Jeonkang Youngsin (1898-1974)
Son Master Jeonkang was born on November 16, 1898 in the village of Daejangli in the county of Ibmyon in the city of Koksong in Jeollanam-do Province.
His father’s name was Jong Haeyong and his mother’s name was Hwang Kyesu.
When he was sixteen years old, son Master Jeonkang ordained at Haeinsa monastery with Inkong Sunim as his Master of Attainment, Jesan Sunim as his Master Benefactor, and Unghae Sunim as his Master Preceptor.
Son Master Jeonkang was engaged in scriptural studies when a fellow junior monk fell violently ill and died.
Shocked by his peer’s sudden death, Son Master Jeonkang realized the impermanence of human existence, cut off his academic studies, and entered the meditation halls for intensive meditative practice.
He attained enlightenment at the age of 23.
Thereafter he sought out the six great masters of his time, the son Masters Hyewol, Hyebong, Hanam, Yongsong, Bowol, and Mankong.
He engaged all of them in “Dharma contention,” a method used by son masters to test one another’s depth of insight and wisdom.
Each of the six masters transmitted inka, that is public acknowledgement of spiritual attainment, to Son Master Jeonkang.
When he was twenty-five years old, Son Master Jeonkang received Dharma transmission from Son Master Mankong, making him the designated heir to Son Master Mankong’s spiritual legacy.
At the surprisingly young age of 33, Son Master Jeonkang was invited to assume the leadership position of josil, which is the spiritual master, at the Bokwang Son Center of Tongdosa in Bulchaldaebonsan.
Josil literally means “ancestral chamber” and refers to the one qualified to inhabit the room reserved for direct spiritual descendants of the Buddha.
Son Master Jeonkang went on to assume the position of josil at Bokcheon Son Center in Bopjusa, Sudo Son Center in North Kyongsang province, Mangwolsa in Dobongsan, Bomeosa in Busan, Donghwasa in Taegu, as well as other places.
In his final years, Son Master Jeonkang was josil for Mumunkwan son Center at Chonchuksa, Bobbo (the Dharma Treasure) Son Center at Yonghwasa, and Jungang Son Center for Yongjusa.
On January 13, 1975 he left his last words “How is life and death a big problem? 9 time 9 is 81. “ and passed away at Yonghwasa.
He was 77 years old, having lived as a monk for 61 years.
Son Master Jeonkang left behind over 700 audio recordings of his Dharma Discourses which continue to be actively used today.