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Jongmyo Jerye and Jongmyo Jeryeak   |  Pansori   |  Gangneung Danoje   |  Ganggangsullae   | Namsadang Nori   | Yeongsanjae   |  Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut   |  Cheoyongmu
Yeongsanjae
The Yeongsanjae is performed to help all beings and spirits enter into the world of truth, by worshipping and admiring the Buddha, Buddha’s law and monks. It is the highest and biggest ritual utilized by Korean Buddhists to represent the world of Buddha here and now and is based on the philosophy of the Lotus Sutra. It is also a means for meditation and training.

The order of a Yeongsanjae performance is as follows:
1. Reception Ritual (siryeon): The purpose here is to receive all the saints and spirits of heaven and earth with the guidance of the Soul-Guiding Bodhisattva so that the ritual can be performed in a holy way.

2. Spirit Reception (daeryeong): The masters of the ritual are the spirits, dead and alive, i.e., all people. Dead spirits are invited to the ritual, while those present at the ritual are told why it is being performed and given the directions they should follow, based on the Buddha’s Law. Families of the deceased dedicate food and liquor as an expression of their love and respect for the dead.

3. Cleansing of the Dirt (gwanyok): This is the ritual to cleanse the three karmas of the spirits that have accepted invitation so as to facilitate the achievement of serenity.

4. Donation of Money (Jojeon Jeoman): “Jojeon” means money that can be used in the nether world, and “jeoman” means to endow money with value. The necessity of money is to awaken us to the fact that our life is maintained by material blessings from the outside.

5. Tea Donation (Sinjung Jakbeop): A tea ceremony is dedicated to all the saintly spirits invited with the hope that the ritual will be performed well.

6. Reception of Buddha (Gwaebul Iun): Sakyamuni Buddha, the master of the ritual and who will preach on the Lotus Sutra, and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are received according to the Law of Buddhism.

7. Dedication of Rice Meal (Sangdan Gwongong): With the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas invited, a rice meal is dedicated. In this ritual, wishes are made that, with the merciful help of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, all beings will obtain happiness and that the light of truth lit by Buddha will shine over the world of suffering.

8. Sermon (Beopmun): A monk in place of Buddha reconfirms the purpose of the ceremony, presenting concrete ways to realize that purpose. The monk delivers a sermon in which the audience is invited to the door of truth.

9. Meal Ritual (Sikdang Jakbeop): This ritual meal is intended not for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but for the monks attending the ceremony. However, symbolically, it is for all beings in this universe, and through this service a foundation is laid for becoming a Buddha.

10. Blessing Ritual (Jungdan Gwongong): All of the saintly beings attending the ritual are asked to help ensure a good performance of the ritual. It also asks for blessings on all those present at the ritual.

11. Meal for the Dead Ritual (Sisik): Since the attendees are fortunate to be listening to the words of Buddha and since all rejoice that the dead have all gone to heaven, a happy rather than sorrowful ritual is performed for the departed to celebrate and congratulate themselves on going to heaven.

12. Farewell Ritual (Bongsong & Sodae Baesong): At the opening of the ritual, all beings were politely received with chants, so likewise, they should be given a proper farewell. The farewell is the final step in affecting the deceased’s final destination.
 
Since Yeongsanjae was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage by the state in 1973, it has been under national protection. In 1987, when the Yeongsanjae Preservation Association was officially established, it started to perform activities to ensure its transmission.
The Yeongsanjae has been transmitted by the Taego Order, a Korean Buddhist order. Based at Bongwonsa Temple, the Taego Order maintains the tradition of Buddhist rituals and as such, most of the transmitters are monks of the Taego Order. Currently, Monk Kim In-sik (Buddhist name: Guhae) is the primary Yeongsanjae expert in terms of Buddhist music, following the ranks of Jigwang, Byeokeung, Songam, and Ileung. Assisting Kim are Ma Myeong-chan, Lee Su-gil, Oh Chan-yeong, Lee Byeong-u, Lee Jo-won and Han Hui-ja, who are all trainers in Buddhist music and dance or making the ornamental paper flowers for the ritual.
A total of 240 transmitters are leading the Yeongsanjae Preservation Association. Until 2006, Bongwonsa Temple held a Yeongsanjae ritual for the public on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. In order to encourage more people to participate in the ritual, it is now held on Memorial Day, a national holiday which falls on June 6.

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