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Samyeong Daesa
사명대사 / 泗溟大師
Born 1544
Joseon
Died 1610 (aged 65–66)
Title monk

Samyeongdang (1544–1610), also known by his Buddhist name, Yujeong (or Yu jeong), was a Korean Buddhist monk during the Joseon Dynasty. He is sometimes identified by his pen name, Song-un. He was born to a family of the Im clan in Miryang, Gyeongsang province. After the deaths of his mother in 1558 and his father in 1559, he became a monk at Jikjisa on Hwangaksan in Gimcheon.

Life[]

In 1561, he passed the seon-gwa, the specialized civil service examinations for Buddhist monks. He corresponded with various scholars of the time including Pak Sa-am, Heo Ha-gok, and Im Baek-ho. In 1575, he was recommended for the headship of the Seon order, but refused and instead traveled to Myohyangsan. There he was instructed by preceptor Seosan Daesa. He went on to pass three years at Podŏksa on Kŭmgangsan, and later traveled through Palgongsan, Cheongnyangsan, and Taebaeksan.

With the outbreak of Japanese invasions in 1592, Yujeong joined his teacher Seosan's righteous army of monks. After Seosan retired due to his age, Yujeong took over the leadership of the monks' army. He led the army into battles at Pyongyang and Uiryeong in 1592, set up mountain fortresses through Gyeongsang in 1594, and joined in battle again at Ulsan and Suncheon.

In 1604, after the end of the war, he traveled to Japan on King Seonjo's orders to forge a peace accord with Tokugawa Ieyasu, and returned with 3500 Koreans who had been taken prisoner. Yu jeong's diplomatic missions established a resilient foundation for a series of major Joseon missions to Japan.[1]

After his death in 1610 on Haeinsa, Yujeong was enshrined in the Pyochung Seowon in Miryang and at Suchungsa in Nyŏngbyŏn. He continues to be remembered in modern times, with numerous statues and other memorials around Korea. He has been cited together with Seosan Daesa as an example of a "patriotic-minded" Buddhist by the North Korean Korean Buddhist Federation.[2] Yujeong's writings are preserved in the Samyeongjip (사명대사집, 四溟大師集) and Bunchungseo Nallok (분충서난록, 奮忠紓難錄).

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