|Born||July 12, 1879
|Died||May 9, 1944(aged 64)|
|Revised Romanization||Han Yong-un|
|Hanja||萬海 also 卍海|
|Revised Romanization||Han Yu-cheon|
Manhae (만해, July 12, 1879 – May 9, 1944) was a twentieth century Korean Buddhist reformer and poet. Manhae was his pen name; his birth name was Han Yu-cheon, but he is universally known by the name he was given by his meditation instructor in 1905, Han Yong-un (Korean: 한용운 or; also written Han Yong-woon)
Manhae was born Yucheon in Chungcheongnam-do, Hongseong on July 12, 1879. He was later given the Buddhist name Manhae. During his childhood, he studied Chinese classics in Seodang, a popular elementary school during the Joseon Dynasty. Prior to being ordained, he was involved in resistance to Japanese influence in the country, which culminated in the Japanese occupation from 1905 to 1945. He lived in seclusion at Ose-am in the Baekdam Temple (Baekdamsa) from 1896. During this period, he studied Buddhist sacred texts and several books of modern philosophy. In 1905 he received the robes of an order of monks at Baekdam Temple (Baekdamsa). In 1908, he went to Japan and visited several temples and studied Buddhism and Eastern philosophy in Jodongjongdaehaglim for six months. In 1919 he was one of the patriot signatories to the 1919 Declaration of Independence.
As a social writer, Manhae called for the reform of Korean Buddhism.
Manhae's poetry dealt with both nationalism and sexual 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-violence in the Korean independence movement.
In 1913, Han Yongun published Restoration for Joseon's Buddhism (Joseonbulgyo-yusimlon), which criticized the anachronist isolationist policy of Joseon Buddhism and its incongruence with the then contemporary reality. The work sent tremors through the intellectual world. In this work, the author promulgated the principle of equality, self-discovery, the potential for Buddhism for safeguarding the world, and progress. His developments as an activist and thinker resulted from his adherence to these very principles.
In 1918, Han published Whole Mind (Yusim), a work that aimed to enlighten the youth. In the following year, he played an important role in the 3.1. Independence movement with Chae Lin, and he was later taken imprisoned for his involvement, and served a three-year sentence. During his imprisonment, Han composed “Reason of Joseon's Independence” (Joseondoglib-i-yuseo) as a response to prosecutors’ investigation into his political engagement. He was later acquitted in 1922, at which time he began a nationwide lecture tour. The purpose of the tour was to engage and inspire youth, an objective first established in Han’s Whole Mind (Yusim). In 1924, he became the chair for the Buddhism youth assembly. In 1926, Han published a collection of poems entitled Silence of My Beloved (Nim-ui Chimmuk), which had been written at Baegdam Temple (Baekdamsa,) in the previous year. This book garnered much attention from literary critics and intellectuals at the time. Despite his many other publications, from Chinese poems and Sijos and the poems including in Whole Mind (Yusim), to novels such as Dark Wind (Heukpung), Regret (Huhoe), Misfortune (Park Myeong), Silence of My Beloved (Nim-ui Chimmuk) remains the poet’s most significant and enduring literary achievement.
Following is a Korean-English presentation of one of his most famous works: "님의 침묵(沈默):My Lord’s Silence"
님의 침묵(沈默):My Lord’s Silence 님은 갔습니다. 아아, 사랑하는 나의 님은 갔습니다. 푸른 산빛을 깨치고 단풍나무 숲을 향하여 난 작은 길을 걸어서 차마 떨치고 갔습니다. 황금(黃金)의 꽃같이 굳고 빛나든 옛 맹서(盟誓)는 차디찬 티끌이 되어서 한숨의 미풍(微風)에 날아갔습니다. My Lord has left. O, my dear Lord has gone on his way. Breaking off azure color of hills, my Lord has walked away Upon a tiny trail toward the maple woods, hesitantly dragging himself off. Age-old oath, firm and gleaming like gold'n flowers, turned to chaff And it's been blown away with a breath of sigh. 날카로운 첫 키스의 추억(追憶)은 나의 운명(運命)의 지침(指針)을 돌려 놓고, 뒷걸음쳐서 사라졌습니다. 나는 향기로운 님의 말소리에 귀먹고, 꽃다운 님의 얼굴에 눈멀었습니다. The memory of jolting first kiss that changed the direction of my destiny, Now has evaporated, and walked back away. My eyes and ears were numbed by your sweet words and face flowery. 사랑도 사람의 일이라, 만날 때에 미리 떠날 것을 염려하고 경계하지 아니한 것은 아니지만, 이별은 뜻밖의 일이 되고, 놀란 가슴은 새로운 슬픔에 터집니다 For love is a human affair, about parting I was neither unwary nor without caution. Yet my frightened heart got burst in sorrow for my Lord’s departure was sudden. 그러나 이별을 쓸데없는 눈물의 원천(源泉)을 만들고 마는 것은 스스로 사랑을 깨치는 것인 줄 아는 까닭에, 걷잡을 수 없는 슬픔의 힘을 옮겨서 새 희망(希望)의 정수박이에 들어부었습니다. Even so, for I know letting this parting as a 'bootless source of tears' Might by itself blight the spirit of my love, I have the forces in this unbearable sorrow shifted in gears, And poured 'em into the scoop of “Hope”. 우리는 만날 때에 떠날 것을 염려하는 것과 같이, 떠날 때에 다시 만날 것을 믿습니다. 아아, 님은 갔지마는 나는 님을 보내지 아니하였습니다. 제 곡조를 못 이기는 사랑의 노래는 님의 침묵(沈默)을 휩싸고 돕니다. As we care about parting when we meet, so when we part we believe 'reunion' in confidence. Ah, though my Lord has left, I’ve never yet sent him. The melody of love tune, unable to overcome its own rhyme, Just circles around over My Lord’s Silence. (English Translation by MHLEE)
Works in Translation
- The Silence of Lord (님의 침묵)
- Contemporary Korean Poetry (한국현대시선집)
- Looking for the Cow (한국현대시선)
- An article discussing Manhae and Baekdam Temple
- "Han Yong-un " LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: http://klti.or.kr/ke_04_03_011.do#
- Lee, Kyung-ho (1996). "Han Yong-un". Who's Who in Korean Literature. Seoul: Hollym. p. 137. ISBN 1-56591-066-4.
- "Han Yong-un" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: http://klti.or.kr/ke_04_03_011.do#
- "Han Yong’un". http://www.koreanlitinfo.com/han-yongun/. Korean Literature. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Source-attribution|"Han Yong-un" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: http://klti.or.kr/ke_04_03_011.do#