Haeinsa or Haein Temple is known as the main Buddhist temple throughout Korea. Haeinsa was built on top of Mount Gaya, South Gyeongsang Province. Based on historical records, the construction of the Haeinsa Temple began in 802 during the Silla kingdom.
According to legend, there were two monks, named Suneung and Ijeong, who returned from China, successfully curing the disease of the empress of King Aejang.
As an expression of gratitude and thanks to the Buddha, the king then built this Haeinsa temple. The renovation process at this temple complex has been carried out several times since the 900s, up to 1644. King Taejo provided assistance to the Haeinsa head monk, Hirang, to carry out renovations in 1817 after experiencing fire damage.
In the Haeinsa temple there are Tripitaka Koreana, made of pressed wooden slabs, totaling 81,340 pieces preserved since 1398. Tripitaka Koreana was carved in 1087 for the first time when Goryeo was invaded by the Khitans. The Tripitaka Koreana deeds are intended so that the Buddha helps Korea against the enemy.
The rebuilding of the tripitaka
The original set of Tripitaka wood prints was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Korea in 1232 At that time the national capital was moved to the island of Ganghwa, although a small portion of it remained. For 16 years, from 1236-1251 the Tripitaka was rebuilt at the behest of Gojong. The rebuilding of the Tripitaka was supported by the Choe clan and the monks involved from the Seon and Kyo sects. This second revision is called Tripitaka Koreana. Tripitaka Koreana’s works were then transferred to Haeinsa and made a special library from 1398 onwards.
Haeinsa and the Tripitaka Koreana library were named by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Site in 1995. Meanwhile, the Tripitaka Koreana is specifically valued as a memory of the world register.
Credit photo: By Steve46814 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8478088