Sŏsan Taesa


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Respectful title of the Ch'osŏn period Korean Sŏn monk Hyujŏng, one of the most historically important monks in Korean history. Initially educated in the Neo-Confucian (see confucianism) orthodoxy of the period, he eventually became dissatisfied and went on a tour of Buddhist temples throughout the country. He joined the monastic order and distinguished himself by his enlightenment and teaching in the Sŏn (zen) tradition, to the extent that Queen Munjŏng appointed him the chief judge of the order. He soon repudiated the post and returned to the itinerant lifestyle. He taught in all monasteries in Korea.and worked to achieve a higher integration of Sŏn practice with Buddhist doctrine. He left behind over 70 monastic disciples, both monks andnuns.and over 1,000 lay followers. The book entitled Sŏnga Kwigam he composed on Sŏn practice is still studied by present-day practitioners. Interestingly, he is also remembered for the army of monks he raised and trained that proved instrumental in turning back a Japanese invasion of the Korean peninsula by the armies of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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