The attack averted, Uisang set himself to the task of searching for
the ideal temple site. He found it on Mt. Ponghwangsan, but the villagers
refused to vacate the chosen spot. Once again, the dragon appeared, threatening
to hurl a massive rock on the village. The people fled and
the dragon came crashing to the earth and exhaled its last breath. This
is the site of the Main Hall of Pusoksa today. To the west you can see
a rock, a small portion of the one hurled by the dragon. Therefore, Pusoksa
is called Temple of the Floating Stone.
The Main Hall enshrines Amitabha. Originally built in 676, the present
structure dates from 1358, one of the oldest wooden buildings in Korea.
The foundation is of granite. The columns supporting the roof are fitted
with brackets which seem complicated at first but which are actually amazingly
simple. The hipped-and-gabled roof is in perfect proportion to the body
of the building, giving the hall a unique feeling. Inside, the statue sits
west facing east because it is an Amitabha, Buddha of the Western Paradise.
It is the oldest clay statue in Korea.
Chosadang, a hall for portraits of great masters, lies 100 meters to the northeast of the Main Hall. The building's original frescoes of guardians and gods are the best exisiting examples of Koryo Dynasty wall paintings and are currently being kept in a separate place for safe-keeping. Just under the eaves of Chosadang, there is a tree which sprang from a stick that Uisang put there on his way to India. He is reputed to have foretold that if a tree grew it would never die. And so it is, ever green and blooming after 1,300 years!
Pusoksa has many treasures: the flagpole supports; the Koryo wood-blocks; the pudo, conical stone objects in which the remains of famous monks are kept; the two stone pagodas; and the monument to Master Wonyung, are only some of the wonderful objects which have survived Korea's turbulent history. The stone lantern, which dates from the Unified Shilla Period, is a masterpiece of proportion anddesign.