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South Korea: Haeinsa Temple

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Haeinsa Temple > South Korea > Asia

[Visited: February 1991]

It took a several hour train journey from Seoul, a nearly hour and a half bus ride from Taegu, but this took me to Haein-sa Temple, one of the largest temples of the country. It also houses the Tripitaka Koreana, which consists of over 80,000 wooden blocks in which Buddhist scriptures and illustrations are engraved. The housing of the scriptures is in such a way, that they cannot give away their texts to the passing of time. This ventilation system also implies that the blocks are actually visible to the visitor.

Picture of Haeinsa Temple (South Korea): Haein-Sa Temple

The wooden blocks date back to the 13th century, and the temple complex itself even to the 9th. Combined with its magnificent location in the mountains, it makes for an impressive visit! When I was there, it was winter and mountain tops in the neighbourhood were white with snow. It was a quiet day, nearly no visitors, and the temple, the mountains, the sunny weather and the silence gave an immense sensation of peace. That peace was interrupted once by some monks who had to have a picture with me, and a lot of giggling went on when they actually managed to take it. Once again, I cursed myself for not knowing enough about these beautiful temples and the meaning of all the objects I saw.

Picture of Haeinsa Temple (South Korea): Wooden door at Haein-Sa Temple

Still, I had plenty of memories to think about when I went back. I actually had to rush from the bus station in Taegu to the train, no one speaking any language which I knew, and I managed to arrive only the very last minute at the train which would take me back to Seoul. Just in time for the flight back home.

Picture of Haeinsa Temple (South Korea): Haein-Sa Temple
Picture of Haeinsa Temple (South Korea): Looking inside Haeinsa temple
Picture of Haeinsa Temple (South Korea): Korean monks at Haeinsa temple
Picture of Haeinsa Temple (South Korea): Tripitaka Koreana, or Buddhist scriptures, have been housed in Haeinsa temple since 1398

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