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  • three sages
    • Wonhyo picture   Wonhyo

      Wonhyo (617-686) is a great Buddhist priest during the Unified Silla Kingdom. His family name is Seol. He was born in Apryang-gun, Gyeongsan. At the age of 15, he entered a Buddhist monastery. An episode tells of how he attained enlightenment. On his way for study to Tang China with the priest Uisang, he happened to stay one night over in a cave. In the middle of night, Wonyo was awakened by severe thirst and drank water which turned out to be stagnant water in a human skull. Then immediately, he obtained enlightenment, declaring that "the ultimate truth lies not outside oneself but within oneself." Then he turned his back to Silla.
      Wonhyo is not only a luminous Buddhist scholar but thinker. He also contributed greatly to turning aristocratic Buddhism to the people's religion. His thought is known to have been not biased to one sect but harmonized with one truth in Buddhism. He fathered Seol Chong from marriage to Princess Yoseok.

      Seol Chong   Seol Chong Picture

      Seol Chong (655 - ?  ) was a great scholar in the middle of Silla Kingdom. His other name is Chongji. He was born between the great Buddhist priest Wonhyo and Pricess Yoseok. He belonged to the aristocracy, the 6th bone-rank order. According to Jeungbomunheonbigo, he is the founder of the Gyeongju Seol clan. He is also known as a great scholar who compiled and perfected the Idu writing system. He is regarded as one of 10 sages in Silla Kingdom, one of three finest writers in Silla Kingdom, and one of 18 Oriental sages. He left Hwawanggye, a satirical writing about a king, and inscriptions on a Buddha statue.
      His memorial shrine was built at Hadae-ri, Namsan-myeon, in 1923.

      Bogakkuksa llyeon Picture   Bogakkuksa llyeon

      Ilyeon (1206-1289) was born in Jangsan-gun, Gyeongsan at present. He was the most reverend priest in the Buddhist circle during the intervention of the Mongols. He won the confidence of King Chungryeol and became a kukjon, the supreme head of Buddhist hierarchy, in 1283. Although he was a priest, he was a filial son to his mother. Always, he wished to stay close to his mother in Gyeongsan even while staying at Kwangmyongsa in Gaeseong, capital of the Goryeo Dynasty, as the kukjon. In his life, he stayed long at temples on Mt. Biseul and Mt. Unmun close to Gyeongsan.
      He left such writings as Samguk Yusa and Jungpyeonjodongowi. A memorial pagoda stands at Ingaksa where he spent his last years. After his death, Gyeongsan-hyeon, the birthplace of Ilyeon, was elevated to the chief eup from a branch eup of Donggyeong Gyeongju in 1317.

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