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Gyeongsan Palgongsan Mt. Gatbawi

What is Gatbawi?

Gatawi is a statue of the Buddha created in the Silla Era, which was built using the rocks enclosing the rugged 850-meter-high Palgonsan Peak as a background, like a folding screen.

It is said that Uihyun, a great Buddhist monk, created this statue for consoling his dead mother, and as it is believed to grant at least one wish if you pray to it with utmost sincerity, it continues to attract millions of worshippers.

Introduction

  • Designated name : Gwanbong Seated Stone Buddha in Palgonsan Mountain, Gyeongsan
  • Designated item : Treasure No. 431
  • Date of designation : 1965.9.1
  • Location : Gyeongsan-si, Wachon-myeon, Gatbawiro 81-gil 176-64
  • Gwanbong Seated Stone Buddha was built using the rocks enclosing the rugged Palgonsan South Peak in Gyeonsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do as a background, like a folding screen. The peak is also called “Gatbawi” from the shape of the statue that looks like the Buddha wearing a gat, the traditional Korean hat.
  • Hair (cassia bark), which looks like a topknot, is clearly visible on his head. His face is round, corpulent, and elastic, but his eyes slant upwards, creating a solemn expression, without a benevolent smile. His ears are long enough to touch his shoulders, and his thick and short neck has three wrinkles, representing his Three Teachings. His slightly upward shoulders are wide, upright, and healthy, but his chest is plain and his body shape makes him look heavy and clumsy. His coarse but delicate hands, which are on his knees, look like Hangmachokjiin, with the end of his right hand pointing to the ground, making the statue look like an object of worship in Seokguram. The fact that in his left hand is a tiny medicine pot shows, however, that it represents a medicine Buddha.
  • The pedestal on which the statue sits is a quadrangle, and the clothes drape its front and back. The rocks enclosing the statue like a folding screen play the role of a halo, but the statue separately stands far away from the rocks. The Buddha’s corpulent but uncomfortable face, his formatted clothes’ lines, and his inelastic body show the characteristics of the 9th-century statue of the Buddha, which are different from those of the 8th-century Buddha.

Gatbawi Story

  • Legend has it that when Uihyun, a Buddhist monk, created the statue in the Silla Era to lead his dead mother to heaven, cranes flew at night to protect him from the cold, and provided him with three meals. According to another legend, when Wachon suffered from drought, the villagers set fire to the statue and caused it to become blackened. The dragon was so surprised upon seeing it that it brought down rains to wash the Buddha.
  • It is believed that if you pray to Gatbawi (yang) and Bulguksa (yin) at the same time, your prayer will be twice effective because while the Gatbawi Buddha in Palgongsan Mountain holds yang energy, the Bulguksa Buddha, also in Palgongsan Mountain, holds yin energy. As such, your sincere prayer to the two Buddhas on a single day will make your dream come true.