A close relationship existed between Buddhism, Buddhist monks, and the hwarang organization during the Silla period. The hwarang were most closely associated with the cult of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Several sūtras associated with the Maitreya cult encourage the performance of the assembly of the eight prohibitions, at which the hwarang-like sylph boys (sŏllang) danced during the Koryo period. Buddhist monks often but not always served as spiritual mentors or attendants to particular hwarang. Both Buddhist monks and hwarang also made excursions to famous mountains, the best example being the Diamond Mountains. Because Buddhists established permanent monasteries on the mountain, the center of hwarang excursions moved north to the coastal site of Kŭmnan. Buddhist monks and hwarang may have sought encounters with supernatural beings in their excursions to secure worldly success for the Silla kingdom through the protection of the gods and buddhas.


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