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Anniversary celebrations to highlight Tripitaka Koreana

The Buddhist Channel, Sept. 15, 2011

The Grand Opening of The 2011 Millennial Anniversary of The Tripitaka Koreana on September 23rd in Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea

SEOUL, South Korea -- The opening of the 2011 Millennial Anniversary of the Tripitaka Koreana on September 23rd in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea, will offer a rare opportunity to appreciate the actual blocks of the Tripitaka Koreana, recognized as the world's best woodblocks of the Buddhist scriptures.

This cultural festival celebrates the millennial history of the Tripitaka Koreana, considered as the highest quality woodblocks in the world and thus designated by UNESCO as world record heritage.

With the theme of "The breath of Goryeo people with a thousand years of wisdom", a variety of events will take place for 45 days from September 23rd to November 6th at the main event halls located in Gaya-myeon, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do as well as at Haein Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Korea.

Surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Gaya Mountain, the main event halls of the festival are composed of Tripitaka Millennium Hall, Spiritual Culture Hall, Knowledge Civilization Hall, World Exchange Hall, and World Citizen Hall. Participants can understand the history and value of the Tripitaka Koreana through various exhibitions and experiencing Korea's Buddhist culture.

The highlight of the festival is the opportunity to see the authentic woodblocks. In addition, advanced digital technologies such as 3D wrapping and holocube are used to show the scientific excellence of the Tripitaka Koreana. Other interesting events include media art performances and the World Plate and Print Art Exhibition participated by artists from about 60 countries.

Furthermore, various participatory events and cultural performances are available for 45 days, where people can experience Korea's excellent record culture, traditional culture and Buddhist culture. For example, participants can try engraving on woodblocks, making traditional lanterns, Sotae, and totem poles, and conducting tea ceremony.

At Haein Temple near the main festival site, the Haein Art Project exhibits various artworks and performances such as paintings, sculptures and video arts by 34 world renowned artists, including Bill Viola, an American video artist, and Xu Bing, an installation artist from China. People can also visit Janggyeong Panjeon, a UNESCO world heritage site, where the Tripitaka Koreana has been safely housed for a thousand years. The temple stay program offers a chance to stay at the temple for 2 days and enjoy temple food. The beautiful autumn foliage of Gaya Mountain is another reason to visit Haein Temple.

Completed in 1251, the Tripitaka Koreana is the oldest woodblocks in the world. It is estimated that it took 20 years to create 81,258 woodblocks, which weigh nearly 280 tons. The height of the woodblocks is about 3,200 meters when staked up vertically, and the length is about 60 kilometers when placed in line. Approximately 5,200 characters are engraved to record 1,538 kinds of Buddhist scriptures.

More information: http://eng.tripitaka2011.com/sub/02_01_01.jsp

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