Haetal Bridge and Panya Bridge


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Haetal Bridge and Panya Bridge

 

Once you pass the Iljumun there is a small lotus pond. It is said that when Bulguksa was being rebuilt in 1970 this pond was constructed with Anapji as a model, but in any case it has a pretty, winding bank, an island, and even a small waterfall. The rainbow-shaped stone bridge over the pond is known as Haet'al Bridge. As Haet'al is a Buddhist term meaning enlightenment, it is naturally said that crossing Haet'al Bridge leads one in the direction of that goal.

After one crosses Haet'al Bridge, there is a group of 33 steps, after which one comes to the Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings. Past this gate but before the Taeungjon there is a second bridge, known as Panya Bridge, after the first two characters of the Korean term for the Heart Sutra. Panya means, more or less, wisdom -- the wisdom with which one is supposed to enter the temple and Buddha's Land (Pulguk).

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