« ПретходнаНастави »
the strange attitude of mind represented in it. The city of P'yeng-Yang was really regarded as a great ship, and a mighty mast was erected in the city in order that the sails of prosperity might waft the city to good fortune and success.
Even today one may see great masts scattered over the Korean peninsula, some in the most out-of-the-way places. These masts rise to a great height. They are built of metal, with a center of timber. They still evidence that ancient notion that a city or a valley or an entire district was considered as a ship.
Still stranger ideas, however, affected the people of those times, and the evidence of them may still be seen in Korea. For instance, I recall clearly one spot near the great temple of Tsudoji, where the whole mass of country is a great cow. The different parts were pointed out to me. Here was the snout; here was an iron ring, to which the earth cow was supposed to be tied; here was a hollow in the rock, a foot or so in diameter, regarded as the nostril of the creature, which stretched out in the direction indicated to me, for many yards.
In another section, near Riri, I saw a mountain or hill which was thought to be a running horse; because there was danger from running horses in the older time, two pillars of rock had been raised in accordance with the advice of the wise men of the day) in order to stop the horse from running into the fields and destroying the crops. Such notions seem to us extraordinary or strange, but they were part of the science of the day in P’yeng-Yang in those long ago times.
The little kingdom of Kudara received its Buddhism fifteen years later, in the year 384. Koma had been a center of missionary effort; the religion had been sent there from outside, unsolicited. But Kudara begged for the gospel and sent its messengers not to the little kingdoms on the north, but to the empire of China itself. They said: “Send us the great priest Marananda. We want Marananda to come and teach the people.”
I forgot to tell you that Sundo was a Tibetan, born in the great mountain mass north of India; traveling from there eastward, first to China and afterwards to Korea, he carried his gospel. Marananda was a Hindu. He had great fame in the empire of the Chinese, and the people in Kudara wanted his ministry; Marananda came to the capital city of Kudara or Pakche, and the gospel was received with great willingness by the people.
He was himself housed in the king's palace; he was treated with great respect. Soon ten other priests came from China and the religion had no trouble in making headway throughout the kingdom of Kudara and it increased rapidly. It was from Kudara, in the year 552, that Buddhism was sent for the first time, by the king of that country, into Japan. And with it, he sent figures and texts and a letter telling the emperor of Japan, Kimmei, that it was a good religion and he hoped that the people would accept it.
The third of the three kingdoms, Shiragi, was the last to receive the Buddhist teaching, which came about 424. It came, I suppose, from the capital city of P’yeng-Yang, and they say that the priest who brought it was called Mukocha. They speak of him as “the black man,”—“the negro." Was this dark man truly a negro—or an Indian, or some other dark racial type? Mukocha went by boat; down the river Taidong to the sea and then around the peninsula and up to the east coast in order to reach the kingdom of Shiragi.
There seems to have been some mystery about his arrival. He hired himself out to a farmer and extraordinary things are told in regard to his life as a plowman, for he plowed for the farmer, who hid him in a cave. They said that when he was hidden in this cave, it frequently shone with glory. It is said that he was fond of art, and desired that his cave be carved with Buddhist carvings. He cured the daughter of the king, and because of that cure gained influence in the kingdom. The religion he brought was early Buddhism, called today Hinayana, or “the little vehicle."
This cave of Mukocha was a place of wonders. It is said that outside of it was a peach tree that blossomed with flowers of five different colors; in winter, when snow drifted around the cavern, plants of great beauty pushed their way up through the snow and blossomed and bore fruit. There are many strange and miraculous things told about this black monk, but there is no doubt about the beauty of the cave he left behind him. After he established the religion firmly in the country, he sent for artists to decorate that cave-temple. I have been in it; it is one of the fine things in art of the East. Situated near the summit of a hill, it looks down over the eastern sea; in the midst of the cavern-chapel is seated a stone Buddha of extraordinary beauty, carved from a single block of stone, some 11 or 12 feet in height. That figure has seen the sun rise through almost fifteen hundred years; beautiful in its silent, pensive attitude, it is surrounded by rock hewn figures, for the walls of the cave are decorated with carvings made by the artists who were sent to the black monk.
These figures represent the early disciples of Buddha; the faces are painted in different colors and the features represent different race types. The Buddha preached to all peoples of all races; and as his India swarmed with strangers, among his early disciples there may have been white men and brown men and black men.
I love to think of the old capital of Shiragi, Kyong Ju. It had its period of glory; among its ruins I have been deeply impressed. Here we may see the splendid grave of General Kim, 1200 years old. It is faced around its whole circumference with stone slabs set firmly in place; twelve of them are carved with the animals of the eastern zodiac. There is an ice-house among the ruins of old Kyong Ju, an ice-house perhaps 900 years old; cunningly built of stone, underground, with true arch-vaulting it sheltered ice for the chilling of food and the cooling of drink a thousand years ago. There is a stone observatory intended for celestial observation, still standing; it is perhaps 1250 years old and it is the oldest known structure of its kind remaining.
In those fine old days, Kyong Ju was a center of trade.
We are certain that Chinese and Koreans and Japanese were there; we are equally certain that Tibetans and Indians and Persians came thither and it is claimed that merchants from Arabia used to stand in its market place.
Of course, we always think of the country around the Mediterranean as being a site of culture long ago. We always think of movement there; that does not surprise us. But we are apt to think of the far east as being eternally stagnant, and it surprises us to think of Kyong Ju with Arabian merchants in its market place.
And it had its scholars. There was Ch’oc Chuen. He was a poet and essayist; he was a skilled caligrapher writing the beautiful Chinese characters famously; he was reckoned as one of the greatest sages and learned men of his day in China proper which was an honor not to be surpassed.
All that splendor, which is no more, goes back to 424 A.D., when Mukocha, the black monk, went there to teach. The religion which he introduced flourished and developed. It became in time the state religion, but it was no longer the simple religion that Mukocha brought; it was the developed Mahayana, northern Buddhism. Like all state religions, while it gained power, wealth, and ease, it became corrupt; toward the end it did much harm in Shiragi, as in the other two kingdoms. For instance, at one time, the king became so infatuated with Buddhism that he became himself a monk, divorced his wife and made her become a nun. Later, things became still worse. In 911 the king upon the throne was extremely devout. Kung-ye was his name. He was absolutely absorbed in Buddhism; he neglected his
can be no question that he became insane. Then the crash came; the people rebelled against him; there was revolution and a leader, named Wangon arose. He was at first devoted to his master's cause, but finding the case hopeless, he listened to the demand of the people and joined in the revolution; in time he became king, and founder of a new dynasty, that of Koryu. In its later days Shiragi had become mistress of the whole peninsula and the kingdom over which Wangon ruled was a united Korea.
In 918 the second period in Korean history begins. Wangon realized that the chief trouble had been Buddhism. Still, he himself was Buddhist, and he continued to practice Buddhism, but on a more moderate scale. Having moved his capital to Songdo, he ended his first year, 918, with a famous festival of which we have a description.
There was an enormous lantern, hung about with hundreds of others under a tent made of a network of silken cords. Music was an important element. There were also representations of dragons, birds, elephants, horses, carts and boats. Dancing was prominent and there were in all a hundred forms of entertainment. Each official wore the long flowing sleeves, and each carried the ivory memorandum tablets. The king sat on a high platform and watched the entertainment.
You see, he was very far from cutting loose from Buddhism. We may say that Buddhism really flourished to an extraordinary degree over the whole peninsula. When Wangon died, in 942, he left a written message for his son and successor. It contained ten rules of conduct for his guidance as king. These rules were numbered from one to ten. Three had to do with religion and of course that religion was Buddhism. In the first rule he advised his son to continue to recognize Buddhism as the state religion of united Korea. The second rule was that he should build no more monasteries. While it was a good thing to continue Buddhism, it was a bad thing to build more monasteries, as too much money had already been spent upon them. The sixth of his rules was for the establishment of an annual Buddhist festival of the same nature as the one he had celebrated at the end of his first year. So Wangon did not destroy Buddhism, but continued it as the national religion.
In course of time the old religion regained its destructive influence. It gathered wealth and refinement and became corrupt beyond even what it had been before. There is not time to state the different points. I shall mention briefly a few instances and events from the history of the religion during this period. In 1026 there was an effort made to break its power; there had come in from China