Tripitaka Koreana Knowledge(高麗大藏經 )

The Tripitaka Koreana : Introduction

0l. Composition of the Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks

■ What is the Daejanggyeong (大藏經, Tripitaka)?

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  • The Daejanggyeong is "a synthesis of all of the Buddha's teachings," composed of three sections, called pitaka, thus the name Tripitaka (三藏). These three including the Sutra Pitaka, the Vinaya Pitaka, and the Abhidharma Pitaka.
  • Sutra Pitaka: The basic doctrine established by Buddha.
  • Vinaya Pitaka: The ethical provisions and rules established by Buddha for the monastic order.
  • Abhidharma Pitaka: Buddhist monks and scholars' explanations and discussions on the Sutra and Vinaya Pitaka.
■ Composition of the First Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks
  • The first wood-engraving of the Tripitaka: Bei Song Guanban Dazangjing (北宋官版大藏經) - Northern Song (北宋) Dynasty's Royal Edition of the Tripitaka
  • Period of Composition: Started in 972 and completed in 983.
  • This edition of the Tripitaka was made under the orders of the first King of the Northern Song dynasty of China based on the Kaiyuan Shijiao lu (開元釋敎錄, list of Chinese sutras). It was completed in 11 years and composed of a total of 130 thousand pages. The contents were kept in 480 cases (函) which were named according to the order of the Chinese characters in the Thousand Character Classic (千字文).
  • It was destroyed during the invasion of the Jin (金) dynasty from the north.

02. Composition of the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks in Korea

■ The First Tripitaka Koreana(初雕大藏經)

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  • Period of the composition of the First Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks: Eighteen years, from Koryo King Hyeonjong's second year on the throne (1011) to his 20th year (1029).
  • The First Tripitaka Koreana (初雕大藏經, Chojo Daejanggyeong) was made based on the Guanban Dazangjing (官版大藏經) of the Northern Song dynasty.
  • It was stored at Buin Temple (符仁寺) in Mount Palgong (八公山) but was destroyed by fire when the Mongolians invaded the Korean peninsula in 1232.
■ Improvement of the First Tripitaka Koreana (初雕大藏經) and the Composition of the Goryeo Sokjanggyeong (高麗續臧經)
  • Goryeo, not content with the First-edition of Tripitaka Koreana, put much effort into composing a more complete and independent Tripitaka.
  • During King Munjong's reign (1046-1083), National Master Uicheon (大覺國師 義天) organized a Gyojangdogam (敎藏都監, an organization in charge of engraving the Sokjanggyeong) at Heungwang Temple (興旺寺) to begin the composition of the world's first creatively compiled Tripitaka.
  • Sutras from the Chinese Song (宋) and Liao (遼) dynasties, as well as those from Japan were collected and studied.
  • The Sinpyeon Jejonggyojang Chongnok (新編諸宗敎藏總錄, Newly Compiled Comprehensive Record of the Canonical Works of the Various Schools) was published. This is what is known as the Goryeo Sokjanggyeong (高麗續臧經).
  • However, the Sokjanggyeong was also destroyed by fires set by the northern invaders. The only glimpse we have of the prominent creativity in these works is through the copied prints remaining in Korea and Japan.
■ Composition of the Second Tripitaka Koreana (which remains to this day at Haein Temple)

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  • Period of Composition: Sixteen years, from Goryeo King Gojong's 23rd year on the throne (1236) to his 38th year(1251).
  • Venue of Engraving: A Changgyeongdogam (藏經都監, a temporary organization for engraving the Tripitaka) was organized at Seonwon Temple (禪源寺) in Ganghwado (江華島) and sub-organizations settled in the Jinju (晉州) region for the engraving process.
  • Storage and Preservation: At first, the Daejanggyeong was stored at Seonwon Temple in Ganghwado, but was then moved to Jicheon Temple (支天寺) in Seoul to avoid the plundering of foreign invaders. In 1398, during the Joseon (朝鮮) dynasty, it was moved to Haein Temple where it has been safely preserved to this day.
■ What is the "Tripitaka Koreana" or the Palman Daejanggyeong (팔만 대장경)?
  • Since the Tripitaka was first composed on the Korean peninsula during the Goryeo dynasty, it has been commonly called the "Tripitaka Koreana." It is also called the Palman Daejanggyeong (80,000 Tripitaka Korean) because consists of more than 80,000 (pal man, 팔만) woodblocks.
  • The tripitaka is also called Goryeo Palman Daejanggyeong, a combination of its two popular names. Additionally, it is sometimes called the Haeinsa Palman Daejanggyeong or the Haeinsa Goreyo Palman Daejanggyeong since it is preserved at the Haein Temple.