Visiting Chilburam and Sinseonam in Namsan

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1. Visiting Chilburam and Sinseonam in Gyeongju  without plans
after being impressed by pictures of sightseeing postcards


It was a sightseeing postcard for the Gyeongju Namsan Institute to promote tourism that made me first climb Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju. I’ve seen countless postcards with photos of main cultural relics on Mt.Namsan, but there has been nothing more attractive to me than the postcard picturing gorgeous and mysterious Maaebosaryuhuijwasang in Sinseonam – it was burned in my mind as a must-see place.

Today’s final destination is Maaebosaryuhuijwasang in Sinseonam.

First, hiking from Bucheogol is a typical trail to Sinseonam, but if you want to only see the cultural remains of Sinseonam, the trail from Tongiljeon via Chilburam right to Sinseonam is short in distance and a time-efficient route. You can climb down the mountain right here from Sinseonam, or prolong the travel because there is another trail over to Cheollyongsaji. It depends on the time available.

Sensitive BlogTM: Cigarette and coffee - Path to Chilburam and Sinseonam


Reaching Namsallisamcheungseoktap via Seochulji from Tongiljeon, you meet a path leading up to Chilburam. You can advance more up to a trail entrance (by an orchard), but it’s a good idea to park here not to interrupt climbers on foot.

It’s not a long way and you don’t have to be in a hurry, so please walk slowly on the way refreshing yourself with the fresh water in the valley.

From Chilburam, the green and deeply resonant sound of Buddist monk’s prayer to Buddha and a moktak is heard.

After climbing for about an hour, a small temple of Chilburam comes into sight, located on Mt. Namsan Gowibong Peak.

Chilburam has Samjonbul carved onto a huge southeast-facing rock surface before which a distinct tetrahedral rock stands with Yeorae statues on its each four face. A total of seven Buddhas including Samjonbul and Sabangbul (four positioned Buddha statues) gave the temple the name of Chilburam.

Sensitive Blog TM
Maaebulsanggun(rock-carved Buddha statue) in Chilburam(National Treasure No. 312)

There is Samjonbul on a Buddhist altar with 4-meter stone embankments in the east and the north to flatten the steep slope. 1.74m away behind it, Sabangbul was carved on Byeongpungbawi.

Samjonbul has a seated Yeorae statue in the center and the standing statue Bodhisattva to the left and right, flanking the main Buddha statue in the center. The main Buddha statue seated on a glorious lotus blossom shows the overwhelming generosity of Buddha with a round, smiling face, and elegant and dignified appearance.

The robe covering the left shoulder of the main Buddha expresses the vivid silhouette of the body. It has the right hand on the lap with mudra pointing to the earth and left hand on the belly.

The Bodhisattva statues on the right and the left are the same in size with the robes covering the whole body smoothly. The all Samjonbul images have dignified appearance carved with a high technique. The Sabangbul images carved on each of the four faces of the rock also have the figures seated on brilliant lotus blossoms with different-shaped hands when seen in different directions.

It is assumed that a space for a Buddha statue would be created first, and then the statue would be enshrined inside the space. Pieces of roof tiles are still being found near here, giving some ideas of the structure at the time. Given the carving technique and the traits of the style, the Buddha statues are thought to have been made in the 8th century of the unified Silla period-(source: Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea).

Putting our hands together as if in prayer and getting some rest in soft breezes refreshes our mind. The Scenery unfolding down the mountain is unspeakably beautiful, and the emergence of Tohamsan and the golden fields between pine trees is breathtaking. Upon further climbing, Sinseonam will be seen. Passing by Chilburam to the right leads to a trail from which the road is steep and narrow but there is no problem if you take a slow walk.

Climbing carefully along the rocky road for about ten minutes and turning around a cliff with room for only one person, you will see a Bodhisattvas statue carved on a skyward-rising rock looking like it is descending on a cloud. This is Maaebosaryuhuijwasang in Sinseonam ,the final destination for today.

On the cliff rock surface, the Sinseonam bodhisattva statue shrouded in mystery in a bo tree leaf-shaped canopy looks like it is sitting comfortably on a stool above the clouds with the right hand holding flowers and the left one posing in the nvitarka mudra, as if walking leisurely in the sky. Sitting before the statue and looking down, you feel like floating in the sky with Buddha because the world down there is covered with the green mists of the pine forests and the far-away peaks give us an illusion that they tower above the sky.

 Sensitive Blog TM Maaebosaryuhuijwasang of Sinseonam Sinseonam
(Maaebosalbangasang of Sinseonam, Treasure No. 199)

This statue is engraved on top of an upright cliff over Chilburam, so that if looks like it is sitting on a cloud. The image of it wearing a crown indicates it is a bodhisattva statue.

The statue is semi-seated on a stool covered with a robe with one hand holding flowers and the other posing in the nvitarka mudra in deep meditation creating the impression that it is overlooking the world from the heaven.

The shrine depicting the aura surrounding the head and body makes the statue outstanding remarkably. The Buddha statue is 1.4 meters in height and probably was built in the late 8th century of the unified Silla period. (source: Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea)

Grotesque rocks create a magnificent view with different images along the ridges of Gyeongju Mt. Namsan. I climbed up to Maaebosaryuhuijwasang of Sinseonam carefully as if going up a ladder of the heaven, from which a viewing of the sunrise over Tohamsan is possible. When I climbed down, I therefore made myself a promise to keep a wonderful picture of my own someday.



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