The 1000 years of Koreans’ breath The 1000 year anniversary of Daejanggyeong(大藏經), World Cultural Festival in 2011. September 23 ~ November 6, 2011 (45days)


Korea, the birth spot of the printing culture

The invention of printing is having a big contribution to the history of mankind. As this expanded the knowledge and accurate information through mass distribution of books, it crucially contributed to modernize the world. In the history of typography, Korea has the world’s best wooden block print and the world’s first metal-type book and has led the world into the printing technology as the birth spot of the printing culture.

Goryeo Daejanggyeong or Palman Daejanggyeong

Goryeo Daejanggyeong in Haein Temple is a collection of Buddhist scriptures and has known as the "Tripitaka Koreana". However, as the number of blocks was about 80,000, it is also known as "Palman Daejanggyeong". (*Palman means 80,000 in Korean.) The number 85,000 was considered countless or the great number in ancient India. Also, countless agonies of human are expressed as 84,000 agonies. The Sakyamuni Buddha’s various discourses on reaching nirvana out of sufferings and attaining to be Buddhahood are called the 84,000 Buddhist writings.

*Daejanggyeong(Tripitaka)

Immensity and perfection called mystery

The Tripitaka Koreana was completed in 1251. The number of wooden blocks is 81,350 and the total weight is 280 tons. It is about 3,200 meters, which is higher than the height of Mt. Baekdu(2,744m) when the entire 81,350 blocks are stacked. It is 150 ri(approximately 60 km), when they are placed in a line. Besides its enormous quantity, the quality is also excellent. As all blocks were consistent and beautiful like one trained person have worked on these, Chusa Jeong-Hui Kim, the master calligrapher from Joseon Era, said, "This was not done by a human being but was done by a Taoist hermit. In addition, there is almost no error or mistake and it is in a best condition as it was made in the modern. Therefore, the world is giving endless praises on Tripitaka Koreana by saying "This is the ultimate beauty of wood printing technology", "This is the world’s mystery" and etc.

Tripitaka Koreana designated as a world heritage site

The Tripitaka Koreana, which still remains perfect after 750 years, is the oldest wooden block Tripitaka and it has been complied into Tipitaka, the teaching of the Buddha. As the content of the Tipitaka was so accurate, it was spread all over the world and expanded the study of Buddhism and also influenced the world’s printing and publication. The Tripitaka Koreana is the essence of Goryeo culture, which is the most important in the Buddhist cultural history, and as its excellence has been known to the whole world, the Tripitaka Koreana (National Treasure No. 52) was listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 1995. The cultural value and the importance of Tripitaka Koreana have been reminded to our children that this is cultural heritage of mankind which we all need to preserve together. The Printing wooden blocks of the Tripitaka Koreana and the miscellaneous Buddhist scripture were designated by UNESCO as world record heritage in 2007.

The Chronological Table of the Tripitaka Koreana

1011 (2nd year of King Hyeonjong)
Started producing the Tripitaka Koreana
1087 (4th year of King Seonjong)
Completed the production. ‘The Cho-jo Tripitaka’Daegak Guksa Uicheon – Published Buddhist scripture ‘Sog-jang-gyeong’
1232 (19th year of King Gojong)
The invasions of the Mongols and the Tripitaka was burn and lost
1237 (24th year of King Gojong)
Started re-producing the Tripitaka Koreana
1248 (35th year of King Gojong)
Completed the most perfect Buddhist scripture『Tripitaka Koreana』(New Tripitaka)

Tripitaka Koreana

1. Width : 69cm , Height : 24cm / 2. Thickness: 2.6 ~ 3.9 cm, Weight: 3 ~ 4 kg / 3. Currently, 81,350 blocks exist. Height : approximately 3,200m (when stacked vertically), Length : approximately 60km (when placed in a line), Total weight : 280 tons