Supplementary Entries and Texts for the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF KOREAN BUDDHISM by the Venerable Hyewon and Professor David A. Mason
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In-gak-sa 인각사 麟角寺 would have been on page 314 Hwa-san Qilin Horn Temple
A small ancient temple located at the northern foot of Mt. Hwa-san (X山), in Goro- myeon District of Gunwi-gun County (XX郡) of northern Gyeongsangbuk-do Province (慶尙北道). It was founded in 643 by great Master Wonhyo, and remained a humble countryside temple for hundreds of years.
However, National Master Iryeon (一然, 1206-1289) lived there at the end of his life as its Juji (住持, Abbot) after having been appointed Guksa (國師, National Preceptor), and he probably wrote parts of the famous Samguk Yusa (三國遺事, Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms) while residing here, and Ingak-sa became a larger, more important temple in those days. His budo (浮屠, memorial stupa; funerary reliquary) and official royal-ordered memorial a biseok (碑石, standing stone stele) are located in its grounds. The “Bogak-guksa-bi” biseok was built in 1295, six years after Iryeon’s passing into nirvana, by decree of King Chungnyeol (충렬왕, 忠烈王, r. 1274– 1308) he asked renowned scholar Min Ji to compose the epitaph of Iryeon’s like and accomplishments, and Iryeon’s disciple Jukheo to have that carved into the stone in the style of legendary Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi. The completed monument was erected in a grand ceremony held by Guksa Cheongjin, senior among the disciples of Iryeon; miraculous auspicious signs were recorded as occurring during the ceremony.
The stele suffered damage over the next three centuries as many fans of calligraphy took rubbings from it. Then in the Imjin Waeran (壬辰倭亂, 1592-98 Japanese Invasion), the enemy forces burned down Ingak-sa and deliberated shattered the biseok. They lay in ruins until the 1990s, until being excavated and rebuilt by the Jogye Order with assistance from the national Cultural Heritage Administration. There is now a large Guksa-jeon Hall honoring Master Iryeon, with a formal portrait of him enshrined for veneration. His elaborate and ornate “Bogak-guksa Jeongjo-jitap” budo has been restored and is designated as Treasure #428. The two surviving pieces of his biseok are standing in a pavilion behind that, sharing the designation as Treasure #428.
A reproduction of the original biseok was created on the basis of surviving rubbings collected from around the nation, based on scholarship by Dr. Park Yeong-don of the Jungang Sangha University, and erected in 2006 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Master Iryeon’s birth. It stands next to the budos of three of Iryeon’s disciples, east of the temple. Ingak-sa also contains a Goryeo-era stone statue, seated on a yeonhwa (蓮花, lotus flower) pedestal, of Seokgamoni-bul (釋迦牟尼佛, Sakyamuni Buddha, 563-483 BCE), designated as Provincial Treasure #339, with its aureole also badly damaged by the Japanese invaders; it is enshrined in the main courtyard next to Iryeon’s budo, near a new museum-exhibition building that commemorates Iryeon.