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5 reasons to visit the 2011 Millennial Anniversary Festival of the Tripitaka Koreana
Korea's "Jewel Temple" throws a 45-day birthday bash for the world's oldest intact Buddhist canon
The festivities for the millennial anniversary of the Tripitaka Koreana kick off today at Changwon Convention Center and Haeinsa Temple, one of three "Jewel Temples" in Korea.
The Korea Herald reported that 1.5 million visitors, including 80,000 foreign tourists, are expected to visit the Festival in the Gaya Mountains.
Here are five reasons to visit the temple and other event spaces and join in on the fun.
1. View the world's oldest intact Buddhist canon.
The Tripitaka Koreana, the world's oldest intact Buddhist canon, was created during the Goryeo Dynasty and is carved into 81,258 wooden printing blocks. It is the 32nd National Treasure of Korea, and UNESCO calls it "the most important and complete corpus of Buddhist doctrinal texts in the world."
2. It only comes around every 1,000 years
This year marks the 1000th anniversary of the creation of "Chojo Dajaenggyeong", the first edition of the Tripitaka Koreana, thus calling for the biggest celebration in the history of Haeinsa Temple, where the canon is housed.
To commemorate the special occasion, Haeinsa is opening Seonwon, the training space for monks, to the public today for the first time in 1,200 years.
The closing ceremony of the festival will include the burial of a time capsule.
3. Learn the secret of preservation
Curious how the wooden blocks -- usually so easily damaged and eaten away by insects -- have remained intact for centuries?
The secret lies in the advanced architecture of the Janggyeong Panjeon, which was calculated to maintain the perfect temperature and ventilation for the Tripitaka Koreana.
4. 45 days of entertainment
Historical lectures not your thing? Then watch musicals, participate in photo and drawing contests, make lotus lanterns, taste temple food, go on a treasure hunt and watch amateur bands in the Borisu Arena and Millennium Plaza, near Haeinsa Temple.
5. Adorable mascots
We're not sure who drew up these Guri-Dog, the Dochi-Dog, the Panda-Dog and the Rabbit-Dog that decorate the Festival paraphernalia, but they're so cute we'd go just to see if they sell any stuffed versions.
2011 Millenial Anniversary of the Tripitaka Koreana
September 23-November 6
Haeinsa Temple and Changwon Convention Center
943 Yacheon-ri, Gaya-myeon, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 합천군 가야면 야천리 943) +82 55 211 6251; eng.tripitaka2011.com
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