Korean Seon Centers and their Present State

Lee, Bup-san /

Professor, Dongguk University

Korean Buddhist order of Jogye follows the tradition of Boddhidharma who is the 28th linage of the Buddha. His teaching of seon reached the highest in China at the time of the master Jogye Hyereung around the 7th century. Korean Jogye order named after this master because Doyeu, who received the inga (認可) from his linage of Seadang Jijang (738-817 C.E.) at the kingship of Heonduk (821 C.E.).

At the beginning of the introduction of seon from China to the Silla dynasty, it had various conflicts with the sects of kyo (敎) tradition. However, the conflicts settled down in Korye dynasty when ganhwaseon (看話禪) which Daehye of the Song dynasty advanced was getting popular among the Buddhists. The main center of ganhwaseon has been Songkwang-sa located at Jeolla providence since Bojo and others inspired the movement of jeonghyegyelsa (定慧結社).

In the dynasty of Joseon, the tradition of Jogye did not have its full development because the government suppressed Buddhism in general. In the time of the invasion of Japan, it has been almost disappearing. It is Gyenghoe (1849-1912 C.E.) who revived the ganhwaseon in Korea. He organized jenghye (定慧) in 1899 at the Haein-sa, and practiced seon with 17 students during winter time. After then, Bumoe-sa and Tongdo-sa and other temples opened the seon centers. In 1942, there were 68 centers and around 505 monks and nuns practiced seon.

Jogye tradition reached a further step when the master Hyobong became the first supreme patriarch in 1946. At the present time, there are 94 centers and around 2,319 monks and nuns take part in ganhwa meditation. The seon centers are the place not only for monks and nuns but also for Buddhists in general. there should be many things to give Koreans better life if they used for their well-being.

* Key Words

Korean Seon Center, Korean Buddhist order of Jogye, The present state of The senier monk at a Seon center and The Seon Temples, The reform measures Of Seon center, Ganhwa Seon.