This was built as the central and main temple
of Buyeo City (under another name) in the late
500s CE after the Baekje Kingdom moved
its capital here (from Gongju). A century later
Baekje and Buyeo were conquered and
sacked; only this stone masterpiece and a
few smaller relics remain to recall the glory.
The exquisite 5-story granite Buddhist Pagoda
is now National Treasure #9, and similar but
inferior pagodas of this style can be found all
over the Chungcheong and Jeolla Provinces.
It is modeled after the larger wooden tower-
pagodas built in China -- and a few in Korea
(compare the famous one at Beobju-sa, and this at
Jiri-san S Munsu-sa) -- and many later-on in Japan.
When Tang Chinese General Su Tin-fang
defeated Baekje and occupied in 665 CE, he
carved an inscription (Chinese characters of
course) on the first-story sides, proclaiming
his victory, virtues and exploits. This text is
now considered a very valuable source for
studying Korean history.
Relics of Baekje Kingdom and the Goryeo
Dynasty near the foot of Buyeo's Buso-san
|The new Museum for study and preservation of this site's artifacts
|The posted plan for eventual full reconstruction of this temple
This strange, large statue is all that is enshrined in the rebuilt Main Hall. Scholars believe that it was originally a
Biro-bul [Vairocana the Buddha of Infinite Cosmic Light] icon carved around the same time as the above pagoda,
probably in the middle of the 7th Century. If so, it's one of the biggest Biro-bul statues ever made in Korea. It was
badly damaged when Buyeo was conquered, or perhaps later-on. The temple was rebuilt and renamed Jeongnim-sa
in 1028 CE by the Goryeo Dynasty. They, or someone in the next few centuries, placed this ruined statue-body in the
new Main Hall, and gave it a crude new head -- seemingly trnsforming it into a Mireuk-bul [Maitreya Buddha] icon,
which are common monumental stoneworks still found today n this region, erected during the Goryeo era.
Also near Buso-san's foot, this was a recreational pond built behind
the Baekje Palace, now restored as a charming public park.