Regular readers know how much I respect Somewhere in Dhamma, a fine blog written by Joseph Bengivenni. So when I planned my trip to Korea, I very much wanted to visit with Joseph and his family. Thanks to Joseph's flexibility and the efforts of my friend, Hee Suk, we were able to meet together at Haeinsa.
Haeinsa is one of the most important temples in Korean Buddhism. It houses the famous Tripitaka Koreana, the entire Buddhist canon carved in Chinese characters on over 81,000 wooden blocks, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Frankly, the temple was a bit pimped out for my taste. When I was last there, in 1996, it had a much calmer, more respectful atmosphere. But on this visit there were bright banners and a "fun" maze for people to follow. Okay, I guess, but I wasn't there for fun.
We were joined by a local tea master, one of Hee Suk's many friends, who helped us tour the temple grounds and with whom we went to dinner. Finally, we ended the day at a wonderful exhibition of traditional Korean Buddhist texts, which included the world's first books printed with movable metal type (sorry, Gutenberg!).