동국대학교 장학센터

The Manhae Prize

 
Manhae
 
 
    • 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 Han Yong-un was one of the 33 members who in 1919 signed the historical document as a representative of the people to declare Korea's independence from the Japanese colonial control of Korea.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.
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    • Manhae


    • 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.
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