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Haedong Goseungjeon

Haedong Goseungjeon

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The Haedong Goseungjeon (translated most commonly as the "Lives of Eminent Korean Monks") was a compilation of mostly Korean Buddhist
Korean Buddhism
Korean Buddhism is distinguished from other forms of Buddhism by its attempt to resolve what it sees as inconsistencies in Mahayana Buddhism. Early Korean monks believed that the traditions they received from foreign countries were internally inconsistent. To address this, they developed a new...

 hagiographies
Hagiography
Hagiography is the study of saints.From the Greek and , it refers literally to writings on the subject of such holy people, and specifically to the biographies of saints and ecclesiastical leaders. The term hagiology, the study of hagiography, is also current in English, though less common...

, notably of famous monks from the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms of Korea
The Three Kingdoms of Korea refer to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium...

 period of Korean history.

It was compiled by the monk Gakhun (각훈, 覺訓) (dates unknown) by order of the Goryeo
Goryeo
The Goryeo Dynasty or Koryŏ was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by Emperor Taejo. Korea gets its name from this kingdom which came to be pronounced Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the Joseon dynasty in 1392...

 king Gojong
Gojong of Goryeo
Gojong of Goryeo was the twenty-third ruler of Goryeo in present-day Korea. Gojong's reign was marked by prolonged conflict with the Mongol Empire, which sought to conquer Goryeo, ending only when the kingdom was finally vassalized in 1259...

 in 1215. Though Gakhun was working in the tradition of Chinese Buddhist historiography (which had a long tradition of compiling lives of eminent monks), as was the case with the compilation of the Samguk Sagi
Samguk Sagi
Samguk Sagi is a historical record of the Three Kingdoms of Korea: Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla. The Samguk Sagi is written in Classical Chinese and its compilation was ordered by Goryeo's King Injong Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms) is a historical record of the Three Kingdoms of...

 and Samguk Yusa
Samguk Yusa
Samguk Yusa, or Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, is a collection of legends, folktales, and historical accounts relating to the Three Kingdoms of Korea , as well as to other periods and states before, during, and after the Three Kingdoms period.The text was written in Classical Chinese, which was...

, the composing of the Haedong Goseungjeon was meant to promote native exemplars, in this case of Buddhist piety. It also served to bring prominence and merit to the court that ordered its compilation.

The work, along with the Samguk Sagi
Samguk Sagi
Samguk Sagi is a historical record of the Three Kingdoms of Korea: Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla. The Samguk Sagi is written in Classical Chinese and its compilation was ordered by Goryeo's King Injong Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms) is a historical record of the Three Kingdoms of...

 and the Samguk Yusa
Samguk Yusa
Samguk Yusa, or Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, is a collection of legends, folktales, and historical accounts relating to the Three Kingdoms of Korea , as well as to other periods and states before, during, and after the Three Kingdoms period.The text was written in Classical Chinese, which was...

, comprises one of the most important sources for the Three Kingdoms period. The monk Iryeon consulted the work some half a century later when compiling his Samguk Yusa
Samguk Yusa
Samguk Yusa, or Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, is a collection of legends, folktales, and historical accounts relating to the Three Kingdoms of Korea , as well as to other periods and states before, during, and after the Three Kingdoms period.The text was written in Classical Chinese, which was...

.

It was long thought that the work was lost, until portions of it were rediscovered at a Buddhist temple in Seongju in the early twentieth century. Only two of probably more than ten volumes survive. The extant volumes include biographies of eighteen famous and not–so–famous Buddhist monks from Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

 and Silla
Silla
Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in...

, as well as India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. Unfortunately, some of the most famous of Three Kingdoms period Buddhist figures are not included (namely Wonhyo
Wonhyo
Wonhyo was one of the leading thinkers, writers and commentators of the Korean Buddhist tradition. Essence-Function , a key concept in East Asian Buddhism and particularly that of Korean Buddhism, was refined in the syncretic philosophy and worldview of Wonhyo.As one of the most eminent...

), though they were presumably included in the missing volumes.

Not much is known of the work‘s chief compiler, except that he served as the chief abbot of the Yeongtongsa (영통사, 靈通寺) in the city of Kaesŏng
Kaesong
Kaesŏng is a city in North Hwanghae Province, southern North Korea , a former Directly Governed City, and the capital of Korea during the Koryo Dynasty. The city is near Kaesŏng Industrial Region and it contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. It was formally named Songdo while it was the...

, then the Goryeo capital. His deeds go unrecorded in the Goryeosa
Goryeosa
The Goryeosa or History of Goryeo is the principal surviving history of Korea's Goryeo Dynasty. It was composed nearly a century after the fall of Goryeo, during the reign of King Sejong...

(History of Goryeo).

The work was translated into English by Peter H. Lee in 1969.

Contents


The surviving portion of the Haedong Goseungjeon contains the biographies of the following monks (native place):
  1. Sundo 順道 (unknown; China?)
  2. Mangmyeong 亡名 (Goguryeo
    Goguryeo
    Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

    )
  3. Uiyeon 義淵 (Goguryeo)
  4. Damsi/Tanshi 曇始 (China)
  5. Mālānanda (Xinjiang
    Xinjiang
    Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

    )
  6. Ado 阿道 (unknown; India?)
  7. Beopgong 法空, a.k.a King Beopheung
    Beopheung of Silla
    King Beopheung was the 23rd monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was preceded by King Jijeung and succeeded by King Jinheung....

     of Silla (Silla
    Silla
    Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in...

    )
  8. Beop‘un 法雲 (Silla)
  9. Gakdeok 覺德 (Silla)
  10. Ji‘myeong 智明 (Silla)
  11. Wongwang
    Wongwang
    Won Gwang , also known as Won Gwang Beop Sa meaning "Won Gwang Teacher of the Law", was the name of a renowned Buddhist monk, scholar, and teacher of the Silla kingdom during the reign of King Jinpyeong....

     圓光 (Silla)
  12. Anham 安含 (Silla)
  13. Āryavarman (Silla)
  14. Hye‘eup 惠業 (unknown)
  15. Hyeryun 惠輪, or 慧輪 (Silla)
  16. Hyeon‘gak 玄恪 (Silla)
  17. Hyeon‘yu 玄遊 (Goguryeo)
  18. Hyeontae 玄太 (Silla)

See also

  • Korean Buddhist temples
    Korean Buddhist temples
    Buddhist temples are an important part of the Korean landscape. This article gives a brief overview of Korean Buddhism, then describes some of the more important temples in Korea. Most Korean temples have names ending in -sa , which means "temple", or ancient temple.-Introduction to Korean...

  • List of Korea-related topics
  • List of Korean Buddhists

External links