24. Chinhúng Wang: (549-576)
Let us start from the beginning, both Samguk Sagi, Haedong Koson Chon, and Samguk Yusa tells us clearly how and why the Hwarang organization was created.
The following translation is from Samguk Sagi. The version in Haedong Koson Chon (or Lives of Eminent Korean Monks) is virtually identical with only few different chinese chracters.
From Samguk Sagi 4:40, Translation: Peter H. Lee: Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol.I, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993. p.101-102.
"The Wonhwa (Original Flowers) was first presented at court (the first Sóllang) in the thirty-seventh year (576) of King Chinhúng. (The Haedong Kosúng Chón says "the Wónhwa was first chosen as Sóllang", Lee,Peter H.: The Lives of Eminent Korean Monks, The Haedong Kosúng Chón, p.66)
Therefore two beautiful girls, Nammo and Chunjóng were selected, and a group of some three hundred people gathered around them. But the two girls competed with each other. In the end, Chunjóng enticed Nammo to her home and, plying her with wine till she was drunk, threw her into a river. Chunjóng was put to death. The group became discordant and dispersed.
Afterwards, handsome youths were chosen instead. Faces made up and beautifully dressed, they were respected as Hwarang, and men of various sorts gathered around them like clouds.
The youths instructed one another in the Way and in righteousness, entertained one another with songs and music, or went sightseeing to even the most distant mountains and rivers. Much can be learned of a man’s character by watching him in these activities. Those who fared well were recommended to the court. Kim Taemun, in his Hwarang Segi (Annals of the Hwarang), remarks: "Henceforth able ministers and loyal subjects are chosen from them, and good generals and brave soldiers are born therefrom."
Ch’oe Ch’iwon (b.857) in his preface to the Nallang Pi (Inscription on the Monument of Knight Nan) says: "There is a wonderful and mysterious way in the country, called P’ungnyu. The origins of the institution are detailed in the history of the Hwarang. In fact it embraces the Three Teachings and transforms myriad men. It is a tenet of the Minister of Crime of Lu (Confucius) that one should be filial to one’s parents and loyal to one’s sovereign; it is the belief of the Keeper of Archives of Chou (Lao Tzu)that one should be at home in the action of inaction and practice the wordless doctrine; and it is the teaching of the Indian Prince (Buddha) that one should avoid evil and do many good deeds."
Ling-hu Ch’eng of T’ang, moreover, in the Hsing-lo kuo-chi (Record of Silla), states that "The Hwarang were chosen from the handsome sons of the nobles and their faces were made up, and they were dressed up. They were called Hwarang, and were respected and served by their countrymen."
Here the compiler of "Lives of Eminent Korean Monks" adds to the account in Samguk Sagi:
"This was a way to facilitate the king’s government. According to the (Hwarang) Segi,from Wonhwa to the end of Silla there were more than 200 knights, of whom the "Four
Knights" were the wisest." (Namsókhaeng (or Namnang), Sullang, Yóngnang, and An Sang)
Translation: Peter H. Lee: The Lives of Eminent Korean Monks, The Haedong Kosung Chon p.68.
Also, in the Haedong Kosung Chon (The Lives of Eminent Korean Monks p.69) it says in the chapter on King Chinhung:
“The eulogy says: Great is the power of custom over man. Therefore, if the king wants to change the fashion of an age, no one can prevent his success, which follows like the downflow of water. After King Chinhung first worshipped Buddhism and initiated the way of the Hwarang, people gladly followed him and imitated his example. Their excitement was as great as when visiting a treasure house or when going to the spring terrace. The king’s aim was to make the people progress toward goodness and justice and to lead them to the Great Way. Emperor Ai (26-7-1B.C.) of the Former Han loved only lust. Pan Ku (32-92) therefore remarked, “The tenderness which seduces man belongs not only to women, but to man as well”. This indeed cannot be compared with our story of the Hwarang.”
The above story can also be found in Samguk Yusa just before the tale of Maitreya Buddha and thus in ALL three of the oldest sources on Korean history:
"The surname of King Chinhúng, the twenty-fourth monarch of Silla, was Kim. His given name was Sammaekchong, or mmaekchong. He ascended the throne in the sixth year, Kyóngsin, of Ta-t’ung (540). In pursuance of the will of his uncle, King Póphúng, he devotedly served the Buddha, erected monasteries, and issued certificates to monks and nuns. Endowed with grace, he respected the hwarang and made beautiful girls Wónhwa. His purport was to select persons of character and teach them filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, and sincerity – the substance of governing the country.
At the time two Wónhwa, Nammo and Kyojóng (or Chunjóng), were chosen, and their followers numbered three to four hundred. Being jealous of Nammo, Kyojóng invited her to a party, made her drunk with wine, and led her to the banks of the North River, where she struck her dead with a stone and buried her. Unable to find her, Nammo’s followers wept sadly and departed. One who knew of the crime then composed a song and had it sung by children. Thus Nammo’s group went to the river, found her body in the midstream, and killed Kyojóng. Thereupon the king ordered the wónhwa abolished. After many years, he thought it best for the health of the country to establish the way of the Hwarang and ordered a selection of virtuous youths from good families to be its members. At first, knight Sórwón was made Hwarang (Kuksón) – this is the beginning of the Hwarang institution. Thereafter a monument was erected in Myóngju, and the king had the people refrain from evil and do good, respect their superiors, and be kind to their inferiors. Thus the five constant ways (goodness, righteousness, decorum, wisdom, and fidelity), the six arts (etiquette, music, archery, horsemanship, calligraphy, and mathematics), the three teachers, and the six ministers came into use".
Samguk Yusa. Translation: Peter H. Lee: Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol.I, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993. p.90-91.
Samguk Sagi here clearly states that the purpose both for the Wonhwa and for the Hwarang was to a) disport themselves in groups so that they could observe their behavior and thus elevate the talented among them to positions of service, b) recommend the ented to the court so that able ministers and loyal subjects could be chosen from them, and good generals and brave soldiers born therefrom, and finally as "Lives of Eminent orean Monks" adds "This was a way to facilitate the king’s government."
Samguk Yusa goes even further, it tells us directly in what the Hwarang was trained, and at they were supposed to do:
"They were taught the five cardinal principles of human relations (kindness, justice, courtesy, intelligence and faith), the six arts (etiquette, music, archery, horsemanship,
writing and mathematics), the three scholar occupations (royal tutor, instructor and teacher), and the six ways to serve the government (holy minister, good minister, loyal minister, wise minister, virtuous minister and honest minister)".
“At first, knight Sórwón was made Kuksón – this is the beginning of the Hwarang institution. Thereafter a monument was erected in Myóngju, and the king had the people refrain from evil and do good, respect their superiors, and be kind to their inferiors. Thus the five constant ways (goodness, righteousness, decorum, wisdom, and fidelity), the six arts (etiquette, music, archery, horsemanship, calligraphy, and mathematics), the three teachers, and the six ministers came into use”.
Samguk Yusa. Translation: Peter H. Lee: Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol.I, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993. p.91.
Sadaham and Mugwan-nang:
Sadaham was of noble birth, since he was not only a descendant of an earlier ruler, but belonged to the aristocratic rank known as Chin’gol, the second of the exclusive and so-called “bone ranks” of Silla.Samguk Yusa 4:39; 44:417-418.
"Sadaham was fifteen years old when he became a Hwarang under King Chinhung, when he did his followers (Rangdo) numbered more than a thousand, and he was personally interested
in all of them.
At that time, (AD 562) (note), the King ordered Isabu to attack one of the northern kingdoms. Sadaham pleaded with the king that he be allowed to lead the first attack. In
view of his youth, the king was reluctant but then consented to do so as to demonstrate the bravery of the Hwarang youth, he commissioned Sadaham as a commander. Sadaham then persuaded Isabu to let him and his large band of followers lead off with the attack on the gate of Chóndallyang fortress, Sadaham was the first to breach the gate and so they brought the war to an early conclusion. For his bravery King Chinhung gave him 300 slaves from the defeated army, but Sadaham gave them their liberty and converted every one of them into good subjects. He wished no personal rewards for his deeds. Only after he was pressed by the royal did he accept a reward of land. All of the nation admired this conduct.
Very shortly afterwards, when Sadaham was seventeen, his friend Mugwan-nang died. From early childhood the two young friends had sworn friendship to death, they swore that if one or the other died in battle the other was obliged to commit suicide. Sadaham heard of his friend’s death and fell into remorse and mourning. He refused to eat or sleep for seven days, and then died on the seventh."
We see here that the Hwarang movement was not originaly organized to fight, but when Sadaham demonstrated how effective the young aristocratic Hwarang could be in motivating
the Silla army to fight this changed. Many of the following stories shows how the Hwarang now started to fight for their country.
Note: In Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa the date of the second founding of Hwarang Do (from the first inception of Wonhwa to the institution of the Hwarang) is given as the 37th year of King Chinhung (A.D.576). But in the story of Sadaham which takes place in the 23rd year of Chinhung (A.D.562), Sadaham is already a Hwarang.
The 37th year is the last year of King Chinhung (540-576). That year was therefore a reasonable heading under which to put something that was known to have happened in that reign, but whose exact date was unknown.
The strictly chronological method of the Sagi made it difficult to place such intractable material. The only material put under the same year after the entry about the Wonhwa and
the Hwarang is a note about a monk who studied in China "at this time", and the record of the kings death, which would naturally close the account of his reign in the
chronological telling of it.
However, please also refer to Hwarang Do Before 576 A.D.
Rutt, Richard: The Flower Boys of Silla, in: Transactions of the Korean Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Vol 38, October 1961 p.29.
"In the book "Tongguk T’onggam", completed in 1484, we find under the 37th year of King Chinhung of Silla an abridged version of the passage already quoted from the
Samguk Sagi. It contains most of the part before the quotation from Kim Taemun, with a few minor changes in the characters, but stops short before the mention of statesmen and generals. However under the accession year of the same King Chinhung we find the note that "Silla chose handsome boys of good character and called them pungwólchu, seeking good men to join the groups, to encourage filial and fraternal piety, loyalty and sincerity." And under the 27th year a record of one Paegun only saying that he became a Hwarang at the age of 14 and that he was married. This note on Paegun is also in the "Samguk Sajóryo", a history-book compiled about the same time but using materials dating from a generation earlier then the "Tongguk T’onggam".
The "Taedong Unbu Kunok" an encyclopedic dictionary of Korean matters compiled by Kwón Munhae in 1588, contains articles on Wónhwa, Hwarang, and Kuksón. The first two consists of short quotations from the Samguk Sagi. The third notes that Kuksón is the same as Hwarang. It says again that Paegun became a Kuksón at the age of fourteen but in the reign of King Chinp’yóng (579-632).