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The First Sacred Buddhist Text, Tripitaka, Marks Millennial Anniversary

by Park Ji-won, Arirang News, May 10, 2011

Seoul, South Korea -- Buddha never left any written texts of his own, but over thousands of years his teachings have been transcribed through ancient scrolls, like this one.

This is part of Korea's first "Daejanggyeong," a complete collection of Buddhist scriptures. It is also called "Tripitaka," the Sanskrit word meaning three baskets.
Because it is composed of three sections -- Buddhist teachings, ethical rules, and explanatory notes.

It now dates back one thousand years, marking the millennial anniversary of its production. "This is the first collection of wood-engraving printing of the Buddhist canon in Korea. It influenced the later edition of the Tripitaka Koreana."

"Palman Daejanggyeong," the collection of Buddhist scriptures in 80-thousand wood blocks, is the world's most comprehensive and oldest version of Buddhist canon in woodcut, which has been designated as a national treasure in UNESCO's Memory of the World program.

It was made in the 13th century, around 240 years after the first edition of the scriptures began to be mass produced.

Marking the thousand-year anniversary of the first production, many festivals and exhibitions will be held here in Korea throughout this year.

For 45 days, from September 23rd to November 6th, the "2011 Millennial Anniversary of the Tripitaka Koreana" will be held near Haein Temple.

Horim Museum in Seoul, meanwhile, also plans to hold the "First Tripitaka Special Exhibition," starting on May 18th.

In June, an event will take place that will transfer the woodcut scriptures from Seoul to Haein Temple.

And various festivals celebrating the very first production of the Daejanggyeong will provide visitors with an opportunity to ponder Buddha's teachings and his journey to attain enlightenment.

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