Miroku Bosatsu VS Bangasayusang

Miroku Bosatsu

The Koryuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan was built in 603, is the oldest temple in Kyoto with a 1000 year history. Therefore there are many relics in the temple. The most eye-catching is the wooden statue of the half-seated Mireuk bosal which was registered as the national treasure of Japan in 1951 for the first time. The statue of the Buddha is 124cm high made from a pine tree. Its beauty is well known throughout the world. A German existential philosopher, Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) praised the statue highly saying that he had never seen a piece of art which showed a more true peaceful appearance of human existence.

But there are not many people who are aware that this statue of Buddha was transferred from Korea. Have you seen Korean national treasure No.83, the bronze statue of half-seated Mireuk-bosal? This piece is exhibited as ‘The Smile of Buddha.’ This statue looks like a twin to the statue in Japan with its well-proportioned posture; the wrinkles in Buddha’s cloth expressed in elegantly three dimensions; the eyes, nose and mouth on the exquisite face as well as the quiet smile at the corners of the mouth.


However, this is not the only proof that the statue was transferred from Korea to Japan. The other fact is that the material with which the wooden Buddha was made was pine which does not grow in Japan. Many ancient books in Japan including ‘Nihon Shoki (Chronicle of Japan)’, ‘Fuso Ryakuki’, a Japanese historical document recorded that the statue of Buddha was transferred from Silla, an ancient Korean kingdom.

Therefore, not only Korean but Japanese scholars acknowledge the fact that the statue of half-seated Mireukbosal was transferred from Korea. Korea, China and Japan have been located geographically
close from ancient times ago so they have been in close contact and developed a unique culture respectively. Among them, Korea was the messenger to link the Chinese and Japanese cultures to create a new culture which changed Asia. There are many such examples.

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