鳳停寺에 관한 諸問題
Various Issues Regarding the Bongjeongsa Temple
Bongjeongsa Temple(鳳停寺), located in Mount Cheondeungsan in Andong City, North Gyeongsang Province, is widely known as a prominently old Korean temple. However, with regard to the most basic matters of the temple's history, including its establishment, characteristics of its Hall of Paradise(Geungnakjeon 極樂殿), and the Buddhist statues in the temple have not yet been deeply examined. I recently investigated the method of making a wooden seated Avalokitesvara at Bongjeongsa Temple using the X-Ray equipment. In the process of studying related materials, I had a chance to examine the historical background on the foundation of the temple, its reconstruction, and the actual date of the seated image of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. In this paper, the foundation of Bongjeongsa Temple and the characteristics of its Geungnakjeon Hall considered by examining various documents relevant to the temple, and the problem of the year when the seated Avalokitesvara was created will be discussed. First, the founder of Bongjeongsa Temple was Priest Neungin(能仁) as recorded in the document written on ridge-beam of the building(sangryangmun上樑文). But due to the fact that he was a disciple of Uisang(義湘), a famous priest from the Unified Silla Dynasty in the late seventh century, a process could be observed in which the successive generations embellished the story and began to identify Uisang as the founder of the temple. Second, the “prayer(願文)”on seated Avalokitesvara and the writings on the rectangular-shaped panel hung in the hall(hyeonpan 懸板) were examined, and some differences in the two records are noted. It seems that this was due to the difference in the purpose and the period of the writings. From that observation the Bodhisattva statue is supposed to have been made during the reign of Chengan(承安, 1196-1200). Third, Hall of Paradise could be traced back to the Goryeo Dynasty, during which time it was used as a Buddhist temple, and then because the complete collection of all the sacred writings of Buddhism was placed there in the early Joseon Dynasty, it was called Great Hall of Sutras(Daejangjeon 大藏殿) until the late Joseon Dynasty. However, perhaps because the collection of sacred writings were scattered and lost in later generations, the hall was identified as Geuklakjeon Hall in the nineteenth century. Fourth, a comprehensive overview of the documentary records shows that Bongjeongsa Temple carried out the construction of a large Buddhist temple for about a decade during the reign of King Gongmin(恭愍王, re. 1351-1374). It seems that the temple received patronage from the royal family due to the services it rendered during the time when King Gongmin had to take refuge in Andong, thus the major part of today's Bongjeongsa Temple was established by renovating the old structures of the temple, including the construction of its main building.
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