Korean Buddhist Complex Takes Shape in NY

Daewoongjeon under constructions as a part of the New York Wonkaksa Temple Development Project. (Photo via Korea Daily)

Daewoongjeon under construction as a part of the New York Wonkaksa Temple Development Project. (Photo via Korea Daily)

At Wonkaksa Temple in Salisbury Mills, New York, a new hall, Daewoongjeon, is under construction. It will be a special sanctuary for the worship of Buddha, and is part of the New York Wonkaksa Temple Development Project. The monks at the temple held a roof-raising ceremony last October.

[Editor’s Note: This Daewoongjeon is highly regarded for three features. First, the lumber used in its construction consists of rare wood, which is almost a thousand years old. Second, it is the biggest sanctuary (277.68 square meters) built without a central pillar in the building. Third, it follows the construction style from the Goryeo dynasty – which did not use nails – so it is a revival of the Buddhist architecture of Korea circa 1,500. Related video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVPQeDiN5Kc]

The construction started last April, and carpenters flew in from Korea to work on the project. They finished the floor and once the roof is covered with tiles, the construction of the ceiling and walls is planned and completion is expected by the end of the year.

The foundation and part of another building in the complex, the Mu Ryang Soo Jeon sanctuary, was finished last year. It is modeled on the sanctuary Bu Seok Sa, the second oldest wooden building in Korea, famous for its pillars. The pillars for the Salisbury Mills sanctuary are being made and will be brought to the U.S. with stones for the foundation of the colonnade.

Construction has also begun for two meditation rooms, which will be open to the public. The temple plans to operate meditation classes in the building.

The monks went to Canada to select logs and sent them to New York and Korea to be cut and carved. It is expected that the New York Wonkaksa Temple complex will introduce traditional Korean temple architecture to people in the U.S.

Wonkaksa held a celebration on the Day of Buddha’s Coming – his 2,560th birthday in the Buddhist calendar – May 15.

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