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Reverend Manhae(Han Yong-un),
a Buddist Monk,
a Poet and Patriot,
is one of the greatest figures
in the modern history of Korea
Manhae Han Yong-un(1879-1944) was a 20th century korean Buddhist Reformer and poet. Manhae was his religious name(buddhist name), which he also used as a nom de plume; his birth name was Han Yong-un(Korean: 한용운 or 韓龍雲 also written Han Yong-woon).
   Manhae was born in southern Chungcheong province South Korea. Prior to being ordained as a buddhist monk, he was involved in resistance to Japanese influence in the country, which culminated in the Japanese occupation from 1905-1945. The same year the occupation began, 1905, Manhae was ordained as a Buddhist monk at Baekdamsa temple on Mt. Seorak.
  As a social writer, Manhae called for the reformer of Korean Buddhism. Manhae's poetry dealth with both nationalism and love, one of his more political collections was Nimui Chimmuk(님의 침묵), published in 1926. These works revolve around the ideas of equality and freedom, and helped inspire the tendencies toward passive resistance and non-vilence in korean independence movement.
  Han Yong-un was one of the 33 members who in 1919 signed the historical document as a representative of the people to declare Korea's independence from the Japanese colonial control of Korea. His poems mainly concern his philosophical meditation on nature and the mystery of human experience.
<Manhae, Han Yong-Un>

Han Yong-un, the Reverend Manhae (1879~1944), was a leading poet, independence activist, thinker, scholar, and intellectual in Korea. His literary world represented by Nimui Chimmuk (Lover’s Silence) faithfully reflects Korean sentiments and soul. His values underwent a period transformation under confusion in values caused by the introduction of strange Western civilization, fall of the Korean Empire, and national injustices inflicted by the Japanese Empire. The period of various sufferings when he fought fiercely for the Korean people’s self-awareness, independence, and the restoration of Buddhism was combined with the world of Seon(Zen) of Buddhism to eventually create his literary masterpieces. Aside from his poems, his works cover diverse genres including fiction, essays, and Chinese poems. In addition, he analyzed various classics and published them along with his commentary.
In 1905, Manhae at age of 26 joined the monastic order at Baekdamsa Temple in Inje-gun, Gangwon-do. Since then, he insisted that Buddhism was the only religion saving the world in the future and made every effort to reform and popularize it with the awareness and unity of monks. As evidenced by such incessant activities, he was fundamentally a reformist monk. He published works such as “The Restoration of Korean Buddhism” or Joseonbulgyo-yusinlon and “The Great Texts of Buddhism” or Bulgyo-daejeon for the reform and popularization of Buddhism. After graduating from Myeongjin-hakgyo, the predecessor of the present Dongguk University, Manhae went to Japan to further his studies. As a result, he came to consider monk education as greatly significant and thereby actively recommended contemporary monks to learn Botong-hak (the education for common knowledge) and Sabeom-hak (the education for teacher training), and study abroad. Through numerous lectures and editorials, he tried to reform and popularize Buddhism, and eventually to its restoration. Consequently, he strove to challenge the demands of the times throughout his life.
As for his political career, Manhae was one of 33 patriot signatories to the Korean Declaration of Independence proclaimed against the colonial occupation militarily forced by the Japanese Empire, and is currently evaluated as an archetypal anti-Japanese activist of Korea. He himself wrote three pledges attached to the Declaration of Independence and participated in the March 1st Movement, for which he was later imprisoned for three years. In jail, he wrote the editorial, “Reasons of Korean Independence” with the beginning that “freedom is a life of all the marks and existence in the universe, and peace is the happiness of humanity.” In this work, he suggested that Korean people were sufficiently qualified and able to run their own country independently. In addition, he systematically and convincingly argued that Korea should be freed from the brutal colonial state in terms of freedom, equality, and peace spirits as well as world history. The work is acknowledged to be one of the most superb compositions ever recorded in Korean modern history, next to the “March 1st Declaration of Independence.” Jeong In-bo, an independence activist, called Manhae “Korean Gandhi.” This is because he strove for national independence through energetic writing and lectures for national awareness and independence until the end of his life.
Unfortunately, Manhae didn’t see the recovery of his beloved mother country. He entered into Nirvana at Shimujang located in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul on June 29th, 1944 and was buried in Manguri Cemetry. In 1962, he was awarded the Order of Merit for National Foundation from the government. In 1999, Oh Hyeon, the temple master of Shinheungsa Temple, the third District Main Temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism established the Society for Propagation and Practice of Manhae's Thoughts in honor of Manhae Han Yong-un and established the Manhae Grand Prize. Since 2013, “The Manhae Festival Promotion Committee” jointly formed by the Gangwon-do provincial government, Inje-gun county office, Dongguk University, Chosun Ilbo, and the Society for Propagation and Practice of Manhae's Thoughts has selected individual and group awardees of all race, nationality, and religion that have largely contributed to the freedom and peace of humanity, and the development of culture and arts. In addition, Baekdamsa Temple built Manhae Village in his honor at Yongdae-ri, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do in 2003. The Manhae Village consists of the Manhae Literature Museum, Manhae Youth Center, Manhae Dharma Hall, and lodging for visitors. It is also the location for the Manhae Festival and Manhae Grand Prize Awards Ceremony every August.
승려 만해 한용운(1879~1944)은 한국의 대표적 시인이자 독립 운동가이며, 사상가, 학자, 실천하는 지성인으로 평가 받고 있다. ‘님의침묵으로 대표되는 그의 문학 작품 세계에는 한국적인 정서와 혼이 고스란히 담겨져 있다. 만해는 낯선 서양문명의 유입에 따른 가치관의 혼란과 대한제국의 몰락, 일제에 의한 민족적 시련의 시기를 거치면서, 우리 민족의 자각과 독립 그리고 불교중흥을 위해 치열하게 살아야 했던 만해의 고난의 시간들과 불교의 선()의 세계가 만나, 만해의 문학작품으로 탄생한 것이다. 그의 문학 작품들은 시 이외에도 소설, 수필, 한시들이 다수 있으며, 고전을 번역하거나 주석을 첨가한 학술적 집필 서들도 있다.
190526세에 강원도 인제 백담사로 출가한 만해 한용운은 불교만이 미래의 구세 종교임을 주창하고, 불교의 유신, 불교의 대중화, 승려들의 자각과 단결을 통해 불교의 중흥을 끊임없이 도모한 개혁 승려였다. 불교의 개혁과 대중화를 위해 불교유신론불교대전등을 집필하였다. 동국대학교 전신인 명진학교에서 수학하고 일본 유학을 한 만해는 승려교육을 매우 중요하게 여기어 승려들에게 보통학, 사범학 수학과 함께 해외 유학을 적극 권장하기도 하였다. 수많은 강연과 논설을 통해 불교의 개혁과 대중화를 통한 불교 중흥을 향한 만해의 노력은 전 생애를 걸쳐 시도하였던 시대적 과업이었다.
만해 한용운은 일제 강점기 19193.1 독립선언 민족대표 33인 가운데 한 사람으로, 우리나라의 대표적 독립운동가이다. 독립선언문 공약3장을 직접 작성하였으며, 3.1 독립운동 참여로 약 3년간의 옥고를 치르기도 했다. 옥중에서 그는 자유는 만유의 생명이요, 평화는 인류의 행복이라라는 서두로 시작하는 독립운동의 서라는 논설문을 집필하였다. 이 글을 통해 그는 우리민족이 스스로 독립국가로 영유할 수 있는 자격과 능력을 갖추고 있으며, 자유, 평등, 평화 정신과 세계사적 견지에서 우리나라 독립의 당위성을 논리정연하고 설득력 있게 주장을 펼쳤다. 이 논설문은 ‘3.1 독립선언문에 버금가는 한국 근대사에 길이 남을 명문장으로 평가 받고 있다. 독립운동가 정인보는 만해 한용운을 가리켜 한국의 간디라 불렀을 만큼, 그는 생이 다하는 날까지 민족 자각과 독립을 위해 쉼 없는 저술활동과 강연을 통해 민족독립에 대한 의지를 실천하였다.
만해 한용운은 조국 독립을 보지 못한 채 1944629일 서울 성북구에 위치한 심우장에서 입적하였으며, 망우리 공동묘지에 안장되었다. 1962년 대한민국 정부로부터 건국 공로훈장이 추서 받았다. 1999년에는 대한불교조계종 제3교구 신흥사 조실 오현 스님은 만해 한용운의 정신을 기리기 위하여 () 만해사상실천선양회를 결성하고 만해대상을 시상하기 시작하였다. 2013년부터는 강원도, 인제군, 동국대학교, 조선일보, ()만해사상실천선양회가 연합하여 구성된 만해축전준비위원회가 매년 인종, 국적, 종교를 초월하여 인류의 자유와 평화 그리고 문화예술 발전에 기여한 개인 및 단체를 선정하여 만해대상을 시상하고 있다. 백담사는 2003년 강원도 인제군 용대리에 만해 한용운을 기념하기 위해 만해마을을 조성하였다. 만해마을 내에는 만해문학박물관, 만해청소년수련관, 만해법당, 방문객을 위한 숙소 등이 있으며 이곳에서는 매년 8월 만해축제와 만해대상 시상식이 열리고 있다.