The Haeinsa Temple or “Temple of Reflection on a Smooth Sea” also belongs to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is one of the more important temples in Korea as it houses the historical Tripitaka Koreana – Buddhist scriptures that are carved into approximately 81,258 printing blocks. Those blocks have stayed in the Haeinsa Temple since 1398.
The construction of this temple has 2 legends. The first one mentions that Haeinsa was built in gratitude of Buddha’s mercy after two monks have successfully cured King Aejang’s wife.
The second legend by Choe Chi – Won accounts that the same monks have won the support of a wealthy dowager who converted her religion to Buddhism.
Just like other important structures in Korea, this temple has survived several political revolts and arsons. In fact, the structure that we see now is a result of no less than eight major reconstructions and renovations. This temple is located on the Gaya Mountain, south of the Gyeongsang Province.
Places to See:
1. Janggyeong Panjeon (also known as National Treasure Number 52)
This is the oldest part of the temple that holds one of Korea’s national treasures – the Tripitaka Koreana. Given the fact that this structure is mostly made of wood, it has miraculously survived fires and bombings during the Japanese and Korean Wars.
This storage facility is also one of the reasons why UNESCO included the temple in the list of World Heritage Sites. Its architects have found natural and ingenious ways to preserve the wooden blocks.
2. Daejeokkwangjeon (also known as the Hall of Great Silence)
This hall is special because it is mainly dedicated to Vairocana – the Buddha that is the embodiment of Dharmakaya who is one of the forming parts of the Trikaya doctrine.
Hourly tours are given to locals and foreigners who are interested to see the place. These can be arranged by contacting travel agencies that are locally based. Some of the guests are also given the option to stay overnight and appreciate the tranquility of the place at a meager rate. The stay is best recommended for people who wish to meditate and stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city even for just one night.