Legendary Buddhist flower blooms at a Mapo convenience store

Legendary Buddhist flower blooms at a Mapo convenience store

A Mapo Family Mart becomes Seoul's new flower-gazing hot spot overnight
Kim Jong-woo, the store manager of the Mapo JoongAng Family Mart, discovered the udumbara.

udumbara"All Buddhas come into the world but rarely, and are hard to meet ... like the udumbara flower, in which all take delight." (from the Lotus Sutra)The latest must-see botanical expo in Seoul is at a tiny convenience store in Mapo-dong. 

Korean news outlets are reporting that an udumbara -- a legendary flower in Buddhist literature believed to bloom once every 3,000 years -- has sprouted at a humble Family Mart. 

Store manager Kim Jong-woo was cleaning when he spotted the 17 tiny flowers growing on the window. 

He recognized the flowers, he said, from images on television. 

One of the most-searched keywords of Wednesday was "udumbara," and Family Mart reports that the foot traffic to the Mapo Joongang branch has been explosive. 

"A lot of sick people have been coming in to see the flowers," Kim told CNNGo. "They sit in front of the flowers and some of them say they feel better afterwards."

In the Lotus Sutra, the udumbara flower is used to reference how rare it is to meet a Buddha, and is also discussed in the context of enlightenment.

Ever ones to dispel any hint of romanticism, however, snarky netizens are asking if the threadlike stalks aren't simply some kind of mold or fungi. 

CNNGo could not independently confirm if the flower was indeed the udumbara.

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