Temple Begins 1,029-Day RitesHaein Temple in Hapcheon, South Kyongsang Province, will hold what is being described as the longest worship service since Buddhism came to Korea in the fourth century. According to a temple official, the service will continue for 1,029 days, until Nov. 3, 2003.
Starting with the "bath ceremony" Tuesday, in which people "wash" the souls of the dead, some 500 monks at the temple will hold prayers four times a day. High-ranking monks will preach on the dharma, or Buddhist doctrine.
During the 1,029 days, special rites will console those who died early because of accidents and abortions.
"Praying for the dead is one way in which we can reduce the hardship of people living in this world," the official said.
"We thought it was a good idea to hold the rites 21 times because odd numbers are preferred to even ones in Buddhism."
The monk Semin, who will supervise the entire ceremony, said, "This event is also for our nation, which is experiencing a hard time due to the financial crisis. Just as Haein Temple helped the nation overcome difficulties by creating the Tripitaka Koreana when Mongolians invaded the country, we'll try to provide mental support to the nation through the ceremony," he added.
by Kim Sang-jin