Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Korean Creation Story & Dangun

Long, long ago at the beginning of time the great celestial father "Hwan-in" (환인) gave permission for his son "Hwan-oong" (환웅) to visit earth where a few thousand people lived in poverty, died of diseases and had bad characters.

While there he was approached by two animals, a bear and a tiger, who beseeched him, "Please, oh venerable sir, change us into humans." Hwan-oong felt this was very praiseworthy, but since earth already had flawed humans, he decided to test their characters. Grabbing a handful of garlic cloves, he told them, "I have heard your supplications, and your true heart will be revealed with these garlic cloves. Go into a cave and eat garlic for food, and for 100 days you must not come out or see the light if you wish to achieve your heart's desire."

Both the bear and the tiger entered the cave and endeavored to do as the son of the celestial father had directed them. However, the tiger craved sunlight and the garlic was not at all to his liking, and endurance was beyond him so he rushed out of the cave ... and the weak, grasping nature of the tiger has been forever revealed. The bear, however, patiently persevered, and after the 100 days, its heart's desire was achieved for it became changed into a beautiful maiden of good and pure character.

Unfortunately, the maid was alone and she made her own supplications. Her heart's desire was to give birth to a son. Hwan-oong heard her supplications and seeing her beauty and her gentle character, married her and soon they became parents of a strong baby boy, who they named "Dangun-prince" (단군왕검).

And Dangun-prince grew in strength and power. He married and had children who became the forefathers of the people of the Korean peninsula. And there on the peninsula the great Dangun-prince founded the great legacy of blood and the nation of "Gojoseon" (고조선).

And thus is the story of the founding of the united Koreas.

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