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Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana in Haeinsa Temple, Hapcheon

합천 해인사 대장경판 ( 陜川 海印寺 大藏經板 )

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Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana in Haeinsa Temple, Hapcheon
Quantity 81,258 blocks
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age Goryeo (1237-1252)
Address Haeinsa Temple, 122, Haeinsa-gil, Gaya-myeon, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do

The vast project entailing the publication of the Tripitaka Koreana was begun in 1237 (the 24th year of the reign of King Gojong of the Goryeo Dynasty) and completed in 1248 (the 35th year of King Gojong’s reign). As it was printed in the Goryeo Period, it is widely known as Goryeo Daejanggyeong (meaning, “Great Collection of Buddhist Scriptures of Goryeo”) or as Palman Daejanggyeong (“Eighty-Thousand Tripitaka”) since the total number of woodblocks used to print the scriptures came to more than eighty thousand. It is the second Tripitaka Koreana, replacing the first edition of the Tripitaka Koreana published by the Buddhist monk Uicheon, which had been destroyed by fire during the Mongol invasions in the reign of King Hyeonjong. The Tripitaka Koreana has since then been housed in Beopbojeon Hall and the Sudarajang Depositories of Haeinsa Temple. According to an investigation conducted under the Japanese Imperial Regime, the number of woodblocks reached up to 81,258, including some re-carved blocks that were added in the Joseon Dynasty. Each wood block weighs around 3 to 4 kilograms and measures 70 cm in width and 24 cm in length, although their thickness varies from 2.6 to 4 cm. The Tripitaka Koreana consists of 1,496 titles and 6,568 volumes. It is recognized as the most accurate Tripitaka, as the Buddhist monk Sugi of Gaetaesa Temple, who was in charge of the project, took extra care to correct any errors after conducting a thorough study of the Northern Song Tripitaka, a Khitan Tripitaka, and the Old Tripitaka Koreana. This is the oldest surviving Tripitaka in the world, clearly reflecting the influence of the Northern Song version and the Khitan version, neither of which has survived to the present day. It is one of the most prized cultural treasures in Korea, and has been designated as a UNESCO Memory of the World.