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Rare Buddha statue to be unveiled during Tripitaka Koreana Festival

Sept. 16, 2013 - 20:16 By Korea Herald
Reporters view a bas relief statue of Buddha near the Haeinsa Temple in South Gyeongsang Province last Friday, ahead of its scheduled opening to the public on Sept. 27. (Yonhap News)
A 1,200-year-old Buddha statue will be shown to the public for the first time during this year’s global Tripitaka festival, the event’s organizer said Monday.

The Haeinsa Temple will unveil “Maaebul,” a 7.5-meter high Buddha statue engraved into a rock wall at Gayasan Mountain, for the 2013 Tripitaka Koreana Festival, which kicks off on Sept. 27 for a 45-day run, the Millennial Anniversary of the Tripitaka Koreana Organizing Committee said.

The Maaebul is one of the country’s most well-preserved statues, estimated to have been built in the 9th century of the Silla Kingdom (B.C. 57-A.D. 935), it said

The Tripitaka Koreana Festival was first held in Hapcheon, 354 kilometers south of Seoul, in 2011 to celebrate the millennial anniversary of the canon’s creation, the committee said.

The Tripitaka Koreana, dubbed “Palmandaejanggyeong” in Korean, is a collection of Buddhist scriptures carved on more than 80,000 wooden printing blocks, created in the 13th century.

It is considered as the most comprehensive set of Buddhist scriptures found to date, and the Haeinsa Temple, where the texts are kept, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This year’s festival will offer a wider range of exhibitions and interactive sessions, the committee said. Five exhibition halls, each with a different theme, will feature historic, cultural and entertainment programs on various topics related to the Tripitaka, it added. (Yonhap News)