Supplementary Entries and Texts for the
ENCYCLOPEDIA  OF  KOREAN  BUDDHISM
by the Venerable Hyewon and Professor David A. Mason
Deleted entire Entry:
Sam-Taegeuk   삼태극   三太極               would have been on page 460
  Triad Supreme Ultimate;
             3-part symbol of universal dynamic oneness

A circular symbol with three equal-sized cashew-shaped or spiral-shaped parts
dynamically swirling after one-another, in three primary colors of red, blue and yellow.  
It represents the Cheon-Ji-In (天地人, Heaven, Earth and Humanity) trinity, see that
entry, and also a concept of ceaseless dynamic change and interaction among cosmic
supreme universal principles.   
See also the Taegeuk entry.   It is considered one official
symbol of Korean Daoism and Neo-Confucianism, but is frequently employed in artworks
and philosophies of Korean Buddhism, which over the centuries incorporated many
Daoist ideas and motifs.   The Sam-taegeuk can also be seen as a symbol or mandala of
attaining consciousness of oneness or ultimate inter-connectedness and unity, as a
result of Buddhist practices.

It has long appeared in many Korean Buddhist artworks, particularly in the
dancheong
(丹靑) multi-colored decorative painting of temple halls. Examples can be found from
before Neo-Confucianism became Korea’s official ideology at the end of the 14th
century.  Sam-taegeuks became ever more common in temple artworks of the Joseon
period, and still flourish today.

The Sam-t
aegeuk symbol is related to the eum-yang concept; see that entry.
It is also related to
Pungsu-jiri theory; see that entry.

For more information & photos, see
my Sam-taegeuk page.