Gyeongju City's    Seondo-san
Tomb of King Beopheung
Beopheung-wang 法興王, or "Dharma-Promoting* King", reigned from 514 to 540 CE.  His
original name was Kim Won-jong, the eldest son of Kin Jijeung, and he is recorded as the 23rd
sovereign of the Shilla Kingdom.  He established a "Ministry of Warfare", annexed the
nearby "Geumgwan-guk" tribal-federation, and in general began Shilla's centralization
of governing power and aggressive expansion.  There is a great historic temple named after
him, Beopheung-sa, located in Yeongwol-gun County of Gangwon-do Province, one of the
six Jeokmyeol-bogung temples established by great Master Jajang in the 640s.

*this heung can also be translated as thriving, prospering, flourishing and arising
Beopheung-wang founded Shilla's first Buddhist Temple, Heungnyun-sa, and retired there
as a monk after abdicating the throne to his son in 540 -- the only Shilla ruler to abdicate
in this way; and his Queen did the same to Shilla's first
biguni (Buddhist Nuns) temple.
King Beopheung declared the acceptance of Buddhism as state religion in 527, following the
dramatic
martyrdom of Ichadon in the royal palace -- about 150 years after rival kingdoms
Goguryeo and Baekje had done-so, a remarkably long stretch of stubborn resistance!   Therefore
he accepted the full panoply of Iron-Age Chinese culture along with the Buddhism leading it in the
imported "one package", becoming the first Shilla ruler to use the Chinese title "Wang" [king].
This slightly-oval stone-lined earthen tomb, relatively simple compared to later
Shilla royal ones, is 3 meters high and 13 meters in diameter.   
It has a lovely natural triangular "gate" of leaning pines in front of it, a rare feature.
It is surrounded by a luxuriant forest of some of Korea's tallest & oldest red
pine trees (highly sacred, "king of all plants"), and the pathway walking in from
Hyohyeon-dong Village on the southern foot of Seondo-san is remarkably peaceful
and beautiful.  We felt that this tomb would make an excellent site for meditation...
I
Gold Crowns from King Beopheung's general era, found in royal tombs andnow in the Gyeongju
National Museum.  Emblems of a Shaman-King, they feature sacred birch trees and deer antlers,
with cashew-shaped jades and gold bangles;  Beopheung would likely have worn one like this,
and there may well be one in his yet-unopened tomb.