Haeinsa Millennial Tripitaka

Trip Start Aug 16, 2013
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Trip End Aug 25, 2013


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Saturday, November 5, 2011

This weekend was the closing weekend of the Haeinsa Millennial Tripitaka celebrating 1000 years of the ancient Haeinsa printing tablets. I asked some friends to come but everyone bailed, same as my trip to Haeinsa last year, hence, the curse of Haeinsa!

When I got to the Seobu bus terminal the ticket was 6600w ($6) as I seem to remember it being cheaper. The bus was leaving at 10.40 and it was already time so I jumped on board. The bus was already full to standing room only so I had to stand in the aisle. 

The driver went at high speed making sharp turns so it was a test of strength holding on while standing. In a small town a group of 15 pensioners was waiting to get on the bus. Even though we were already packed to the door we managed to fit them all in and I was pushed further back in the aisle

My worry was that I wanted to goto the exhibition site, not the temple where everyone was probably going, so I might not be able to get off at my stop. Fortunately several people were getting off at my stop. 

The driver was collecting tickets as you left but I had dropped mine with all the hanging on to stand upright so I just got off before he made more of a fuss. The festival entrance fee was 10,000w ($9.50) but it will get you into the nearby Haeinsa temple as well.  There were different exhibition pavillions setup around the event site.

The first was the Knowledge Civilization Hall. This had reproductions in gold print of many of the ancient scrolls and texts. It was nice as you could see them close up and take photos which is not allowed in the actual temple. They were also handing out free colour booklets with copies of the major artworks and texts.

Towards the end was a replica of a shrine with many tiny seated gold buddhas. However the heads were replaced by cell phone tv screens and there was a synchronized image and art show.

Next in the Spiritual Culture Hall they had a lifesize shrine again where you could take pictures close up which you cant do in the actual temple. They had an interesting broken glass corridor giving the impression of many corridors or a maze.

The main building, the Tripitaka Millennial Hall had an interesting entrance way. You enter into a large circular room reaching to the ceiling. Along the wall was a curved walkway going up to the second floor. Around the walls were replica books showing the ancient printing texts. Projected onto the walls was a light show showing different images.

As you entered onto the second floor there were hanging fabrics with image shows projected onto them. At first I thought they were giant flat screen tvs until I felt the fabric on one of them. This led you into an exhibit hall where they had displays of people making the printing blocks by chopping trees, treating the wood, writing the calligraphy, etching it into the blocks, and using the blocks for printing texts.

You then went into a very darkened room with a long line winding round the wall to another room. In the room a movie was projected showing more images of the history of the printing tablets. This led you into a main room with an actual tablet.

No photography is allowed of the original due to its age and religious nature. I tried to take one of the room, not the tablet, but one of the guards rushed over and grabbed my lens, even though I explained I was taking it of the back wall not of the tablet.

As you exited back onto the ground floor there was another hall with many different types of texts. They were in different asian scripts such as hindi, mongol, and again no photography was allowed of this room.

After this I needed to eat. Fortunately this time in the food tent they had large pictures next to the menu items so I was able to order a giant plate of shrimp vegetable rice for 8000w ($7.50). You could also watch them making fresh noodles.

The next pavillion The World Citizen Hall had mostly childrens artwork depicting religious scenes. Next to that the World Exchange Hall was mostly modern and religious art. Around the stage area they had a group of four native american indians performing folk music. This led to another market area with a lot of traditional crafts, herbal teas, and traditional foods you typically see at festivals.

I was too tired to goto the Haeinsa temple as I'd been before and that should best be left to a seperate trip as its guide a large complex and smaller temples around the grounds. I wanted to take the bus back to daegu but I was told the bus doesnt stop here and I'd have to take the free shuttle to the Haeinsa temple.

The line for the shuttle bus was enourmous and reminded me of the bus lineups at Beijing Airport. Fortunately the buses were all lined up and kept boarding people and leaving right away. At the temple I was able to board the Daegu bus just before it was leaving. It did however stop back at the exhibition site to pickup more passengers. However, I got a good seat earlier.

The event website www.tripitaka2011.com (english http://eng.tripitaka2011.com/main/). As this is the closing weekend not sure if the exhibition will close down? I dont see why this cant be a permanent exhibit to complement the Haeinsa temple complex as its more interactive and close up, and you can take photos which you cant in the main temple complex.

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