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Haein-sa Temple

23 November, 2007 (09:35) | korea, literature/performance/film/music, medieval | By: xensen

haein-sa temple, korea

Haein-sa Temple is located in Hapchon County, North Kyongsang Province, Korea. It is home to the most complete set of woodblocks of the Buddhist Tripitaka, the canon of Buddhist scriptures. (Tripitaka means “three baskets.” It refers to the conventional division of the scriptures into the sutras, or teachings of the Buddha; the vinaya, or precepts for community members; and the abhidharma, or commentaries.) The Tripitaka Koreana consists of 81,258 blocks (comparable to nearly 7,000 printed volumes), containing more than 52 million characters.

Korea was a leader in print technology from early times. Koreans invented and employed moveable metal type long before Gutenberg. In my article at rightreading.com called “Gutenberg and the Koreans,” I argue that awareness of East Asian printing processes may well have reached Europe during the early renaissance (thanks to the Mongol empire, which connected the two areas). The article is schedule for publication in Arts of Asia magazine in 2008.
The image above is from Discover Korea. For more images and a brief description of the temple and the blocks, see this Granite School page.