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Buddhist Movement
Buddhist Movement
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On the Reform of Chosun Buddhism published

On the Reform of the Chosun Buddhism is Han's philosophy of Buddhist reform, which he created in Baekdamsa in 1910 and shared with the world on May 25, 1913, through Bulgyo Seogwan Publishers. There are a total of 17 chapters in this book, with chapters 2 through 16 serving as the main body, and chapters 1 and 17 serving as introduction and conclusion, respectively. Han makes the case for a fresh, contemporary interpretation of traditional Buddhist teaching in order to accommodate societal changes in his examination of the essence and principles of Buddhism presented in Chapters 2 and 3. The need for Buddhist reform is examined in Chapter 4 along with the general direction it should take. From Chapters 5 to 16, particular reform strategies are covered. Han makes it clear that while these adjustments are necessary, Buddhism itself bears the primary duty for bringing about change. The treatise is praised for its particularly practical approach, and is regarded as a sincere and practical reform theory attempting to re-form Korean Buddhism into a contemporary popular religion.

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The Great Canon of Buddhism published

The Great Canon of Buddhism is a summary of the Tripitaka Koreana composed by Han Yong-un in 1914 at Beom'eosa, after reading the Tripitaka Koreana in its entirety. The work is a manual for contemporary Buddhist doctrine. After finishing On the Reform of Chosun Buddhism in 1912, Han read through all 6,802 parts (comprising 1,511 narrative styles) of the Tripitaka Koreana at Tongdosa and put together this manual by selecting the most significant passages from roughly 1,000 sutras, laws, and treatises. The book is divided into nine parts: Introduction, Doctrine, The Buddha, Faith, Karma, Self-Governance, Confrontation, Propagation of the Faith, and Conclusion, each part divided into detailed sub-chapters and verses. Han reconstructed the universe of Buddhist scripture-- which is impossible for the general public to access-- in accordance with the logic and systems of modern thought, by comparing texts and evaluating the Tripitaka Koreana’s extensive contents. The Great Canon of Buddhism can be considered a miniature version of the Tripitaka Koreana and a manual for the popular Buddhism that Han aimed to promote. The book had a significant impact on how Buddhist literature was edited later on, and enhanced the status of Buddhism as a religion. The Great Canon of Buddhism is a book on Buddhist principles that explores the meaning of Buddhist reform; whereas in On the Reform of Chosun Buddhism Han presented practical methods for that reform.

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Yushim created as a public enlightenment publication

Han published his magazine Yushim, which became a well-known enlightenment publication with a strong Buddhist foundation, in September 1918 at 43 Gye-dong in Seoul. The publication of the magazine, which used a mixed Sino-Korean script (that included Chinese characters with the native Korean script), was discontinued after the third issue in December. The specifications at the time of publication at the time of release were: Editor and publisher Han Yong-un, printer Choi Seong-wu, printing company Sinmungwan, publishing company Yusimsa (43 Gye-dong, Seoul), A5 paper size, 64 pages, and a list price of 18 jeon. Han stated in his first preface titled "To Begin" in Yushim's first issue: "The source of the flow that keeps the boat afloat is kilometers away. The tree with big flowers has extensive roots. /Fallen leaves are gently fluttering in the autumn wind. Don't inquire as to the color of the ground beneath the frost. The bamboo stems do not tangle together./ The mast, stranger than the sound of beauty, remains low in the choppy seas. Do you see the wave of joy that overcomes ten million barriers and reaches the vast ocean with eyes like a morning star? /The enigma of the cosmos will be revealed to you. You will hear the enigmatic sound of Everything. /Let's head to our old garden, not to a desert, nor to an ice-filled sea. Who will see them, the plum blossoms blooming in ones and twos, if we don't go?” Han also contributed columns with titles like "Joseon Youth and Discipline," "A Hard-Working Student," and "Choose the Path Forward and Advance." He also wrote a poem titled "Heart" for the first issue. The editorials "Pain and Pleasure" and "The Harm of Stagnation" as well as "The Antiquated Mind of Uselessness" were published in the second and third issues, respectively. It is clear that Han Yong-un's literature during this era was written with the intention to educate the general population.

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Acted as the country's representative during the 3.1 Movement in 1919.

After delivering a statement on the Joseon Declaration of Independence on behalf of the Declaration's 33 signatories on March 1, 1919, Han was detained by the Japanese police. In response to the Japanese prosecutor's interrogation of Han at Seodaemun Prison that July, Han wrote "Summary of My Thoughts on the Independence of Joseon" (also known as "Essay on Joseon Independence"), which in turn served as the inspiration for “The Three Pledges” that were added to the Declaration, which was drafted by Choi Nam-seon. "Summary", a powerful patriotic commentary, is renowned for displaying Han's sense of independence and national awareness. Han was subsequently found guilty on August 9 of that year and sentenced to imprisonment by the Gyeongseong District Court's 1st Criminal Division. He remained a prisoner until 1922.

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Commentary on Ten Profound Talks published

Commentary on Ten Profound Talks was published by Han Yong-un in June 1925 through Beopbohoe Publishers. While visiting Ose’am Hermitage on Mt. Seorak, he came upon Kim Si-seup's work Siphyeondam yohae and afterwards put together his own independent commentary, using the same title. Kim Si-seup's Siphyeondam yo-hae, to which Han refers, is not known to have ever been published; nonetheless, Maewoldang's autobiography states that it was finished in 1475. Kim Si-seup, who had gone into the mountains to get away from the world and stayed at the Ose’am Hermitage while dressed as a monk. He wrote Siphyeondam yohae during that time. Kim Si-seup's autobiography, the main text, and an appendix make up the book's three sections. The book was also made available in native Hangeul script.

Commentary on Ten Profound Talks is a treatise by Tang Dynasty Seon Master Dongan Sangchal, who broke down the Seon philosophy into ten "profound talks," or ten important words, and conveyed the significance of each in poetry form as an ode to Buddha. Content includes the following: 1) "Unexpressed Demonstration of Buddha's Inner Mind," 2) "Intentions of the Ancestors," 3) "Profound and Mysterious Logic," 4) "Living Both in the World and Apart from the World, Like Dust," 5) "Buddhist Teachings," 6) "Song of Returning Home," 7) "Rejecting Hometown Nostalgia," 8) "Turning the Logic," 9) “Changing the Position”, and 10) “Before the Proper Position.” 1)–5) describe the Seon school's fundamental principles, while 6)–10) describe Seon practice methodologies. Seon Master Cheongryang mun'ik (885–958) wrote a commentary on the text, which was transferred to Joseon and became widely known there.

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A member of the Sin’ganhoe Movement

Han participated in the founding of the national movement group Sin'ganhoe in February 1927. In order to promote a national unity line, the right and left wings of the national movement collaborated to form the Sin'ganhoe. Sin'ganhoe's program included ideas like: 1) achieving the political and economic liberation of the Joseon people, 2) fighting for the legitimate shared interests of the entire country, and 3) rejecting any opportunism. Han Yong-un served as the chairman of the Gyeongseong Branch as a central executive member, and Yi Sang-jae and Kwon Dong-jin were chosen as the first president and vice president, respectively. Sin'ganhoe set out to achieve freedom of speech, right of assembly, right of association, freedom of publication, support for youth and women's equality movements, rejection of factionalism and family geneology-based privilege and prejudices, opposition to Asian colonization companies, development of a saving and thrift campaign, and liberation from national, political, and economic subjugation. With these initiatives as its objectives, Sin'ganhoe created branches all throughout the nation and grew its influence. In November 1929, when the Gwangju Student Movement began, Sin'ganhoe sent out a fact-finding team and condemned the repression of the student movement that was harshly critical of the Japanese Empire. On this occasion, the organization planned to hold a people's assembly, upon which 44 key figures, including Han Yong-un, Cho Byeong-ok, Yi Gwan-yong, and Yi Weon-hyeok, were arrested. The left-wing faction campaigned for disbandment, taking advantage of the imprisonment of Sin’ganhoe’s major leaders. In May 1931, the Chosun Central Christian Youth Association resolved to dissolve it and the organization was disbanded, four years after its inception.

In 1931, Han becomes the publisher of Buddhism Magazine

Han assumed ownership of Buddhism Magazine in July 1931, beginning with issues 84–85. A total of 40 articles about Buddhism, including introductions, were written by Han himself for the journal. Buddhism was established on July 15, 1924 as a wide publication covering the Buddhist world in Chosun. Beginning with the first issue, both Korean and Chinese scripts were employed. The following information was printed in the magazine's first issue: Editor and publisher Kwon Sang-ro; printer Noh Ki-jeong; printing firm Hanseong Book Co.; publishing house Buddhist Temple (82 Susong-dong, Seoul); A5 size paper, 78 pages, list price 20 jeon. Kwon Sang-ro served as the publisher at the time of the initial publication, but from issues 84–85 (June 1931) through issue 108 (July 1933), Han Yong-un took over the role. After issue 108 in July 1933, the magazine went on hiatus. It started up again in March 1937. It continued for 67 issues until December 1944, when Korea was liberated, at which point the issue numbering was newly begun as "New issue no. 1". Heo Yeong-ho was the publisher at the time of the publication's restart, but as of "New issue no. 21," Kim Sam-do, Lim Won-gil, and others took over as publisher.

The Sim’ujang period

For commercial reasons, Han stopped publishing Buddhism magazine for which he was publisher in 1933, and he remarried with Yu Suk-weon. Sim'ujang, Han's new residence in Seoul, was built at the base of a hill in Seongbuk-dong, Seoul, with help from generous donations from the monk Byeoksan and other friends, notably Bang Eung-mo and Park Gwang. Later, Han published a number of books, including Black Wind and A Short Life, as well as a collection of poems called Sim'ujang Prose Poems and numerous editorials. Together with Park Gwang and Yi Dong-ha, he founded a protest movement against Japanese imperialism's plan to force Koreans to adopt Japanese names. On June 29, 1944 (May 9 on the lunar calendar), Han passed away at Sim'ujang. His remains were cremated Miari before being interred in the Man'guri Cemetery. He was 66 years old and had been a monk for 39 years.

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In October 1967, the Yongundang Manhae Daeseonsa Stele was erected in Pagoda Park in Seoul.

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Han’s restored birth home

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Manhaesa, a shrine to Manhae Han Yong-un


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View of Manhae Memorial at Baekdamsa

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View of Manhae Village

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Manhae Memorial Museum at Manhae Village

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Buddhist Hall (Seoweonbojeon) at Manhae Village

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