I decided to leave Jeju island a day early so I could go see the famous woodblocks at the Haein temple, not too far from Daegu.
Each of the woodblocks can be used to print one page of the Tripitaka, the collection of sacred Buddhist writings. The Tripitaka apparently has over 80,000 pages, so there are over 80,000 wooden blocks. These were carved in the 13th century, to replace a similar set that was destroyed in 1232 by Mongol invaders.
The woodblocks look like this one, which was exhibited in a little museum. Each Chinese character is carved backwards, just as is needed for printing.
The wood blocks are, unsurprisingly, stored in a temple, called Haein-sa. The temple itself is quite nice, and set in a beautiful forest.
The woodblocks are stored in a special building, where the different-sized windows are supposed to control humidity. The buildings are relatively plain.
After taking this picture, I found out I was not supposed to take it. So, this picture of the woodblock library is actually an approved picture of a picture, set up purposely so people can take pictures.
The rest of the temple is beautiful too.
I found out the temporary decorations are for the celebration of Buddha's birthday on May 28th. Apparently, this temple is going to host an elefant pinata.
I also found more of the cute bears that I found in Gyeongju. I am not sure if these had a message, but if they did, it was not one that I could understand.
I have left Jeju island, but I wanted to mention something I keep thinking about.
On Jeju island, there is a collection of walking trails called "Jeju Olle". I have walked on some of them on and off, though none of the individual trails from start to end. Each trail ranges from about 15 to over 18Km long.
Five years ago, the trails did not exist. Around 2007, one woman wanted to encourage people to stay fit, and she decided to designate walking trails. Clearly, the government of Jeju island has agreed to the idea. By now, there are about 20 trails, and they go most of the way around the island of Jeju, generally close to the shoreline.
To me, this seems like a wonderful idea!!!!!