[EDITORIALS]Restoration highlights unityDesignated as a World Cultural Heritage site by Unesco and the 32d National Treasure of Korea, the Tripitaka Koreana is a sight to see. Now, work has begun to clone a bronze version of the wood blocks.
Haein Temple, which is overseeing the massive project, held a religious ceremony to present a sample of the bronze duplicate yesterday to Buddha, with 3,000 people in attendance.
The original work was first carved into wood 770 years ago, during the Goryeo Dynasty, as a request for help from Buddha in fighting off invading Mongolians.
As time passed, the 80,000 wooden blocks showed signs of deteriorating, and many historians were worried that they would not survive for much longer.
But the new project will ensure that the tripitaka will continue to be passed on to our descendants for thousands of years. It is wonderful knowing that a valuable piece of national culture will be preserved forever.
The attitude shown by Haeinsa temple and the parties involved in the preservation project is worth noting. With the initial budget of 20 billion won ($16.8 million), temple members transcended religious boundaries and asked for leaders from other religions for aid. As a result, Christian and Catholic church members offered to help.
The cooperation shown by the religious community is indeed impressive. We hope that this can be a model for the political sector as it tries to heal wounds from previous clashes.
Se-min, the temple’s head monk, also said the temple plans to send a complete set of the final work to North Korea when it is finished in 2006. May the meaning contained in the tripitaka contribute to reconciling the two Koreas.
Recently, the religious sector has given the impression that it was concerned mainly with constructing the biggest buildings or the largest statues. But the eventual goal that all religions strive to achieve cannot be achieved through such worthless competition.
The restoration work on the collection deserves recognition as an effort to focus on what is really important, and we hope to see more of the same throughout the religious community.