IntroPo-eun, also known as Mong Ju-chung, was a well-known scholar, poet, and faithful public servant for the King during the Koryo Dynasty who advocated loyalty to the Koryo Dynasty against the usurpers.
Po-eun’s lifeJeong Mong-ju was born in Yeongcheon, in the Gyeongsang province to a family from the Yeonil Jeong clan. At the age of 23, he took three different national qualifying examinations, which were used to select public servants, and received the highest scores on all three. Po-eun participated in various national projects because the king had so much confidence in his wide knowledge and good judgment. In 1367, he became an instructor in Neo-Confucianism at the Gukjagam, then called Songgyungwan. From time to time, he also visited Japan and China as a diplomat for the king and was most knowledgeable about human behavior.
In 1372, Jeong Mong-ju visited the Ming Dynasty, as a diplomatic envoy. Around this time, waegu (Japanese pirate) invasions to the Korean Peninsula were extreme, so Jeong Mong-ju was dispatched as a delegate to Kyūshū in Japan, in 1377. His negotiations led to promises of Japanese aid in defeating the pirates. He traveled to the Ming Dynasty's capital city in 1384 and the negotiations with the Chinese led to peace with Ming Dynasty in 1385. Jeong Mong-ju also founded an institute devoted to the theories of Confucianism and was a pioneer in the field of physics.
Jong Mong-ju held the highest civil post in Koryo. Ri Song-gye, the first King of the Ri Dynasty, tried to win him over to his side, but Jong refused to betray the Koryo Dynasty. After Ri Song-gye was injured after falling from his horse during hunting, Jong Mong-ju tried to have him killed but failed.
Later Ri Song-gye invited Jong to his house trying to convince him again to betray his lord. Yi Bang-won recited a poem (Hayeoga) to dissuade Jeong Mong-ju from remaining loyal to the Koryo court However, Jong answered with a poem (Dansimga) that affirmed his loyalty:
Even if, I may die, die a hundred times, Even if my skeleton may become dust and dirt, And whether my spirit may be there or not, My single-hearted loyalty to the lord will not change.
It was then that Ri Song-gye realized he would never be able to convince Jong to come to betray the Koryo Dynasty.
Po-eun’s deathOn the night of April 4, 1392, after a banquet held to honor him, Jeong Mong-ju was assassinated on the Sonjuk Bridge in Gaeseong by five men using an iron hammer. The murder was ordered by Yi Bang-won (later Taejong of Joseon), the fifth son of Yi Seong-gye, who overthrew the Goryeo Dynasty in order to establish the Joseon Dynasty. Yi Seong-gye is said to have lamented Jeong Mong-ju's death and rebuked his son because Jeong Mong-ju was a highly regarded politician by the common people. Ri Song-gye succeeded in usurping the throne in July 1392.
The 474-year-old Koryo Dynasty symbolically ended with Jeong Mong-ju's deat and was followed by the Joseon Dynasty for 505 years (1392-1897). Jeong Mong-ju's noble death symbolizes his faithful allegiance to the king, and he was later venerated even by Joseon monarchs. In 1517, 125 years after his death, he was canonized into Sungkyunkwan (the National Academy) alongside other Korean sages. such as Yi Hwang (Toy-gye, 1501-1570) and Yi I (Yul-gok, 1536-1584).
Po-eun monumentsSonjuk Bridge where Jeong Mong-ju was murdered is now in North Korea and has now become a national monument of that country. The is located about 1 km east of Nam Gate, being situated at the south foot of Mt. Janam, which rises from the city center. The small stone bridge dates from 1216. Later a bamboo grew up beside the bridge, and from that, the bridge got his name. At first, it was called Sonji but it was renamed as Sonjuk after his death remembering his "loyalty." A brown spot on one of the stones is said to be Jeong Mong-ju's bloodstain and is said to become red when it rains. In 1780, the bridge was closed for all traffic and since then it has become a monument. Near the bridge are the Songin Monument, Kuksa Monument, Hama Monument, and Phyochung Monument.
The Songin Monument was built in 1641 in commendation of Jong Mong-ju for his "loyalty." The Kuksa Monument was erected in memory of the horse driver who died along with Jong Mong-ju. The Hama Monument was erected to Jong Mong-ju; all riders should dismount their horses as they pass the monument.
Opposite Sonjuk Bridge is the Pyonchung Pavilion. Inside the pavilion, there are two huge stelae (stone tablets) on the backs of stone turtles. One stele was erected in 1740 by king Yon-gjo, the other in 1872 by king Ko-jong. Both commemorate the conviction and execution of Jong Mong-ju and confirm his loyalty to the ruling dynasty, thereby paradoxically confirming the decaying of the Ri Dynasty. Behind them is the Sungyang Lecture Hall at the location where Jong Mong-ju had lived.
Pattern movementsNumber of movements: 36
Diagram of movements
The straight line ( — ) of the diagram represents Po-eun's unerring loyalty to the king.
Pattern performanceThere are numerous videos and explanations of the pattern movements available on the internet that show how to perform the pattern in the way preferred by your instructor, school, or organization. The following is an example of the ITF way to perform the pattern.