moved by the heavenly grace. He built the beautiful Bulguksa in memory of his parents of the present life and the wonderful cave temple of Seokguram for his parents of the previous life. He invited the two distinguished monks Sillim and Byohun to supervise these temples. He had his fathers and mothers represented among the icons at these temples in gratitude for bringing him up as a useful man.

After the great stone Buddha for Seokguram was finished, Dae-seong was working on a large piece of stone for the ceiling of the main hall when it suddenly broke into three pieces. He wept bitterly over this and fell into sleep. During the night, gods descended from heaven and restored the stone to its original condition. Dae-seong awoke with joy and climbed the southern peak of Mt.Tohamsan, where he burned incense and worshiped the deities. People called the place Hyangnyong, or Incense peak, thereafter.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:a World Heritage Site ... must-visit!
  • Last visit to Kyongju: Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated Nov 9, 2006
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Comments (14)

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Interesting pages...a GREAT accommodation find you've shared here..Thanks.. :o)

  • Mr.Sparkle's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2009 at 2:41 AM

    pretty good page here, but i think you should move your tourist trap tip to the warning or dangers sections... seeing how its not a tourist trap at all.

  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2009 at 10:52 PM

    Hi there, I would be interested to read some words in the empty tips with photos only. Will you finish them at some point? Thank you, Sissi

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2009 at 9:57 PM

    Buti ka pa naka-ikot ka na sa South Korea!!! Doon ako sa Bomun Lake Resort - hehehe, para 5-star (baka masyadong mahal!) Oh well, one of these days...

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2007 at 6:49 PM

    Excellent page of Kyongju. So many wonderful temples and historical sites. Thanks for visiting my Samui pages. Yes, I collect maps, tickets, etc, LOL.

  • Pixiekatten's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2007 at 7:12 AM

    your tips will be very useful on my trip this summer.. :) Just added them to my travelguide! Thanks for sharing!

  • ukirsari's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2006 at 11:38 PM

    hahaha, yes i am in your korea page whenever you're in my indonesia page :) i like this unesco site, isa ... hoping to be there someday!

  • maysue's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2006 at 7:41 PM

    I like your story about the filial son. It's great!

  • lmc2626's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2006 at 7:12 PM

    medyo occupy isip at lakasan ng loob ata talaga pag bbusines............basahin ko to mamaya

  • Oct 15, 2006 at 10:27 AM

    lovely page! Nikos


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