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1,000 Years of Tripitaka Koreana to Be Celebrated

The Korea Times, Dec 15, 2009

Seoul, South Korea -- Korea will celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the "Palman Daejanggyeong," or "Tripitaka Koreana," one of the world's oldest and most comprehensive collections of Buddhist scriptures in Chinese characters, through a 45-day Buddhist cultural festival in 2011.

South Gyeongsang Province, where the festival will take place, launched an organizing committee for the event Tuesday at the South Gyeongsang Development Institute in Changwon. The committee is headed by South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Tae-ho.

The organizing committee is comprised of around 20 officials from the provincial government as well as from Hapcheon County, home to Haein-sa Temple, where the scriptures, carved on 81,258 wooden blocks, are stored.

Hapcheon is hoping that the festival will also serve as an occasion for the temple to build its status as a tourist attraction in East Asia.

To share Korea's Buddhist culture with the world, organizers will hold a series of academic conferences and exhibitions under the theme "One Thousand Years of Civilization and Wisdom for the Future."

"We will do our best to promote the Buddhist scriptures as one of Korea's signature cultural legacies," Chung Jong-in, an official with the committee, said.The festival will take place around Haein-sa Temple and at the Changwon Convention Center from Sept. 23 through Nov.6, 2011.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) placed the temple and its depositories containing the Tripitaka Koreana on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1995. The wood blocks have been designated as a national treasure since 1962.

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