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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Five Hundred Arhats of Changnyeongsa Temple

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Powerhouse Ultimo / Sydney

Arhat is a Buddhist term. In Sanskrit it means “one who is worthy,” and it refers to whomever has attained the venerable state of enlightenment, or nirvana. An arhat has freed the self from the bonds of earthly desire, a feat few can accomplish. In 2001 and 2002, a group of 500 ancient stone figures was discovered deep within the ruins of a temple in Yeongwol, in the South Korea’s Gangwon-do Province. These figures represent the “Five Hundred Arhats”—disciples who gathered to compile the Buddhist teachings into chapters, or sutras. Though the cache’s exact provenance is unknown, it is estimated to be between 600 to 1,000 years old. Here at Powerhouse, 50 of those arhat statues and one Buddha wear expressions that range from joy to anguish to serenity. Kim Seung Young, the artist who arranged the arhats, has also provided a sound installation comprising 1,000 audio speakers. —E.C.

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Powerhouse Ultimo 500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia
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