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29 ancient Buddhist scriptures found inside 15th century seated Buddha statue

2017/10/16 16:37

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SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- A total of 29 Buddhist scriptures have been found inside a 15th century wooden seated Buddha statue in a historic temple in South Gyeongsang Province, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism said Monday.

The discovery of the books -- one pocket-sized and another a collection of 28 Buddhist scriptures, both created during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) -- was made during an inspection of the statue in Haein Temple.

The Jogye Order, the country's largest Buddhist group, said a Buddhist book in such a small size has never been found before and that the book came with a detailed history of publication and unique Buddhist paintings.

This photo provided on Oct. 16, 2017, by the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist group, shows a pocket-sized Buddhist scripture found inside a wooden seated Buddha statue in Haein Temple, Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap) This photo provided on Oct. 16, 2017, by the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist group, shows a pocket-sized Buddhist scripture found inside a wooden seated Buddha statue in Haein Temple, Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)

Lee Yong-yun, head of the order's cultural assets department, said the statue was partly opened in 1983 during the repainting process, but this is the first time that the contents kept inside were confirmed in detail.

The order also checked two other statues, presumably produced around 1490-1500, at the temple, using X-rays to find if there were also books stored inside. It decided not to open them to remove the books, honoring the wishes of the two great monks -- Ven. Hyeam who served as head monk of the Jogye Order and Ven. Wongak, a high-ranking monk at the temple.

The Jogye Order filed an application with the Cultural Heritage Administration to designate the findings as national cultural heritage.

This photo provided on Oct. 16, 2017, by the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist group, shows the 28 series of Buddhist scriptures found inside a wooden seated Buddha statue in Haein Temple, Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap) This photo provided on Oct. 16, 2017, by the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist group, shows the 28 series of Buddhist scriptures found inside a wooden seated Buddha statue in Haein Temple, Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

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