" The Teachings of Zen Master Man Gong "
Mangong (1871 1946) or Song Mangong was a Korean Buddhist monk, independence activist, scholar, poet, writer and philosopher, in the period of the Japanese Occupation of Korea.
During the early twentieth century. Man’gong (dharma name, Wolmyon) received the dharma transmission from Kyongho Song’u, who is credited as the founder of modern Korean Buddhism. Born on March 7, 1871, Chonbuk, South Korea, Man’gong received the novice precepts at age fourteen at Ch’onjangsa on Mt. So, from Taeho Songwon, his master, and Kyongho Song’u, his preceptor. He learned the core of Son Buddhism from Master Song’u, who advised Man’gong to practice Zhaozhou’s mu hwadu (wu huatou). Like his mater, Kyongho (1849–1912), and Wonhyo (617–686), long before him, Man’gong was known for his free life style.
He made a great contribution to the revival of Kanhwa Son tradition in modern Korea, with a teaching that everything depends on the mind. During the Japanese colonial period (1910–1945) Man’gong was a severe critic of the colonial government’s policy to assimilate Korean Buddhism to the Japanese Buddhist style, which included such practices as marriage among Buddhist monks, which Korean Buddhism considered as corruption. Man’gong was also praised for his unusual level of support for nuns, who have traditionally been relegated to a subservient status in the Korean Buddhist tradition. Man’gong’s teachings are collected in the Man’gong orok.
Zen Master Man’gong, who was Seung Sahn Soen Sa Nim’s Grand teacher, was born in a small town in the Korean province of Cholla Bukdo. He became a monk in the year 1883 at the temple Donghaksa on Kyeryong Mountain. His first teacher was Tae Heo Sunim, but from an early age he began to study with Zen Master Kyongho. Man’gong sunim attained enlightenment at an early age while staying at Chonjang’am near Sosan, and after receiving Dharma transmission from Zen Master Kyongho, spent most of his life living and teaching near the temple Sudoksa, on Doksong san mountain. Man’gong sunim taught for many years and had numerous Dharma Disciples, including monks, nuns and laymen. During his final days, he resided at Jonwol’am, near the top of Doksong san mountain. He died at the age of 75, having been a monk for 62 years.