Woncheuk (613–696) was a Korean Buddhist monk who did most of his writing in China, though his legacy was transmitted by a disciple to Silla. One of the two star pupils of Xuanzang, his works and devotion to the translation projects was revered throughout China and Korea, even reaching Chinese rulers like Emperors Taizong and Gaozong of Tang and Empress Wu of Zhou.[1] His exegetical work was also revered and greatly influenced Tibetan Buddhism and the greater Himalayan region.

Revised RomanizationWoncheuk

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

The Zhengzhang Shangfang reconstruction of the Middle Chinese pronunciation of his name is 圓 /ziuᴇn/ 測 /ťʃʰɨk̚/.[2] Woncheuk (pinyin: Yuáncè) was also known as Chinese: 西明法師; pinyin: Xīmíng Fǎshī, which is a namesake attributed to the temple of the same name where he did his exegesis.


Korean born, he lived at Xi Ming Temple and studied at the commencement of the Tang dynasty with the great translator and exponent of Yogacara, the well-travelled Xuanzang. Through Xuanzang's tutelage, he focused upon the study of the Yogacara doctrine. Woncheuk authored commentaries on early Indian and Mahayana literature. Woncheuk died in China, in a temple in Loyang. Woncheuk is well known amongst scholars of Tibetan Buddhism and the Himalaya for his Commentary on the Saṃdhinirmocana sūtra. While in Tang China, Woncheuk took as a disciple a Korean-born monk named Dojeung (Chinese: 道證), who travelled to Silla in 692 and propounded and propagated Woncheuk's exegetical tradition there where it flourished.

Choo (2006: p. 125) holds that though the Heart Sutra is generally identified as within the auspice of the Second Turning of the Dharmacakra (Sanskrit), Woncheuk in his commentary provides an exegesis from the Third Turning:

Within the Mahāyāna doctrinal classification, the Heart Sūtra belongs to the Buddha's Second turning of the Wheel, the Emptiness period of Dharma, and most extant commentaries approach it from the perspective of the Mādhyamika doctrine of the Emptiness period (Chung, 1977:87). However, Wonch'uk interprets the Heart Sūtra from the Yogācāra perspective, and his Commentary therefore offers the reader a unique opportunity to examine the Mādhyamika doctrine of emptiness from the Yogācāra perspective.).[3]

Woncheuk contributed to the development of the Dharmic discourse of Essence-Function and Ekayāna.

Extant works

Choo (2006: p. 123) lists Woncheuk's three extant works, namely:

  • the Commentary on the Heart Sutra (traditional Chinese: 般若心經贊), which is the first commentary on Xuanzang's translation of the Heart Sutra
  • the Commentary on the Samdhinirmocana-sutra (traditional Chinese: 解深密經疏), which is the largest extant commentary on that sutra—called “the Great Chinese Commentary” by the eminent Vajrayana scholar Je Tsongkhapa
  • the Commentary on the Benevolent King Sutra (traditional Chinese: 仁王般若經疏).[4]


  1. ^ Benjamin Penny (2002), Religion and Biography in China and Tibet, p. 110
  2. ^ Wiktionary sv 圓 and 測
  3. ^ Choo, B. Hyun (2006). "An English Translation of the Banya paramilda simgyeong chan: Wonch'uk's Commentary on the Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita-hrdaya-sutra)." cited in: International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture February 2006, Vol. 6, pp. 121–205. 2006. International Association for Buddhist Thought & Culture. Source: [1] (accessed: Monday February 2, 2009), p. 125
  4. ^ Choo, B. Hyun (2006). "An English Translation of the Banya paramilda simgyeong chan: Wonch'uk's Commentary on the Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita-hrdaya-sutra)." cited in: International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture February 2006, Vol. 6, pp. 121–205. 2006. International Association for Buddhist Thought & Culture. Source: [2] (accessed: February 2, 2009), p. 123


  • Choo, B. Hyun (2006). "An English Translation of the Banya paramilda simgyeong chan: Wonch'uk's Commentary on the Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita-hrdaya-sutra)." cited in: International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture February 2006, Vol.6, pp. 121–205. 2006 International Association for Buddhist Thought & Culture. Source: [3] (accessed: February 2, 2009)
  • Chung, Byung Cho (1977). "Wonch'uk ui Banya Simgyeong Chan Yon-ku (The Study of Wonch'uk's Commentary on the Heart Sūtra)." The Journal of Korean Studies. No.9, Winter. Seoul: II Ji Sa.

Year 613 (DCXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 613 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 696 (DCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 696 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Chinese Buddhism

Chinese Buddhism or Han Buddhism has shaped Chinese culture in a wide variety of areas including art, politics, literature, philosophy, medicine, and material culture.

The translation of a large body of Indian Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and the inclusion of these translations together with works composed in China into a printed canon had far-reaching implications for the dissemination of Buddhism throughout the East Asian cultural sphere, including Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. Chinese Buddhism is also marked by the interaction between Indian religions, Chinese religion, and Taoism.

East Asian Yogācāra

East Asian Yogācāra (traditional Chinese: 唯識宗; ; pinyin: Wéishí-zōng; Japanese pronunciation: Yuishiki-shū; Korean: 법상종 "'Consciousness Only' school" or traditional Chinese: 法相宗; ; pinyin: Fǎxiàng-zōng; Japanese pronunciation: Hossō-shū; Korean: 유식종, "'Dharma Characteristics' school") refers to the traditions in East Asia which represent the Yogacara system of thought.

Heart Sutra

The Heart Sūtra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदय Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya or Chinese: 心經 Xīnjīng) is a popular sutra in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its Sanskrit title, Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, can be translated as "The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom".

The sutra famously states, "Form is empty" (śūnyatā). It is a condensed exposé on the Buddhist Mahayana teaching of the Two Truths doctrine, which says that ultimately all phenomena are sunyata, empty of an unchanging essence. This emptiness is a 'characteristic' of all phenomena, and not a transcendent reality, but also "empty" of an essence of its own. Specifically, it is a response to Sarvastivada teachings that "phenomena" or its constituents are real.The text has been translated into English dozens of times from Chinese, Sanskrit and Tibetan as well as other source languages.

Index of Korea-related articles (W)

This is a partial list of Korea-related topics beginning with W.


Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1948, it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

During the first half of the 1st millennium, Korea was divided between the three competing states of Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla, together known as the "Three Kingdoms of Korea". In the second half of the 1st millennium, Baekje and Goguryeo were conquered by Silla, leading to the "Unified Silla" period. Meanwhile, Balhae formed in the north following the collapse of Goguryeo. Unified Silla eventually collapsed into three separate states due to civil war, ushering in the Later Three Kingdoms. Toward the end of the 1st millennium Goryeo, which was a revival of Goguryeo, defeated the two other states and unified the Korean Peninsula as one single state. Around the same time, Balhae collapsed and its last crown prince fled south to Goryeo. Goryeo (also spelled as Koryŏ), whose name developed into the modern exonym "Korea", was a highly cultured state that created the world's first metal movable type in 1234. However, multiple invasions by the Mongol Empire during the 13th century greatly weakened the nation, which eventually agreed to become a vassal state after decades of fighting. Following military resistance under King Gongmin which ended Mongol political influence in Goryeo, severe political strife followed, and Goryeo eventually fell to a coup led by General Yi Seong-gye, who established Joseon in 1392.

The first 200 years of Joseon were marked by relative peace. During this period, the Korean alphabet was created by Sejong the Great in the 15th century and there was increasing influence of Confucianism. During the later part of the dynasty, Korea's isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname of the "Hermit Kingdom". By the late 19th century, the country became the object of imperial design by the Empire of Japan. After the First Sino-Japanese War, despite the Korean Empire's effort to modernize, it was annexed by Japan in 1910 and ruled by Imperial Japan until the end of World War II in August 1945.

In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea in the aftermath of World War II, leaving Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel. The North was under Soviet occupation and the South under U.S. occupation. These circumstances soon became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence. The Communist-inspired government in the North received backing from the Soviet Union in opposition to the pro-Western government in the South, leading to Korea's division into two political entities: North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea). Tensions between the two resulted in the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. With involvement by foreign troops, the war ended in a stalemate in 1953, but without a formalized peace treaty. This status contributes to the high tensions that continue to divide the peninsula. Both governments of the two Koreas claim to be the sole legitimate government of the region.

Later Silla

Later Silla (668–935, Hangul: 후신라; Hanja: 後新羅; RR: Husilla, Korean pronunciation: [huː.ɕil.la]) or Unified Silla (Hangul: 통일신라; Hanja: 統一新羅, Korean pronunciation: [tʰoːŋ.il.ɕil.la]) is the name often applied to the Korean kingdom of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, after it conquered Baekje and Goguryeo in the 7th century, unifying the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula. Later Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country, and its metropolitan capital of Seorabeol (modern name Gyeongju) was the fourth-largest city in the world at the time. During its heyday, the country contested with Balhae, a Goguryeo–Mohe kingdom, to the north for supremacy in the region. Throughout its existence, Later Silla was plagued by intrigue and political turmoil, mainly by the rebel groups in conquered Baekje and Goguryeo territories, leading to the Later Three Kingdoms period in the late 9th century.

Despite its political instability, Later Silla's culture and arts flourished. Through close ties maintained with the Tang dynasty, Buddhism and Confucianism became the principal philosophical ideologies of the elite as well as the mainstays of the period's architecture and fine arts. Its last king, Gyeongsun, ruled over the state in name only and submitted to Wang Geon of the emerging Goryeo kingdom in 935, bringing the Silla dynasty to an end.

Although traditionally considered the first unified Korean state, modern Korean historians argue that the subsequent Goryeo kingdom was in fact the first truly unified state of the Korean nation.

List of Buddhists

This is a list of notable Buddhists, encompassing all the major branches of the religion (i.e. in Buddhism), and including interdenominational and eclectic Buddhist practitioners. This list includes both formal teachers of Buddhism, and people notable in other areas who are publicly Buddhist or who have espoused Buddhism.

List of Korean philosophers

This is a sortable list of Korean philosophers.

List of Silla people

This is a partial list of people who lived in Silla, 57 BCE (traditional date) - 935 CE.

North–South States Period

North–South States Period (698–926 CE) is the period in Korean history when Later Silla and Balhae coexisted in the south and north of the peninsula, respectively.

Sandhinirmocana Sutra

The Ārya-saṃdhi-nirmocana-sūtra (Sanskrit; traditional Chinese: 解深密經; ; pinyin: Jiě Shēnmì Jīng; Tibetan: དགོངས་པ་ངེས་འགྲེལ༏, Wylie: dgongs pa nges 'grel Gongpa Ngédrel) or Noble sūtra of the Explanation of the Profound Secrets is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text and the most important sutra of the Yogācāra school. It contains explanations of key Yogācāra concepts such as the basis-consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna), and the doctrine of cognition-only (vijñapti-mātra) and the "three natures" (trisvabhāva). Étienne Lamotte considered this sutra "the link between the Prajñaparamita literature and the Yogacara Vijñanavada school".This sūtra was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese four times, the most complete and reliable of which is typically considered to be that of Xuanzang. It also was translated into Tibetan. The original Sanskrit text has not survived to the present day.

South Korea

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone and has a predominantly mountainous terrain. It comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of around 10 million.

Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period (2.6 Ma–300 Ka). The history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE by the mythic king Dangun, but no archaeological evidence and writing was found from this period. The Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in 11th century BCE, and its existence and role has been controversial in the modern era. The written historical record on Gojoseon (Old Joseon) was first mentioned in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in CE 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea (ROK), while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea.The Korean War began in June 1950 when forces from North Korea invaded South Korea. The war lasted three years and involved the U.S., China, the Soviet Union and several other nations. The border between the two nations remains the most heavily fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, and the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.

South Korea is a highly developed country and a high-income economy, with a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world. The country is considered a regional power and is the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 12th largest by PPP as of 2010. South Korea is a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer. Its export-driven economy primarily focuses production on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. South Korea is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, G20, the WTO and OECD and is a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit.

Timeline of Eastern philosophers

This is a wide-ranging alphabetical list of philosophers from the Eastern traditions of philosophy, with special interest in Indo-Chinese philosophy. The list stops at the year 1950, after which philosophers fall into the category of contemporary philosophy.

Ximing Temple

Ximing Temple (Chinese: 西明寺; pinyin: Ximing Si; Wade–Giles: Hsi-ming-ssu) was a famous temple in Chang'an, the capital of the Tang dynasty in Chinese history. Chang'an, current day Xi'an, was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, and a cosmopolitan metropolis. Ximing was established by Tang Gaozong in 656. It was at Ximing that pilgrim and traveller Xuanzang (602-664) had translated the scriptures he had brought back from India. Another traveller Yijing (635-713) also based himself at Ximing while working on translations of Indian scriptures. Indian scholar monk Shubhākarasimha, was responsible for the introduction of the Mahavairocana Sutra and the tantric traditions associated with it. Japanese monk, Kukai studied Sanskrit there under the tutelage of Gandharan pandit Prajñā (734-810?) who had been educated at the Indian Buddhist university at Nalanda. Ximing was celebrated for its library which was the most comprehensive library of Buddhist texts in China at the time. Woncheuk (613–696) (Chinese Yuáncè) was a Korean Buddhist monk, also known as Ximing Fashi (西明法师) after the name of this temple where he did most of his important work.


Xuanzang (; Chinese: 玄奘; pinyin: Xuánzàng; Wade–Giles: Hsüan-tsang [ɕɥɛ̌ntsâŋ]; fl. c. 602 – 664) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveller, and translator who travelled to India in the seventh century and described the interaction between Chinese Buddhism and Indian Buddhism during the early Tang dynasty. He is also known as Hiuen Tsang in history books of India.

During the journey he visited many sacred Buddhist sites in what are now Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh. He was born in what is now Henan province around 602, from boyhood he took to reading religious books, including the Chinese classics and the writings of ancient sages.

While residing in the city of Luoyang (in Henan in Central China), Xuanzang was ordained as a śrāmaṇera (novice monk) at the age of thirteen. Due to the political and social unrest caused by the fall of the Sui dynasty, he went to Chengdu in Sichuan, where he was ordained as a bhikṣu (full monk) at the age of twenty. He later travelled throughout China in search of sacred books of Buddhism. At length, he came to Chang'an, then under the peaceful rule of Emperor Taizong of Tang, where Xuanzang developed the desire to visit India. He knew about Faxian's visit to India and, like him, was concerned about the incomplete and misinterpreted nature of the Buddhist texts that had reached China.He became famous for his seventeen-year overland journey to India (including Nalanda), which is recorded in detail in the classic Chinese text Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which in turn provided the inspiration for the novel Journey to the West written by Wu Cheng'en during the Ming dynasty, around nine centuries after Xuanzang's death.


Yogachara (IAST: Yogācāra; literally "yoga practice"; "one whose practice is yoga") is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology emphasizing the study of cognition, perception, and consciousness through the interior lens of meditative and yogic practices. It is also variously termed Vijñānavāda (the doctrine of consciousness), Vijñaptivāda (the doctrine of ideas or percepts) or Vijñaptimātratā-vāda (the doctrine of 'mere vijñapti), which is also the name given to its major epistemic theory. There are several interpretations of this main theory, some scholars see it as a kind of Idealism while others argue that it is closer to a kind of phenomenology or representationalism.

According to Dan Lusthaus, this tradition developed "an elaborate psychological therapeutic system that mapped out the problems in cognition along with the antidotes to correct them, and an earnest epistemological endeavor that led to some of the most sophisticated work on perception and logic ever engaged in by Buddhists or Indians." The 4th century Indian brothers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, are considered the classic philosophers and systematizers of this school.It was associated with Indian Mahayana Buddhism in about the fourth century, but also included non-Mahayana practitioners of the Dārṣṭāntika school. Yogācāra continues to be influential in Tibetan Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism. However, the uniformity of a single assumed "Yogācāra school" has been put into question.

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