How Buddhism came to Korea from Pakistan: Supjaengi Park and the First Sanctuary of Buddhism

by - April 09, 2018

This weekend, Galati headed down south of Korea, making a stop in the city of Yeonggwang. There, we visited a the Supjaengi park, which is also connected to the first Sanctuary of Baekje Buddhism.
The really crazy thing about this place we visited was its connections to Pakistan!

The Supjaengi Park isn't really much but the flowers were nice to look at. It's relatively small, and as soon as you go over a hill, you are already in the temple/sanctuary area.


The view from the hill is great and you can see a hanok village as well as a random display of trees!

The temple is really fascinating. It's significance lies in the fact that Yeonggwang wass the birthplace of Korean Buddhism and the sanctuary we visited was inspired by Gangharan culture. Surprisingly, there wasnt a proper name to this place, but it's called "Birthplace of Baekje Buddhism (백제불교최초도래지).

In 384, a monk called Marananta from Gandhara (present day Pakistan) came to Korea from China bringing with him Buddhist texts and knowledge of the then new religion. Marananta entered the mountains and founded Korea’s first temple, Bulgap-sa, also in Yeonggwang. His records or mentions are found in the Samgungnyusa. These are called, Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms and it is basically acollection of legends, folktales and historical accounts relating to the Three Kingdom Period, that I have mentioned about in earlier posts. These records narrate that Marananta was the one who brought Buddhism to Baekje, along with Sundo in Goguryeo and Ado in Silla. There are only scant mentions of Marananta in historical records.

Alongside the sanctuary, there is also a Gandharan Culture Hall, or museum, which has a lovely collection of Gandharan sculptures and artifacts from this important period of exchange between cultures.

Next to the temple area is the Beopseong Port - a small, quiet fishing community well known for its signature catch yellow corbina, or “gulbi”. The fish, caught year round, is served fresh, partially dried, or fully dried. Traditionally, the most prized and expensive variety of gulbi is salted and then dried outside during the cold winter months.

The Sanctuary was created to commemorate the first introduction of Baekje Buddhism through the Beopseong Port. If you walk further, you see stairs leading up to a large Buddha!

If you climb the stairs, you come across a section of the temple, where there are lots of Buddha statues and also a temple you can pray in.


Once out of the temple, you see another flight of stairs to the larger Buddha, but there isnt any prayer area there.

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