As the Buddha statue located at Paljungdo has reached the age of 50, it is currently being cleaned and mended for a tidier look. The repair began on March 12th and is expected to be done by April 25th. The mending is more than mere construction work, for the statue has a long history that symbolizes the distinguished Buddhism at Dongguk University.
The repair includes eradicating the rusted parts and tidying up the external marble and inner tiles. The overall body of the statue is being cleaned up. According to Jeonggakwon, the expected cost of the whole repair project amounts to 60 million won. Lee Min-ki, a faculty member from Jeonggakwon, explained that the statue is being mended as this year has special meaning to the school and to the statue. Sin Ji-hyeong, a section chief from Jeonggakwon, also added that renewing the symbol of the school provides a chance to remember the school's founding spirit and Buddha’s teachings.
Indeed, the repair holds a special meaning to the school other than merely tidying up the statue for a better appearance. In addition to the statue becoming 50 years old, this year is the 108th anniversary of the school. This particular year is an opportunity for the school to commemorate the founding principles, “to build up one’s character based on the Buddhist virtues, to make the nation, mankind, and nature full of wisdom and benevolence, and to realize the ideal society in which people can trust and respect each other.” Also, the repair implies the school’s hopes for prosperity in academics and Buddhist studies.
It was the student that originally proposed the building of the Buddha statue to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Dongguk. Jo Jae-ho, the president of the Student Council of College of Buddhism in 1964, made a request to the school, which was supported fully by the Student Council. The Council collected 12 million won and donated the money to the school. The statue was established for a total amount of 56 million won. The sculptor Kim Young-jung, who also sculpted Dongwoo Tower at Manhae Plaza and the public cemetery of the 4.19 Revolution, was in charge of the statue. Since then, the statue had gone through just one repair when someone painted a cross over the body of the statue in June, 2000.
The Buddha statue has been with Dongguk since 1964, watching the growth of the school throughout its history. It would be meaningful for Donggukians to remember the meaning of the statue and its history when they pass by. Such small efforts can keep the image of the statue in Donggukians' minds until the statue is revealed again with even warmer hands.
Park Jung-yeon firstname.lastname@example.org
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