Religious Syncretism in Silla
Indigenous influence on Sukkuram mid-8th century. Exterior mound not an actual cave/excavated cavern. Took slabs of rock and stacked them up - chamber. On top of it, piled dirt and turf. Reminiscent of tumulus tomb. Conscious gesture towards local tradition. Shamanistic beliefs about evil spirit. Included a lot of daily items: wings of birds thought to provide spirit of dead to fly off safe. Burial practices: corpses would face East: main Buddha also faces east where the sun rises. Buddha is not the historical Buddha but sun Buddha (Vairocana, cult of the sun) everything in construction planned for a specific reason. Layout arranged in perfect symmetry: power to the particular site, having perfect balanc would enhance the cosmic power in the site.
"Three-dimensional mandala" complex, symmetrical. Sand mandala: stresses the idea of imperminence. Sokurram: 3-d representation of mandala? Clearly functioned as a sacred space.
traditional role of Shaman-kings Neolithic nature deities and religious beliefs in healing power. Shamans as intermediate between gods and people. Royal family as direct descendents of the high being - god, chonshin. Of Silla royal Crown: claw-like and elaborate. Buddhist notion of the ruler as Chakravatim: Silla kings built the temples to promote Buddhism, and chose sites that were already important to Shaman traditions. They cited sutras.
"Temple of the Yellow Dragon" when Silla kings built temples to promote Buddhism, they often chose sites that were already important in Shamanistic traditions. It represents Buddhism with pre-existing native beliefs.
Martyrdom of Icha-Don Icha-don: martyr, devised his own martyrdom in order for Buddhism to gain acceptance of nobles. He predicted that his "blood will turn into milk and head will fly into mountain." Served as a catalyst towards official acceptance. Gave Shamanistic credentials; through the power of magic one could associate with this religion.