It’s currently being renovated so there’s a lot of digging and building going on- not very tranquil. However, if you have a thing for Buddha statues, this is the place for you! Manbulsa mean 10,000 Buddhas (man= 10,000, bul= Buddha, sa= temple). It’s a bit of a theme park.
You know how some foreigners say “seen one temple, seen ’em all” ? Well, I learnt a few new things here.
– Dead babies. This was creepy: there are rows upon rows of baby Buddha statues with little caps, being guarded by Chinese Horoscope sign characters. Some little statues have chocolates and others have money and trinkets hung around their necks. All of them have names though. These statues represent babies who died before being born- these are the parents efforts to ensure that the baby gets re-incarnated.
– Graves. I’ve grown used to seeing round mounds on mountainsides and assumed this was the standard way of burial for Korean Buddhists but there are a couple of different graveyards here.
– Wishes: A water fountain with little Buddha figures adorning it. Apparently if you make a wish and pour water over the statue’s head three times, your wish will come true. Let’s see about that!
– Sin: There is a small bell that you can gong 3 times to absolve all your sins. Wow, that was easy! I’ll be back for more no doubt!
I really liked the “sleeping pose” Buddha, a.k.a death pose Buddha because it reminded me so much of the one in Bangkok, only this one is A LOT smaller, as in 10m long and it’s bronze, not gold leaf. I liked his golden robe, meters of fabric sewn together and draped over him to keep him clean.
Manbulsa Temple has a novelty factor that you won’t find at many other Buddhist sites in Korea so I definitely recommend going- only wait a month or so to give them time to complete their renovations!
How to get there: Follow the directions on the official website.