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Uicheon (28 September 1055 – 5 October 1101) was a Korean Royal Prince and influential Korean Buddhist scholar-monk during the Goryeo period (918–1392). He was the fourth son of King Munjong (1046–1083) and Queen Inye from the Incheon Yi clan and the younger brother of Sunjong, Seonjong, and Sukjong.

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  2. Works
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At age 11, Uicheon volunteered to become a Buddhist monk. In 1065, he studied at the Yeongtong Temple (영통사, 靈通寺) under Buddhist monk Nanwon (난원, 爛圓) who was his maternal relative and studied the Buddhist and Confucian canons. Uicheon displayed exceptional talents from a young age, and he dedicated himself to the extensive study of the Chinese Buddhist canon, the works of the various East Asian Buddhist schools, along with the Chinese classics.

Uicheon lived at Ryongtongsa in Kaesong for much of his life and was buried there, where his tomb can be found. He was a prolific author, scholar and Buddhist teacher who specialized in Huayan studies and the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, having studied in China with Huayan masters. He is also known for introducing the works of the Cheontae school to Korean Buddhism. He was also known by the title Daegak Guksa (大覺國師, "National Teacher Great Awakening ").

Uicheon's reputation eventually reached China, and he eventually was patronized by Chinese Emperor Zhezong. Uicheon and his party eventually visited the Song Dynasty capital and met with Emperor Zhezong. Subsequently, they visited several prominent monasteries such as Jingyuan Monastery (淨源寺) and Yanglian Monastery (懹璉寺), where they engaged in discussions with over 50 eminent monks. Uicheon made many connections with Chinese masters during this time, particularly with scholars of Huayan sect such as Jinshui Jingyuan (靜源, 1011-1088) with whom he continued to exchange letters after returning to Korea. Jingyuan also sent Uicheon Huayan texts.

Uicheon also visited the Liao dynasty, visiting various key sites and meeting with Liao monks. He even became a priest for Emperor Daozong of Liao before returning to Korea.

Back in Korea, Uicheon's reputation had continued to grow and he was warmly welcomed. King Seonjong recognized the importance of reviving Buddhism and invited Uicheon to assume the position of head monk at Heungwang Temple. He established a repository for the scriptures at Heungwang Temple and also collected scriptures from China and Japan. He published the "Collection of the Avataṃsaka Sūtra" (화엄소초), which consisted of more than 4,740 volumes.

From 1073 to 1090, Uicheon collected numerous Buddhist commentaries from Korea, China, the Khitan Empire and Japan, which were published as the "Goryeo Catalog of Sutras" (or "Goryeo Supplement to the Canon").

In his later life, Uicheon continued his long distance engagement with Song Dynasty scholars while also teaching Korean disciples. His legacy includes compilations such as "New Compilation of the Teachings of the Seon Sect" (신편제종교장총록), and "Songs and Trees of the Stone Garden" (석원사림), among others.


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