Chinese Buddhist classic re-engraved and sent to birthplace

BY APD NEWSDec 29,2021 at 20:21

The Kaibaozang, China's first officially printed collection of Buddhist classics, was re-engraved and sent to its birthplace – Chengdu city – capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province.


The Suzhou Honghuashe Charity Foundation donated the re-engraved plates of the Kaibaozang to the Chengdu Wenshu Monastery, during a donation ceremony held at the Sichuan Provincial Library in Chengdu on Dec 28.

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The Suzhou Honghuashe Charity Foundation donates the re-engraved plates of the Kaibaozang to Chengdu Wenshu Monastery in Chengdu on Dec 28. [Photo provided to Asia Pacific Daily]


It also donated the re-engraved scriptures of the Kaibaozang to cultural institutions including the Sichuan Provincial Library, the Chengdu Library, the Research Institute of Culture and History of the Sichuan Provincial People's Government and the Sichuan Institute of History. Others receiving the scriptures included the Southwest University for Nationalities Library, as well as temples in Sichuan province – including the Shengshui Temple, Baoguang Temple, Shijing Temple, Zhaojue Temple, Daci Temple – and the Emeishan Buddhist College.


The Kaibaozang was originally engraved for printing in Chengdu in the year 971, following the order of Zhao Kuangyin, the first emperor of China's Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It was later introduced to Korea and Japan after completion.

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The Suzhou Honghuashe Charity Foundation donates re-engraved scriptures of the Kaibaozang to cultural institutions in Chengdu on Dec 28. [Photo provided to Asia Pacific Daily]



After more than 1,000 years, the Buddhist classic survived in only 12 relatively complete volumes in the world. The Suzhou Honghuashe Charity Foundation researched the fragments of the Kaibaozang and re-engraved the wood plates for printing.


The re-engraved plates of the Kaibaozang are expected to be exhibited at the Konglin Museum, a new museum to be built at the Chengdu Wenshu Monastery. Elsewhere, the re-engraved scriptures can be read at places including the Sichuan Provincial Library and the Chengdu Library.


Tan Jihe, president of the Sichuan Provincial Association of History, said the birth of the Kaibaozang originated from the enrichment and integration of Confucianism and Taoism and it has had a wide-ranging influence on the common people's lives since the Song Dynasty.

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Tan Jihe, president of the Sichuan Provincial Association of History, gives a speech on the Kaibaozang at a symposium held in Chengdu, on Dec 28. [Photo provided to Asia Pacific Daily]



He said it was necessary to make full use of the historical and cultural resources of Buddhism, to turn the sightseeing tours of temples into cultural experience that meets the spiritual needs of visitors.


Qi Hehui, a professor at the Southwest University for Nationalities, said Buddhist classics in Chinese characters played an important role in promoting the sharing of empathy and friendship during the course of history among officials and the common peoples of China, Japan and South Korea.


She hoped that the Chinese character and culture would once again become a cultural bridge in East Asia, to boost cultural exchanges and cooperation among countries in the region.

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Qi Hehui, a professor at the Southwest University for Nationalities, gives a speech on the Kaibaozang at a symposium held in Chengdu on Dec 28. [Photo provided to Asia Pacific Daily]


Shu Dagang, a professor at Sichuan University, said Chengdu was chosen as the place to engrave the plates of the Kaibaozang in the Northern Song Dynasty mainly because of its strong economic foundations, rich cultural atmosphere and highly developed printing industry.

He said that advanced engraving and printing techniques were invented and developed in Chengdu since the middle and late Tang Dynasty, establishing a solid technical foundation for the engraving and printing of the Kaibaozang.

(APD)


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