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The Accounts of Milbon, Hyet'ong and Myŏngnang in the Samguk Yusa

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Chapter Summary

During the Three Kingdoms period the Buddhist religion spread through the Korean peninsula and received royal patronage. By the sixth century Buddhism was introduced to Japan, at first from Paekche, and later from Silla and Koguryŏ. Although the biographies of Milbon, Hyet’ong and Myŏngnang are clearly fictitious, many Korean scholars rely on the Samguk yusa and hold that milgyo existed as an independent school during Unified Silla. But, since the Samguk yusa was compiled centuries after Silla, questions may be validly raised concerning the reliability of the whole work. The story of Myŏngnang contains more "concrete" biographical elements than the two preceding. It relates that Myŏngnang's familiar name or cha was Kugyuk, and that he was the son of Chaeryang, a high of official of Silla.

Keywords: Buddhism; Chaeryang; Koguryŏ; Korean peninsula; Korean scholars; Milbon; royal patronage; Samguk yusa; Silla



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