The ‘Buhyu’ Line Members’ Perception of the ‘Lines’ and the Heritages of Master Bojo

The ‘Buhyu’ Line Members’ Perception of the ‘Lines’

and the Heritages of Master Bojo

Kim, Yong-tae / Seoul National University

The so-called ‘Buhyu’ Line(‘浮休系’) was populated by Buddhist priests who claimed to be inheriting the legitimate teachings(法脈) of Master Buhyu Seonsu/浮休善修(1543-1615). Along with the Cheongheo Line(‘淸虛系’) headed by Cheongheo Hyujeong/淸虛休靜(1520-1604), this Line was one of the two major Lines that existed in the Buddhist society during the latter half period of the Joseon dynasty. Both masters Hyujeong and Seonsu were all disciples of Buyong Yeonggwan/芙蓉靈觀, and during the time of Seonsu himself, there were no visible differences between them in terms of traditions(家風) and the line of succession(嗣法關係).

Later, since 1609, the Buhyu Line members have settled themselves at the Songgwang-sa/松廣寺 temple of the Jogyae-san/曹溪山 mountain, and became an independent line of its own. Byeogam Gakseong/碧巖覺性(1575-1660), who was the disciple of Seonsu, laid out the basis for the development of the Line, and during the time of Baegam Seongchong/栢庵性聰(1631-1700), who was the member of the next generation, the Line finally established its own identity as an independent line based upon the Songgwang-sa temple and the actions of the historic master Bojo Jinul/普照知訥(1158-1210).

The Buhyu Line members conducted annotations to Master Bojo Jinul’s writings and widely published them, in order to honor and promote the teachings and heritage of Bojo(‘普照遺風’). At the Budo-jeon/浮屠殿 shrine of the Songgwang-sa temple, the Budo(tab) pagodas of the Buhyu line members are erected in the order of the legitimate line of succession(‘嫡傳’), which displays the line of succession among mainstream members of the Buhyu Line, and reveals the Line members’ perception of their own heritage and hierarchy. After Seonsu, the line of succession shows Byeogam Gakseong/碧巖覺性, then Chwimi Sucho/翠微守初, then Baegam Seongchong/栢庵聖聰, then Muyong Suyeon/無用秀演, then Yeonghae Yaktan/影海若坦, then Pungam Saechal/楓巖世察, then Mugam Chwaenul/黙庵最訥, and finally Hwanhae Beobrin/幻海法璘, in order. Among these renowned priests, especially 4 renowned masters(‘四傑’) under the guidance of Pungam Saechal, namely Mugam Chwaenul/黙庵最訥, Eungam Nangyun/應庵朗允, Jaeun Haejing/霽雲海澄, and Byeokdam Haengin/碧潭幸仁 were trained, emerged, and became the mainstream of the Buhyu Line in the post-medieval(近世) period. The most notable one was Chwaenul(1717-1790), who actively engaged in commemorating his master Saechal and promoting his teachings. His actions truly consolidated the Line members’ own perception of the heritage of the entire Buhyu Line.

With regard to the religious identity of the entire Line, the Buhyu line considered the heritage of Master Bojo most importantly. But in terms of the concept of line of teachings(法統), the Line members also shared another belief that they were actually inheriting the teachings of the Imjae-jong school(‘臨濟宗風’) which had supposedly been introduced to the Korean people through Taego Bowu/太古普愚 during the ending days of the Goryeo dynasty. This particular notion of considering Taego’s teachings to be the ultimately legitimate one(the ‘Taego Beobtong-seol/太古法統說’) was suggested by the Cheongheo line members during the early half period of the 17th century, and was established as a theory supported by practically everyone(‘公論’) inside the Buddhist society. The Buhyu line apparently also accepted this generally received notion, and claimed that they have been inheriting the teachings of the Imjae-jong school as well.

In terms of philosophy, the main characteristic of the Buddhism in the late Joseon dynasty period could be named as the Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu/禪敎兼修 principle(the principle of practicing Seon and Gyo teachings together), based upon the notion of prioritizing the Ganhwa-seon/看話禪 practice above all else. This characteristic was well mirrored in the education process for the Buddhist priests(the Iryeok Gwajeong/履歷課程 curriculum), and the training course was established in the form of Sammun Sueob/三門修業, which meant practicing Seon, Gyo and Yeombul(禪‧敎‧念佛) at the same time altogether. Included in the Sajib/四集 of the Iryeok Gwajeong curriculum were the 『Doseo/都序』 of Jongmil/宗密 which was considered to be a very important text by Jinul, and the 『Jeolyo/節要』 text that featured annotations of Jinul. And in the Daegyo/大敎, there was the 『Yeomsong/拈頌』, which was published by Jingak Haesim/眞覺慧諶, who was also the disciple of Jinul. As we can see, the training process and the curriculum for the Buddhist priests of the late Joseon dynasty period clearly reflected the philosophical influences of Master Jinul, and the most basic element of that influence was the Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu principle. The Buhyu line succeeded the heritage of Master Bojo, maintained the principle of Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu, and considered Gyohak studies to be very important.

During the latter half period of the Joseon dynasty, among Gyohak studies, especially the Hwaeom-hak/華嚴學 studies blossomed. Since Seongchong had launched a huge project of publishing Jinggwan/澄觀’s 『Hwaeom Socho/華嚴疏鈔』 which was proofread and published by Pyeong Rim Yeob/平林葉 of the Chinese Ming(明) dynasty, and the 『Hwaehyeon-gi/會玄記』 text annotated by Boseo/普瑞 of the Yuan(元) dynasty, studies of the Buddhist Sutras(‘講經’) and publications of annotated versions of the writings of past masters continued vigorously, and led to a new social atmosphere which could be referred to as the Renaissance of the Hwaeom studies. From the Buhyu line, renowned Hwaeom-jong masters(華嚴宗師) such as Mowun Jineon/慕雲震言, Hwaeam Jeonghae/晦庵定慧 and Mugam Chwaenul emerged, and delivered superb achievements in terms of Gyohak studies, which even matched those that had been delivered by the Cheongheo Line members.

The Buhyu Line members featured a unified line of succession and a unique perception of their heritage and hierarchy. They maintained the principle of practicing Seon and Gyo teachings altogether, and considered Gyohak studies to be very important. What helped them establish such strong identity and a perception viewing their own heritage, was the heritage of Master Bojo, and their conviction and pride in inheriting such honorable heritage.

* Keywords

Buhyu line(浮休系), Cheongheo line(淸虛系), Jogyae-san/曹溪山 mountain’s Songgwang-sa/松廣寺 temple, Heritage of Master Bojo(普照遺風), Teachings of the Imjae-jong School(臨濟宗風), Taego Bowu/太古法統, Bojo Jinul/普照知訥, Buhyu Seonsu/浮休善修, Byeogam Gakseong/碧巖覺性, Baegam Seongchong/栢庵性聰, Mugam Chwaenul/黙庵最訥, Ganhwa-seon/看話禪 practice, Seon-Gyo Gyeomsu/禪敎兼修(practicing Seon and Gyo teachings together) principle, Iryeok Gwajeong/履歷課程, Sammun Sueob/三門修業, Hwaeom Socho/華嚴疏鈔