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Early Buddhist Relics Found in N.Jeolla Province

Chosun Ilbo, Jan 19, 2009

Buyeo, South Korea -- It was the second from the period after an urn found at the site of a wooden pagoda at Wangheung Temple in Buyeo, South Chungcheong Province in 2007. The first urn was made in 577 during the reign of King Wideok, the 27th Baekje king.

<< The stone pagoda at the Mireuk Temple

Buddhists used to consider pagoda Buddha's tomb. So when they built pagodas, they put sarira urns near the cornerstones of the pagodas, alongside written records of how the pagodas were built.

The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage under the CHA said, "We're deciphering the written record kept with the latest golden sarira urn. It is an important relic that will reveal the history and exact records about the pagoda's building."

The pagoda in Iksan is the oldest extant stone pagoda and regarded as a fine example of Baekje artisans' artistic, architectural, and mathematical skills. According to the “Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms),” King Mu and his queen met the Mireuk Buddha and two Bodhisattvas accompanying him near a lake at the foot of Mt. Yonghwa on their way to the Saja Temple, and at the queen's request, the king later ordered the Mireuk Temple to be built there.

The CHA said the unearthed relics and details of the latest finds will be on public view at the site on Monday afternoon.

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