Ryongthong Temple and prince of Koryo

Pyongyang, October 26 (KCNA) — Archaeologists have recently unearthed remains of the Ryongthong Temple, a main Buddhist sanctuary from the Koryo dynasty. A restoration project is now under way.

The temple is located in Ryonghung-dong, Kaesong. It is here that Ui Chon, Buddhist priest and founder of Chon Thae Jong, the main sect of Buddhism in Korea at the time, led the monastic life. There still remain his tomb and a monument to his achievements.

Ui Chon (1054-1101) was the fourth son of Mun Jong, the 11th King of Koryo. His original name was Wang Hu and Ui Chon was his minor name.

It was an established practice that in case the king had three or more sons one of them had to become a priest.

According to this custom, Ui Chon left the royal palace for the Ryongthong Temple to take tonsure at the age of 11.

A clever and intelligent boy, he entered the top order at the age of 13.

He was not only a devout Buddhist follower but a good scholar who was keenly interested in the nation’s social and economic progress.

In April 1085, he collected some 1,000 books (7,500 volumes according to the epitaph) and later, over 4,000 sutras, to compile Buddhist scriptures.

In March 1087, a print shop was set up at the Hunghwang Temple, which published 4,740 volumes of sutras, which was divided into 1,010 parts, in a less than a year.

While being the chief priest of the Kukchong Temple in 1097, he presented well-grounded arguments in support of the circulation of coins.

He wrote many books and literary works, and died in October 1101 at the Ryongthong Temple.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/taver/15123422469/

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