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Original location of 12th century Goryeo-era famous Buddhist monk's monument confirmed

by Herodopedia taeshik.kim 2021. 4. 7.

Archaeologists have found an important clue to reveal the original location of the Stele for State Preceptor Hyeon-o at Seobongsa Temple Site, Yongin, Gyeonggi-do Province. 

 

Original site of Hyeon-o's Monument 

 

This monument, which recorded the history of a famous Buddhist monk named Hyeon-o (1125~1178)
during the Goryeo Dynasty period in the 12th century, is still standing on the temple site, but its original location has been unknown.

 

However, as a result of a recent excavation survey conducted by Yongin City to the Hanbaek Institute of Cultural Heritage, a cultural property excavation and research organization, a stone structure that appears to be the foundational trace of this monument has been discovered found.

 

Excavation site 

 

This stone foundation structure is 2.9 meters long and 2.4 meters wide, and it seems to be the site of a certain structure. 

 

This size is similar to the size of the supporting stone of the present Hyeon-o's monument. 

 

However, since the excavation area is limited, more facts are expected to be revealed through additional excavation.

 

The Hyeon-o's stele was erected in the precincts of Seobongsa Temple in 1185 (the 15th year of the reign of King Myeongjong of the Goryeo dynasty) to commemorate the achievements of State Preceptor Hyeon-o. Although steles are usually built with a funerary stupa, there are no traces of a stupa at the temple site, and only the monument remains.

 

Hyeon-o's Monument



The stele is a simple structure consisting of an argillite main stone and a granite foundation stone. The four upper corners of the foundation stone were cut off diagonally, while the two upper edges of the main stone were cut off obliquely.

 

According to the inscription, State Preceptor Hyeono became a monk of Burilsa Temple at the age of 15, and later became the head monk of Buseoksa Temple until his death at the age of 53 in 1178 (the 8th year of the reign of King Myeongjong).

 

He was cremated at the foot of Dongnimsan Mountain. 

 

Foundation of Hyeon-o's Monument



The king, having appointed him as State Preceptor, bestowed upon him the posthumous title of Hyeon-o. In addition, the author of the inscription and year of construction are recorded on the monument. The stele exhibits the new and simple style introduced during the late Goryeo Dynasty. 

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