본문 바로가기
  • Home

Buddhist Monks’ Bangnap in Early Joseon

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2023, (150), pp.5-50
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : May 14, 2023
  • Accepted : June 1, 2023
  • Published : June 30, 2023

Lee Byunghee 1

1한국교원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Buddhist monks engaged in very active Bangnap activities amid the considerable withdrawal of the Buddhist temple economy in the first half of Joseon. This study focused its review on Bangnap granted by the government to Buddhist monks rather than Bangnap they personally did. One was entitled to Bangnap only when he had the ability to procure goods. Buddhist monks had the ability. As Buddhist temples were the subject of economic activities, Buddhist monks possessed considerable information about all kinds of goods, engaged in commerce themselves in many cases, and had substantial personal wealth. Granted the Bangnap permit, Buddhist monks and organizations carried out different jobs including making and distributing roof tiles, building the Suryuksa, making the inner and outer coffins, taking out books, publishing Buddhist scriptures, and relieving starving people(the four major Wons: Hwalinwon, Itaewon, Bojeowon, and Hongjewon). These works held huge significance in society, and the government decided to offer Buddhist monks the Bangnap privilege and had them pay for the costs with profit. Buddhist monks accepted these duties based on the premise of technological power, labor force, and mercy. The list of their Bangnap goods included firewood, straw mats, charcoal, lumber, Saengchu, and iron. Many of the items were available in forests, and the list of the Bangnap items contained no goods related to animals. Buddhist monks personally visited villages and collected high Bangnap prices after their Bangnap works were over. The prevalence of Bangnap was directly connected to the increased burden of the people, and it should not be neglected. The government tried to set reasonable Bangnap prices and forbade Buddhist monks to collect them themselves, reducing the Bangnap of Buddhist monks itself. Byeolwayo was abolished in the second year of King Danjong’s reign, and the construction of Suryuksa in Jingwan Buddhist Temple was ended in the first year of his reign. Bangnap for roof tile production and the construction of Suryuksa was no longer during the reign of King Sejo. Guihuso and Gyoseogwan were reorganized in the ninth and twelfth year of King Sejo’s reign, respectively, thus excluding Buddhist monks. The four major Wons were all banned on Bangnap except for Hongjewon in the ninth year of King Sejo’s reign. The Bangnap of Buddhist monks reached its peak from the middle of King Sejong’s reign to the reign of King Munjong and weakened considerably during the reign of King Sejo. There was a total ban on Bangnap during the reign of King Yejong. Bangnap was implemented with Buddhist monks hardly participating in it during the reign of King Seongjong. The extinction of Buddhist monks’ Bangnap activities represented the decline of religious economy and the sharp rise of secular economy.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.