Bulguk-sa. A suitable twinning with Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal?

WP_20160928_10_13_45_Pro_LI.jpgWe went to one of the oldest surviving Buddhist monasteries in Korea today, Bulguk-sa. Like Fountains Abbey, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s been around about 250 years longer than Fountains, as it was started in the year 751.

Both are religious foundations. But whilst the monks were forced to leave Fountains Abbey on the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, Bulguk-sa is still an active religious community. We were moved this morning by witnessing a solitary monk chanting his devotions in one of the buildings.

Both suffered the destruction of their buildings. Bulguk-sa, like so much of Korea’s heritage, was burned by Japanese invaders in the 1590s. Fountains Abbey crumbled following the Dissolution at much the same time.

Fountains Abbey remains a ruin. Bulguk-sa has been rebuilt. The Japanese destroyed Korea’s heritage so often and so comprehensively over the years that if significant buildings were not restored there would be, quite simply, nothing left.

So I think a twinning arrangement is in order. Exchange visits once a year as a minimum. Though with genuine Buddhist monks to welcome us at Bulguk-sa, I wouldn’t turn up in my polyester dressing-up robes from Fountains Abbey.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

14 thoughts on “Bulguk-sa. A suitable twinning with Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal?”

  1. I was going to ask if they might invite you to do a Fountains dress up but that probably would not go down too well with you or them. Sounds like a fascinating trip. Has M rallied now?


    1. It is. As is yours. I’ve loved your updates. Mal is fine, but getting very tired. A month has been too long for him, but I think I’m just getting into my stride. When do you leave?


    1. Of course, in one way I was writing a bit tongue in cheek. In fact I began to learn a lot as I reflected on the similarities in the history and way of life lived in the two places.


      1. Yes, amusing – but still a positive way to view and celebrate our world instead of more monastery destructions. I vote for more twinning and less eradication.


  2. You have such an interesting perspective, with your background at Fountains Abbey. And I want to hear more, at some point, about that photo with the lanterns (?) that look like strawberries!


    1. I think each lantern has a prayer or intention of some kind tied to it. There are simply hundreds of them there, and like you, I need to find out more.


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