Venerable Unho (1892-1980), whose common name was Lee, Hak Soo, was a patriot, Buddhist, translator of Tripitaka and educator. After fighting for Korea’s independence over 10 years in Manchuria, he became a Buddhist and educator, who founded and managed a school. Moreover.
This paper focuses on Venerable Unho’s fight against Japanese Occupation of Korea, among other achievements of his. Therefore, in the main body of this paper, he will be referred to as Lee Shi-Yeol, the name that he used during the independence movement. Lee Hak Soo was born 24 days after the birth of Lee Kwang Soo. Both men shared a hometown. They studied Chinese Characters together, lived in the same house at times and frequently interacted with each other. Venerable Unho and Lee Kwang Soo, therefore, were truly contemporaries.
Lee Hak Soo studied Chinese Characters at home until 17 and got married. Although he went to Dae Sung Middle School in Pyoung Yang after Japan colonized Korea in 1910, the school ceased operation due to Japanese repression. At this time, Lee Kwang Soo returned from Japan and started working as a teacher at Osan School in his hometown.
Lee Hak Soo changed his name into Lee Shi-Yeol while fighting for independence and worked as a teacher in Dong Chang School. When the 1919 Independence Movement broke out in Korea, he came back to the country to support the movement and ended up being chased by Japanese police.
While taking refuge at a Buddhist temple in Gang Won Province, Lee became a monk and changed his name to Park Yong Ha. After Yoo Jum Temple in Mt Gumgang, he stayed in Bong Sun Temple in Gwang Neung, Gyounggi-do, under Zen Master Wolcho.
Even after Lee became a monk, he never neglected his duty as an independent activist. In addition, while he was fleeing to Busan in 1956, just after Korean War, he co-wrote The History of Korean Independence Movement with Kim Sung Hak and others. Moreover, he published Korea’s first Buddhist dictionary.
This is similar to how Choon Won Lee Kwang Soo changed his involvement in independence movement after leaving the Interim Korean Government in Shanghai. The life of Choon Won as an independence activist is in fact completed in 1947 when he wrote a biography of Do San, Dosan An Chang-ho.
During the Korean War, Unho’s Son, Woo Geun, moved to North Korea, his wife passed away, and his daughter and son-in-law went missing. In the year after that, Bong Sun Temple and Kwang Dong Middle School, where he stayed, burned down due to bombings. He suddenly lost everything. Even in these extremely difficult times, he said “As I am still healthy, I will carry on.” From September 1946 till the end of the year, Choon Won and Lee Hak Soo stayed together in Bong Sun Temple as the Principal and a teacher. For four and a half years, including the period in Bong Sun Temple mentioned above, Unho and Choon Oon lived in Bong Sun Temple in Kwang Neung and Sa Reung, respectively, close to each other. The monument for Venerable Unho, who contributed to the popularization of Buddhism, and the literature monument for Choon Won, who was the leading figure in the history of Korean Modern Literature, are next to each other in front of Bong Sun Temple.