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Tongdosa ( Busan ) is often called "The temple without a Buddha", for there is not a single outdoor statue of Buddha on grounds. Founded by the Priest Jajang-yulsa upon his return from China in 646 AD, it reputedly houses relics of the historical Buddha himself, including a robe, a begging bowl, and a bone from his skull. The temple survived the fall of Silla and thrived well into the Goryeo period (918-1392), when it became the first of the Three Jewel Temples in Korea ( Tongdosa, Haeinsa and Songgwangsa.) In the mid 15th century, Tongdosa may have contained hundreds of buildings and thousands of monks. Though most of these were destroyed in the Japanese invasions at the end of the 16th century, one building—the Daeungjeon—escaped the flames, and was last repaired in the early 17th century.

Tongdosa Temple