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Tripitaka Koreana


Tripitaka Koreana

UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Tripitaka Koreana
팔만 대장경
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
The Tripitaka Koreana in storage at Haeinsa.
Type Cultural
Criteria iv, vi
Reference 737
UNESCO region Asia and the Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1995 (19th Session)
Tripitaka Koreana
Hangul 팔만대장경
also 고려대장경
Hanja 八萬大藏經
also 高麗大藏經
Revised Romanization Palman Daejanggyeong
also Goryeo Daejanggyeong
McCune–Reischauer P'alman Taejanggyŏng
also Koryŏ Taejanggyŏng

The Tripitaka Koreana (lit. Haeinsa, a Buddhist temple in South Gyeongsang province, in South Korea.


  • History 1
  • Evaluation 2
  • Modern edition 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Tripitaka Koreana sutra page in 1371.

The name "Goryeo Tripitaka" comes from "Goryeo", the name of Korea from the 10th to the 14th centuries. It served as reference for the edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon.

The Tripitaka Koreana was first carved in 1087 during the Third Goryeo-Khitan War. The act of carving the woodblocks was considered to be a way of bringing about a change in fortune by invoking the Buddha's help.[1]

The original set of woodblocks were destroyed by fire during the Mongol invasions of Korea in 1232, when Goryeo's capital was moved to Ganghwa Island during nearly three decades of Mongol incursions, although scattered parts of its prints still remain. To once again implore divine assistance with combating the Mongol threat, King Gojong thereafter ordered the revision and re-creation of the Tripitaka; the carving took 16 years, from 1236 to 1251, with support from the Choe House and involving monks from both the Seon and Gyo schools. This second revision is usually what is meant by the Tripitaka Koreana. In 1398, it was moved to Haeinsa, where they have remained housed in four buildings.


The Tripitaka Koreana is the 32nd national treasure of Korea, and the Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the depository for Tripitaka Koreana, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[2] The UNESCO committee describes the Tripitaka Koreana as one of the "most important and most complete corpus of Buddhist doctrinal texts in the world."[3] Not only is the work invaluable, it is also aesthetically valuable and shows a high quality of workmanship.[3]

The historical value of the Tripitaka Koreana comes from the fact that it is the most complete and accurate extant collection of Buddhist treatises, laws, and scriptures.[4] The compilers of the Korean version incorporated older Northern Song Chinese, Khitan, Goryeo versions and added content written by respected Korean monks.[5] Scholars can get an idea of the older Chinese and Khitan versions of the Tripitaka from the Korean version today. The quality of the wood blocks are attributed to the National Preceptor Sugi who carefully checked the Korean version for errors.[5] Because of the accuracy of the Tripitaka Koreana, the Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese versions of the Tripitaka are based on this Korean version.[4]

Copy of a Tripitaka Koreana woodblock at Haeinsa complex grounds used to allow visitors to make an inked print of the Heart Sutra while at the temple. See: for image of woodblock print.

Each block is made of birch wood from the southern islands of Korea and was treated to prevent the decay of the wood. They were soaked in sea water for three years, then cut, then boiled in salt water. Then, the blocks were placed in the shade and exposed to the wind for three years at which point they were finally be ready to be carved. After each block was carved, it was covered in a poisonous lacquer to keep insects away and was framed with metal to prevent warping.

Every block was inscribed with 23 lines of text with 14 characters per line, Therefore, each block, counting both sides, contained a total of 644 characters. The consistency of the style, and some sources, suggests that a single man carved the entire collection but it is now believed that a team of thirty men did the job.[4][5]

Modern edition

Modern edition has 1,514 texts in 47 volumes.

Volume Text Title
32 1064 Written by Huiyuan Yinyi (慧苑): Korean title: Shin Yeok Dae Bang Gwang Bul Hwa Eom Gyeong Eum Ui, Chinese title: xin1 yi4 da4 fang1 guang3 fo2 hua1 yan2 jing1 yin1 yi4 (新譯大方廣佛華嚴經音義), English title: Huiyuan's Dictionary.
34 1257 Written by Ke Hong (可洪), a monk of the Later Jin Dynasty (後晉): Chinese title: xin1 ji2 zang4 jing1 yin1 yi4 sui2 (新集藏經音義隨函錄)
35 1258 Written by T'ai Tsung (太宗) of the Northern Sung Dynasty (北宋) (976–997): Chinese title: yu4 zhi4 lian2 hua1 xin1 lun2 hui2 wen2 ji4 song4 (御製蓮華心輪回文偈頌)
35 1259 Written by T'ai Tsung: Chinese title: yu4 zhi4 mi4 zang4 quan2 (御製秘藏詮)
35 1260 Written by T'ai Tsung: Chinese title: yu4 zhi4 xiao1 yao2 yong3 (御製逍遙詠)
35 1261 Written by T'ai Tsung: Chinese title: yu4 zhi4 yuan2 shi4 (御製緣識)
38 1402 Collected by Sugi in the 38th Year of reign of King Kojong (高宗) of the Koryo Dynasty (高麗) (1251): Chinese title: gao1 li4 guo2 xin1 diao1 da4 zang4 jiao4 zheng4 bie2 lu4 (高麗國新雕大藏校正別錄)
39 1405 Chinese title: Da4 zang4 mu4 lu4 (大藏目錄)
45 1500 Collected by Yŏn Sŏnsa (連禪師) during the reign of King Kojong (1214–1259) of the Koryo dynasty, and published with an appendix by Chŏn Kwang-jae (全光宰) in Chinan (晉安), Gyeongsang Province (慶尚道) in the 9th month of the 35th year of the reign of King Kojong (1248) of the Koryo dynasty: Chinese title: nan2 ming2 quan2 he2 shang4 song4 zheng4 dao4 ge1 shi4 shi2 (南明泉和尚頌證道歌事實)
45 1503 Written by Ch'ing-hsiu with the help of two disciples, Ch'ing (靜) and Yun (筠) in the 10th year of the reign of Emperor Li Jing (保大) of the Southern Tang Dynasty (南唐) (952): Chinese title: zu3 tang2 ji2 (祖堂集)
45 1504 Collected by Ch'en Shih during the Ming Dynasty (明) (1368–1644): Chinese title: da4 zang4 yi1 lan3 ji2 (大藏一覽集)
46 1505 Written by Hyesim in the 13th year of the reign of King Kojong of the Koryo Dynasty (1226): Chinese title: chan2 men2 nian1 song4 ji2 (禪門拈頌集)
47 1507 Written by Kyunyŏ (均如) (923–973), of the Koryo Dynasty. Ch'ongi (天其) found this passage in Gap Temple (岬寺), in the spring of 1226: Chinese title: shi2 ju4 zhang1 yuan2 tong1 ji4 (十句章圓通記)
47 1508 Written by Kyunyŏ: Korean title: Sŏk hwa ŏm ji kwi jang wŏn t'ong ch'o, Chinese title: shi4 hua1 yan2 zhi3 gui1 zhang1 yuan2 tong1 chao1 (釋華嚴旨歸章圓通鈔)
47 1509 Written by Kyunyŏ: Korean title: Hwa ŏm gyŏng sam bo jang wŏn t'ong gi, Chinese title: hua1 yan2 jing1 san1 bao3 zhang1 yuan2 tong1 ji4 (華嚴經三寶章圓通記)
47 1510a Written by Kyunyŏ (均如): Korean title: Sŏk hwa ŏm gyo pun gi wŏn t'ong ch'o, Chinese title: shi4 hua1 yan2 jing1 jiao4 fen1 ji4 yuan2 tong1 chao1 (釋華嚴旨歸章圓通鈔)
47 1510b Written by Hyŏk Yon-jong (赫連挺), the 1st month of the 29th year of the reign of King Munjong (文宗) of the Koryo Dynasty (1075). Chinese title: (大華嚴首座圓通兩重大師均如傳幷序)
47 1511 Total of Wang Tzu-ch'eng of the Yuan Dynasty (元) (1280–1368) with a foreword by Yi Sun-bo (李純甫) written in 2nd year of the reign of King Kangjong (康宗) of the Koryo Dynasty (1213): Chinese title: li3 nian4 mi2 tuo2 dao4 chang3 chan4 fa3 (禮念彌陀道場懺法)
47 1514 A Catalogue: Korean title: Ko-ryŏ tae-jang-gyŏng po-yu mong-nok, Chinese title gao1 li4 da4 zang4 jing1 bu3 yi2 mu4 lu4 (高麗大藏經補遺目錄)

See also


  1. ^ Turnbull. Page 41.
  2. ^ "Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks".  
  4. ^ a b c "Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks" (PDF).  
  5. ^ a b c "Tripitaka Koreana at Haeinsa Temple". Cultural Properties Administration. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 

Further reading

  • Turnbull, Stephen (2003). Genghis Khan & the Mongol Conquests 1190–1400. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.  

External links

  • Tripitaka Koreana (Site in Korean with electronic scans of the tripitaka)
  • The Korean Tripitaka
  • National Heritage
  • (Haeinsa) National Treasures 32

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