Eicheon, the State Preceptor Daegak, was born as the 4th prince to to King Munjong and Queen Inhye in the Goryeo Dynasty in 1055. His last name is Hu(煦), his first name is Eicheon(義天), and the State Preceptor Daegak is his posthumous name.
When he was 11 years old, King Munjong, his father called his several brothers and asked them who would be a Buddhist. Then, young Hu became a Buddhist from the royal palace by making Gyeongdeokguksa, his teacher, in 1065 as he wanted. He received Upasampada in Burilsa Temple on October of the same year while he was studying in Yeongtongsa Temple. After that, He got to give lectures instead of Gyeongdeokguksa, his teacher, when he died by devoting himself to his studies. He was famous because these lectures were very great.
Monk Eicheon wanted to study in the Song Dynasty. But the king who concerned
about his safety did not allow him to go to the Song Dynasty. By 1085, Monk Eicheon
finally went studied abroad leaving a letter to the king and his mother. After that,
Monk Eicheon learned various kinds of Buddhology, discussed them, and exchanged a lot
of learned priests of many orders.
Monk Eicheon who made profession of enhancing Tiantai teaching and learning widely when returning to his own country from Tiantai Mt. went back to it by following his mother's wish. Monk Eicheon asked the King and Queen to forgive studying abroad as soon as he arrived in his own country, but the royal family gae him a grand welcome.
대The State Preceptor Daegak brought more than 3,000 Buddhist books when he returned to his own country, read all kinds of Buddhist studies of the Song Dynasty, and organized Tiantai thought. Meanwhile, he trained disciples and conducted more intensive studies by exchanging the friends who he made in the Song Dynasty. He edited three volumes of the first Sinpyeon-jejong-gyojang-chongrok that prepared lists of Jangsoman(장소만), the commentary of Three Practices of Gyeongryulron(경율론) with the original copies when he was a chief Buddhist monk in Heungwangsa Temple. After that, Gyojangdogam(교장도감) in Heungwangsa Temple published 'Goryeosokjang(고려속장)' based on these lists.
The State Preceptor Daegak preached Tiantai thought becoming the first chief Buddhist monk as Gukcheongsa Temple was completed in 1097. More than 1,000 persons gathered at that time. Then, Tiantai Buddhism was first held in history of Buddhism. However, the State Preceptor Daegak passed away at the age of 47 on August, 1101 getting a disease.
The State Preceptor Daegak made a great contribution to promotion and development
of Korean Buddhism. Among them, rebuilding Tiantai Buddhism is very meaningful at
the state level beyond the religious group. Religious orders' confrontation and struggle
had a bad impact on people as well as the Buddhist community in the Silla Dynasty as non-Zen
Buddhism was in conflict with Zen Buddhism.
The State Preceptor Daegak tried to establish the right idea by correcting confused Buddhism in the Goryeo Dynasty and rebuilt Tiantai Buddhism to for a good and right tradition. He solved disputes by combining Seon Study with teaching and learning and pursued the reunification of Buddhism by uniting all kinds of philosophy, faith, and teaching and learning.
Monk Eichon left a lot of writing of more than 300 volumes, but most of them disappeared. And now, there have been the three volumes of Sinpyeon-jejong-gyojang-chongrok (新編諸宗敎藏總錄), the collection of the State Preceptor Daegak works, Books with missing pages of the collection of the State Preceptor Daegak works, Wonjongmulryu (圓宗文類), the remained volumes of Seokwonsarim (釋苑詞林), and the preface of Ganjeongyusikrondangwa (刊定成唯識論單科).