[Oh, Korea-⑳] Tripitaka Koreana
[Oh, Korea-⑳] Tripitaka Koreana
  • 김정남(본지 고문, 전 청와대 사회교육문화수석)
  • 승인 2022.10.22 05:44
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By Jeongnam Kim
(Former Senior Presidential Secretary for Education·Culture·Society, World Korean News advisor)

Daijangkyung is the complete collection of Buddhist Sutras, Laws and Treatises. The word is originated from Sanscrit, and the collection includes the Buddhist sutras, Laws and the treaties covering a wide variety of interpretations. 

When the Kitan invaded, an agency was established at the Buh-in Temple in Daegu under the supervision of which the first edition of the Tripitaka Koreana composed of 6,000 books, was produced printed on the wooden printing boards in reference to the Song and the Kitan edition editions over a period 77 years from 1011 in the years of King Hyeonjong to 1087 in the years of King Seonjong. The year 2011 marked the 1,000th year of its creation.

Afterwards, Daegak Guksa Uicheon published a supplement, or an enlarged edition, comprising 4,740 books with 1,010 chapters after 26 years (1073-1099) of researches referencing various books brought from the Chinese state of Song. The plates had been housed at Buh-an Temple until 1232 when most of them was burnt to ashes during the invasion of the Mongol army. The few that survived the fire is scattered to a number of places in Japan and home.

Goryeo, under the second invasion of the Mongol forces, established in 1236 an agency geared to produce a Tripitaka with a view to having its spirits encourage the people. The plan became a success after 16 years of hard work.

It was composed of 81,340 plates and the engraving was done on both sides of the plates, bringing the total of pages to at least 160,000. We call this the Tripitaka Koreana; the total number of words is 52 million. It took a full year years to move the plates from Kanghwa to the Haein-sa Temple.

It was recently revealed that the most of the plates were made of Mountain cherry, with only 10 percent made with birch. The felled trees went through the treatment process buried in salt water at first followed by the process of boiling in salt water and drying.

This process had the plates intact even till these days. In addition, they gave such a tenacious effort and integration to the project, paying a greeting of bow every time a word was engraved, which helped prevent the misprint or omission. 

It took such a long period of 240 years from 1011 when the first molding was started till 1251 when the second project was finished, accomplishing the great feast of history which had no comparison in the history of the world's printing history. This grand adventure completed which in part ran through a period of national crisis faithfully reflect the Goryeo people's high sense of independence, their standard of culture, and their dynamic openness.

The Tripitaka Koreana is the world's most complete collection of the Buddhist teachings. China produced their own collection in the late years of the Ching dynasty, and Japan their major axis printed in a smaller type, both based on the Korean original. The storage house in Haein Temple is noted for its construction scientifically designed to control the humidity in a very simple and practical building.



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