Seon (Korean: 선, pronociation: [sŏn]) is the Korean religious denomination of Chan Buddhism tradition and creed. A main feature of Seon Buddihism is a pattern of mediation, Ganhwa Seon, which practice Hwadu to attain enlightenment. This tradition of Ganhwa Seon now held for about 1000 years.
In Goryeo dynasty, Jinul made great influence on Korean buddhism. He was the first monk who was conferred as advising national teacher by the king, have wrote a book about presenting Seon tradition from Song dynasty. And this Seon tradition preserved well to this day, after Taego Bou brought his Dharma transmission to Goryeo.
Joseon dynasty suppressed buddhism to make an order of confucianism kingdom. Despite of the suppression, Hyujeong wrote about three religion(Seon Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism) in Joseon dynasty in Seon point of view. He also succeeded Dharma transmission. At Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98), Hyujeong and Yujeong was the ones who can actually offer guerrilla units of monks and diplomatic act.
Under Japan annexation, most of monks forced to marry and this lasted about 40 years until purification act. During those times, masters like Gyoengheo and Mangong kept Dharma transmission alive.
21th centry, the few left this Dharma transmission. "남진제 북송담'(南眞際 北松潭) (Jinje to the south, Songdam to the north)." is well-known phrase in korean seon tradition these days. Others are Seungsahn, Daewon.
Spread to the USA
Korean Seon has been spread in the USA by Seungsahn. He was a temple abbot in Seoul and after living in Hong Kong and Japan, he moved to the US in 1972, not speaking any English. On the flight to Los Angeles, a Korean American passenger offered him a job at a laundry in Providence, Rhode Island, which became headquarters of Seung Sahn's Kwan Um School of Zen. Shortly after arriving in Providence, he attracted students and founded the Providence Zen Center. The Kwan Um School has more than 100 Zen centers on six continents. Kyong Ho
Another Korean Zen teacher, Samu Sunim, founded Toronto's Zen Buddhist Temple in 1971. He is head of the Buddhist Society for Compassionate Wisdom, which has temples in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Mexico City, and New York City.
In the early 20th century, Master Kyongho (1849–1912), re-energized Korean Seon. At the end of World War II, his disciple, Master Mann Gong (1871–1946), proclaimed that lineage Dharma should be transmitted worldwide to encourage peace through enlightenment. Consequently, his Dharma successor, Hye Am (1884–1985) brought lineage Dharma to the United States. Hye Am's Dharma successor, Myo Vong founded the Western Son Academy (1976), and his Korean disciple, Pohwa Sunim, founded World Zen Fellowship (1994) which includes various Zen centers in the United States, such as the Potomac Zen Sangha, the Patriarchal Zen Society and the Baltimore Zen Center.