Pipe That Calms Ten Thousand Billows(万波息笛)

Pipe That Calms Ten Thousand Billows

Headword

만파식적 ( 万波息笛 , Manpasikjeok )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer KimHwakyung(金和經)

The legend of Manpasikjeok narrates the story of a magical bamboo pipe, which King Sinmun of Silla acquired from a dragon from the sea.

This legend belongs to the “gift narrative” type, about humans receiving a great treasure or divine being as gift. The type also includes the stories of Husband Yeono and Wife Seo, of Cheoyong, Boyang and Imok, and Geotaji.

Naval officer Bak Suk-cheong reported to King Sinmun that a small mountain was floating toward Gameun Temple. The court fortuneteller told the king that he was about to receive a great treasure from former kings Munmuwang and Kim Yu-sin who had now become the Dragon God (Yongsin) and Celestial God (Cheonsin), respectively. On the seventh day of that month, the king, as had been recommended by the fortuneteller, went to the coast and a messenger came back to report that the mountain had the shape of a turtle, with a bamboo stake on top, which split into two during the day and became one again at night. One the second night of the king’s stay at Gameun Temple, the two stakes became one as the earth and the sky rumbled with rain and gusts, remaining dark for seven days, and only on the sixteenth day of the month, the winds died down and the waves calmed. When the king approached the island on a boat, a dragon brought him a black stake of jade and said, “If you take this and make a pipe, the sounds of the pipe will bring peace to the all under the sky.” The king offered a donation of gold and jade, and the royal messenger broke the stake on the island and they left the sea. As soon as the king’s procession reached the palace, the king ordered that the stake be made into a pipe, which was kept at Cheonjongobang (Storage of the Divine Buddha) in Wolseong. When this pipe was played, enemies retreated, diseases were cured, rain came in times of drought, floods ceased, winds died and waves calmed, which made the pipe a national treasure and gave it the name Manpasikjeok (Pipe That Calms Ten Thousand Billows).

This legend originates from an ancient state ritual and is transmitted in recitations staged as part of the shamanic ritual yongsingut (dragon god ritual). From a religious perspective, the ritual is associated with Buddhism as state-protecting faith (hogukbulgyo), a uniquely Korean belief, combined with the worship of the dragon as an indigenous state protector. Politically, the legend depicts the events that surrounded domestic issues during King Sinmun’s reign and the establishment of the authenticity of Silla’s Kim dynasty. At the same time, the narrative reflects a Confucian political ideology of emphasizing ritual and music, and the development of new musical styles during Silla.

In conclusion, the legend of Manpasikjeok depicts the mystical experience of King Sinmun’s acquirement of a divine token, which can be interpreted as a cultural symbol that signifies Silla’s religion, ideology, politics and music following the unification of the Three Kingdoms. The legend thereby contributes to forming a comprehensive understanding of life in mid-Silla, during the reigns of King Munmu, King Sinmun and King Hyoso.

Pipe That Calms Ten Thousand Billows

Pipe That Calms Ten Thousand Billows
Headword

만파식적 ( 万波息笛 , Manpasikjeok )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer KimHwakyung(金和經)

The legend of Manpasikjeok narrates the story of a magical bamboo pipe, which King Sinmun of Silla acquired from a dragon from the sea.

This legend belongs to the “gift narrative” type, about humans receiving a great treasure or divine being as gift. The type also includes the stories of Husband Yeono and Wife Seo, of Cheoyong, Boyang and Imok, and Geotaji.

Naval officer Bak Suk-cheong reported to King Sinmun that a small mountain was floating toward Gameun Temple. The court fortuneteller told the king that he was about to receive a great treasure from former kings Munmuwang and Kim Yu-sin who had now become the Dragon God (Yongsin) and Celestial God (Cheonsin), respectively. On the seventh day of that month, the king, as had been recommended by the fortuneteller, went to the coast and a messenger came back to report that the mountain had the shape of a turtle, with a bamboo stake on top, which split into two during the day and became one again at night. One the second night of the king’s stay at Gameun Temple, the two stakes became one as the earth and the sky rumbled with rain and gusts, remaining dark for seven days, and only on the sixteenth day of the month, the winds died down and the waves calmed. When the king approached the island on a boat, a dragon brought him a black stake of jade and said, “If you take this and make a pipe, the sounds of the pipe will bring peace to the all under the sky.” The king offered a donation of gold and jade, and the royal messenger broke the stake on the island and they left the sea. As soon as the king’s procession reached the palace, the king ordered that the stake be made into a pipe, which was kept at Cheonjongobang (Storage of the Divine Buddha) in Wolseong. When this pipe was played, enemies retreated, diseases were cured, rain came in times of drought, floods ceased, winds died and waves calmed, which made the pipe a national treasure and gave it the name Manpasikjeok (Pipe That Calms Ten Thousand Billows).

This legend originates from an ancient state ritual and is transmitted in recitations staged as part of the shamanic ritual yongsingut (dragon god ritual). From a religious perspective, the ritual is associated with Buddhism as state-protecting faith (hogukbulgyo), a uniquely Korean belief, combined with the worship of the dragon as an indigenous state protector. Politically, the legend depicts the events that surrounded domestic issues during King Sinmun’s reign and the establishment of the authenticity of Silla’s Kim dynasty. At the same time, the narrative reflects a Confucian political ideology of emphasizing ritual and music, and the development of new musical styles during Silla.

In conclusion, the legend of Manpasikjeok depicts the mystical experience of King Sinmun’s acquirement of a divine token, which can be interpreted as a cultural symbol that signifies Silla’s religion, ideology, politics and music following the unification of the Three Kingdoms. The legend thereby contributes to forming a comprehensive understanding of life in mid-Silla, during the reigns of King Munmu, King Sinmun and King Hyoso.