Daegu is a convenient base to head out to yet another amazing temple – Haeinsa Temple. There are buses everywhere in Korea, and they all run on time, all the time, and are impeccably clean. Amazing. The road is windy and steep, and so it took an hour an a half to get there. It was well worth the trip! Haeinsa is a Unesco World Heritage site. It holds 81,340 woodblock scriptures called the Tripitaka Koreana and is one of the largest Buddhist libraries of its kind.
The blocks are housed in 4 buildings with large windows made of slats of wood that allow for ventilation. Apparently in the 1970s they tried to build more modern storage with temperature and humidity controls and the test blocks started to develop mold, so they gave up on that idea and just stuck to the traditional storage! The buildings aren’t actually open, but you can easily see the blocks through the slats in the windows. You can see the slats which form the “windows” on the building we’re standing next to. It’s pretty amazing to think that they’ve been there for over 500 years, and we can’t (and don’t need to) improve on the technology built into these buildings that long ago.
Haeinsa is also in a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by trees. It takes quite a while just to reach the temple complex from the road – probably about 20 minutes. The path takes you through a forest, and past streams bubbling over rocks. It’s very peaceful, and we spent quite a while wandering around and soaking it all in.