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Korean Buddhism and the Jogye Order  

Jogye Principles and Organization

The Jogye Order takes the teachings of the Buddha Sakyamuni as its basis and its principles are transmissional Seon, realization of Buddha nature, and propagation. The order relies on the Diamond Sutra as a guiding text and though sutra study, chanting and devotional practices are integrated into the program, the most important and widely known practice is hwadu meditation.
The Jogye Order has its own constitution based on the Buddhist Dharma and discipline. The charter set out at the monks¡¯ Conference in 1929 stands as a model for the modern constitution which came into being on April 10, 1994. The administrative organization of the Jogye Order includes a Supreme Patriarch or Spiritual Leader, the highest authority in transmitting the order's traditions; a President who overseas administration of the order; a Central Directorate for Religious Affairs comprised of an Administrative Headquarters, a Bureau of Education, and a Bureau of Missionary Activities; a Central Council, the legislative organ, and a Board of Adjudication, the legal organ.
According to 2003 statistics released by the government, 53.9 percent of the Korean population claimed religious affiliation with Buddhism, Protestantism or Catholicism accounting for 97.5 percent of believers. Of these, about 12 million, or about 47 percent were Buddhist. Currently there are 25 Buddhist orders belonging to the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders, among which the Jogye Order is the largest.
There are 25 nationwide districts that include more than 3,000 branch temples and Buddhist centers. Of the 870 traditional temples in Korea which are recognized, preserved and supported by the government, more than 90 percent, or 840, belong to the Jogye Order; these temples house more than 65 percent of Korea's designated National Treasures and Local Treasures. In addition, there are 90 Seon meditation monasteries. More than 2,000 of the 12,000 ordained Buddhists participate in the intensive three-month winter and summer meditation retreats at these meditation facilities. There are also some 1,500 monastics attending the 17 colleges operated by the order nationwide.
The order runs extensive programs for lay people. Every temple has training and teaching programs and many lay Buddhists play active daily roles in the temple management, administration and life in general. There are different kinds of retreats for children, teenagers, young adults and the older generation. The support and participation of the laity is absolutely essential to the running of temples and of the order because it is their dedicated in-put which gives monastics time to practice and teach.

Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

Jogye Order is the representative order of traditional Korean Buddhism with roots that go all the way back 1,200 years to Unified Silla National Master Doui, who brought Seon and the practice taught by the Sixth Patriarch, Huineng, from China about 820 C.E. In 826, the "Nine Mountains of Seon" adopted the name "Jogye-jong" and all were instrumental in the development of the nation during Unified Silla and thereafter.
During Goryeo, National Masters Bojo Jinul and Taego Bou led major Seon movements. The Jogye Order was thus established as the representative Seon order until the persecution of the Joseon Dynasty.
For nearly 500 years, however, Buddhism was repressed in favor of Confucianism. During the reign of Joseon King Sejong (r. 1418-1450), two sects were formed, one of all the doctrinal schools and another of all the Seon schools. These were then temporarily disbanded under the reign of King Yonsangun (r. 1494-1506), resulting in great confusion. However, during the Hideyoshi invasions of the late 15th century, National Masters Seosan and Samyeong raised armies that protected the nation which improved the situation of Buddhism for a time. However it was not until the political reforms of 1895 that monks were permitted in the cities again. Then in 1899, under the leadership of Seon Master Gyeongheo (1849-1912), monks petitioned from Haeinsa Temple to reestablish the traditions and the philosophical basis for a reconstructed Buddhist order. Eventually, the Wonjong and Imjejong (Linji) orders were founded, and attempts were made to revive the doctrinal schools and to reestablish activities in the cities, but these movements were soon suppressed following the Japanese Occupation in 1910.
Leading resistance and liberation fighters against the occupying forces included such famous monks as Yongsong and Manhae, and efforts continued to keep Korean Buddhist traditions alive. In 1921 the Sonhakwon Seon Meditation Center was established and in 1929, a Monks¡¯ Conference of Joseon Buddhism was held. In 1937, a movement for the establishment of a Central Headquarters began which was successful with the building of the Main Buddha Hall of Jogyesa Temple in Seoul in 1938. Finally in 1941 the Joseon Buddhism Jogye Order which was distinctly Korean and free from Japanese influence, was established. This was the first legal Buddhist order in modern Korea and the precursor of today's Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
Following liberation from Japan in 1945, Seon monks who had preserved and cherished Korean Buddhist traditions began a purification drive to re-establish the traditional celibate orders and take back the temples from married monk, a remnant of the Japanese Occupation. Finally, in 1955 the Jogye Order was established centered around celibate monks; however, as a result of mediation between the elder monks and the government, already-married monks were also included.
On April 11, 1962 Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism was officially established with three main goals: training and education; sutra translation into Korean from Chinese characters; and propagation. These goals continue to guide the Jogye Order today as well. It was in 1947-1949 that a group of monks at Bongamsa Temple began a movement advocating "Living According to the Teachings of the Buddha" and this provided the opportunity for the establishment of fundamental principles and traditions as well as the accepted ceremonies of the order.

History of Buddhism in Korea

Buddhism was adopted as the official state religion in the Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje kingdoms during the Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C.E. – 668 C.E.), and the Unified Silla kingdom(668-935) succeeded in applying Buddhism as the psychological force for the unification of the peninsula. During the Unified Silla Period, Buddhism played a preeminent role in cultural development, resulting in the construction of such world-renowned historical sites as Bulguksa Temple and Sokguram Grotto. In addition, the world's earliest known printing using woodblocks for the Mugujeonggwang Dharani followed by the first metal type print for the Jikjisimcheyojeol(Jikji in short), a Buddhist sutra, at Heungdeoksa Temple (in today¡¯s city of Cheongju) attest the advanced development of the culture. Pre-dating Guttenberg by 78 years, the text was printed in 1377 C.E. and it is currently in the possession of the French National Library. It was designated a UNESCO ¡°Memory of the World¡± in 2001. The sutra is an outline of Buddhist teachings necessary for spiritual development as well as indications as to how to pass on the Dharma, including religious songs, chanting, engravings, writings, glossaries of technical terms, and Seon verbal combat.
During the Unified Silla Period, the teachings of Chan (known as Zen in Japanese and Seon in Korean) were brought from China and led to the development of a Seon order, thereby adding another dimension to philosophical advance and eventually providing a psychological foundation for the post-Silla period, the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).
Goryeo, too, adopted Buddhism and it became a unifying factor and the grounds for further national and cultural flourishing. In particular, Goryeo followed the teachings of Unified Silla National Monk Doseon (827-898) and had temples built on famous mountains around the nation, adding further impetus to the dissemination of the Dharma. Also during Goryeo, the Tripitaka Koreana was carved into more than 80,000 woodblocks as an offering for national protection from outside forces and invasion, and Buddhism gave birth to such creative national festivals as the P'algwanhoe and the Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival).
During Goryeo, the number of Buddhist orders diversified and flourished. However, the increasing economic and political influence of the monks led to condemnation by the common people, and, ignored by the aristocracy, Buddhism came into a period of political repression with the ensuing Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
During Joseon, Neo-Confucianism rapidly gained favor, and although royalty continued to practice Buddhism privately, Confucianism ruled administration and society. Under a continuing policy of repression, Buddhism was banished to the mountains and monks were generally treated harshly. However, this banishment proved to be quite valuable to Buddhism in two respects: the temples became centers for the communal flourishing of Seon practice, and Buddhism established strong bonds with the common people.
During the first half of the 20th century, Korean Buddhism necessarily fell under the influence of Japanese Buddhism during the Japanese Occupation (1910-1945). It was only after liberation in 1945 that traditional Korean Buddhism could once again be established in the form of Korean Seon and that the Jogye Order to once more come to the fore.

Korean Seon

Dongangeo

Meditaion Practice

A meditation monastery or center is the place for monastics to practice Korean Seon, or meditation. For a time, monks sever all ties with the outside world and concentrate on discovering their Original Nature through this practice. During the intensive 3-month meditation retreats in the summer and winter, the monks practice hard and in between these retreats, the monks have 3 months to ¡°float like the clouds and flow like water,¡± although nowadays many monks continue their meditation efforts all year long. These 3-month retreats, which date back to the time of the Buddha Sakyamuni, are one of the strong points of Jogye Order Buddhism.
At the Zen centers, monks arise at either 2 or 3 am to the crack of the bamboo clapper and perform three prostrations of homage. During the rest of the day, except for mealtime and group work time, the monks immerse themselves in meditation until either 9 or 11 pm, depending on the temple¡¯s own regulations.
There are three types of meditation sessions: the regular daily schedule is 8-10 hours; the additional practice sessions of 12-14 hours; and ¡°ferocious¡± meditation periods of 18 hours or more. In general, most temples have one month of this ¡°ferocious¡± meditation. Other forms of meditation include sitting for at least 3 months, and sometimes even years, without lying down; and ¡°no door¡± meditation, when the practitioner will go into a solitary cell or cave for months or even years without ever coming out until enlightened.

Hwadu

Korea is the only nation where the traditional meditation using hwadu (usually translated as ¡°head of speech¡± which means ¡°true speech¡±) is generally practiced. Used by many enlightened masters of the past, the practitioner endeavors to suspend logical thinking so that the Original Nature becomes clear through a direct transmission from mind to mind. As we are all Buddha by nature, it is only necessary to clear away ignorance and delusions for our true nature to come forward.
The hwadu distinguishes three dimensions of practice. These are: a great root of faith, a great ball of doubt and a great tenacity of purpose or determination. Faith in the process leads to the necessary inspiration to begin practice, continuing doubt in any intermediary ¡°results¡± allowing the practitioner to continue maintained by determination to attain clear understanding.
It is reported that some become enlightened just by hearing such words. Most practitioners, however, take a hwadu and work with it constantly. And since the riddle cannot be solved with logical thining or words, any type of attempt to apply reason ends in failure. The process of working with a hwadu is one of having it permeate the entire being of the practitioner, both body and spirit, and so working with it constantly and fervently.

History of Korean Seon

The founder of the first Jogye Order, National Master Doui, received transmission from the Chinese monk Xitang Zhizhang in the lineage of the Sixth Patriarch of Zen, Huineng. "Jogye" is the Korean pronunciation of Mt. Ts¡¯aochi where Huineng resided showing the great veneration that the Sixth Patriarch is held in by the Jogye Order. In the Goryeo Dynasty, National Master Pojo Chinul established Suseonsa Temple – the forerunner of today's Songgwangsa Temple – in which meditative and doctrinal schools were integrated into one system. There he introduced hwadu meditation practice which was later promoted by National Master Taego Pou as the main Korean form of meditation.
Despite the Joseon Dynasty's severe repression of Buddhism, such Zen masters as Cheongheo Hyujeong and Buhyu Seonsu continued the transmission of the hwadu tradition.
In the early 20th century, the tradition was continued by Masters Gyeongheo Seongwoo and Yongseong Jinjong who played vital roles in bringing new life to the meditation tradition. With a virtual end to organized Zen meditation in China during the latter half of the 20th century, Korea has become widely recognized as the country which preserves the Zen tradition of seeking enlightenment through the use of koan (K: hwadu). As a result, people from different countries have taken ordination in the Jogye Order, and Korea has become justifiably proud of its growing worldwide reputation.

Monastic Practice

Education

Monastics of the Jogye Order receive a number of educational programs. These fall into the categories of basic, standard, special or re-education; not all are required. All ordained members must complete the standard education program, after which they receive their full precepts (250 for men, 348 for women). After 10 years of steady practice, they can take the 3rd Class examination which entitles the successful candidates to be in-charge of a temple.
In addition to the basic and standard educational program, the order has a number of special programs, which include deeper philosophy, analysis of the precepts as well as programs to foster such monastic resources as translators and lecturers. There are also programs giving monastics a chance to develop in a variety of fields in cultural as
well as artistic subjects.

 
Educational Phase
Period
Precepts
Title
Qualifications
Facility
Examinations, Qualifications
Apprentice
at least 5 months
Three Refuges, Five Precepts
Apprentice
shaved head, novice clothing
Branch Temple, Main Temple
Apprentice
Basic Education Facility
3-5 weeks
Novice Precepts
Apprentice
More than 5 months of apprentice practice
Education Center
5th Class Examination, Certification
 
Standard Education
4 years
Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni
Novice
Finish Basic Education
Traditional College, Central Sangha College, Dongguk Buddhist University, Meditation Centers
4th Class Examination, Certification


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Life

At 3 am every day, the elegant, resonant sounds of the wooden moktak followed by the bell, drum, wooden fish and gong call the monastics to rise and begin the day. The monks gather in the Main Buddha Hall for the morning chanting and then meditate until the morning meal offering at 6 am. After the meal, the monks work as a team to clean the temple grounds.
Monks then proceed to their respective practice halls for meditation or sutra study. At 10:30 am they return to the Main Buddha Hall for the traditional offering and then after their meal and some free time they resume their activities. At about 5 pm, depending on the season, they have the evening meal followed by chanting. And then after another session of meditation or study, they retire at about 9 pm.

Renunciation and ordination

In the Jogye Order, a future member of the community first seeks out a teacher at a temple, has his head shaved or his hair cut very short, and serves as an aspirant apprentice for a period of at least five months. Once the aspirant is accepted, there is a ceremony of the taking of the novice precepts, or training rules. These consist of refining the ethical standards of the individual. After completing four years of basic training in living in the monastery and attending training college where the aspirant learns philosophy and other necessary subjects, candidates then take prescribed examinations and if successful, they then take the full precepts, becoming a monk, bhikkhu, or nun, bhikkhuni.
Once ordained, a new monk will participate in all the daily activities of the temple, including chanting, maintenance, meditation retreats, text study, and so on. Some may be involved in administrative affairs and the teaching of the laity.

Lay and Cultural Activites

Buddha's Birthday and the Lotus Lantern Festival

Korean Buddhism celebrates four major holidays by the lunar calendar, with Buddha¡¯s Birthday on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month being the biggest celebration. On this day each year, followers go to a temple, participate in the Bathing the Buddha ceremony, and hang a lantern. Below the lantern they can write the name of someone or their hopes and wishes.
Pre-Buddha¡¯s Birthday cultural celebrations began as long ago as the Silla and United Silla dynasties (57 B.C.E.- 935 C.E.). Now, usually on the Sunday before Buddha¡¯s Birthday, a huge cultural festival is held in downtown Seoul with a number of events taking place, including a massive lantern parade at night through the city. It has become a highly popular festival with visiting foreigners as well as with locals.
Events include exhibitions, street performances and a massive Dharma meeting. The people at the meeting then form the parade, which winds its way down a main thoroughfare in Seoul. The dazzling display of lanterns and floats, traditional and modern bands, dance and song, and a grand finale at the end of the parade route make for a spectacular event. But why are the lanterns so important?

These lotus lanterns represent the Buddhist Dharma and our sincere wish for attainment. One of the sutras tells the story of a poor old woman, Nanda, who wanted to offer a lamp when she heard that the Buddha was coming to visit, and so she sold her hair for the money to buy a tiny little oil lamp. After the festivities were over, all the lanterns were put out but hers, which refused to go out. A simple lamp from the sincerity of the heart brightens the entire world. In Korea there were many kinds of lanterns when Buddhist culture flourished. Many of these were lost following the repression of Buddhism during the Joseon Dynasty (1395-1910), and only the lotus lanterns remained. Since 1996, however, the Buddha¡¯s Birthday Festival Committee has promoted the revival of traditional lanterns and now each year there are exhibitions, lantern making events, and other cultural activities.

Temple-Stay Program

On the occasion of the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, the Jogye Order established a ¡°Temple Stay¡± program so that visitors and foreign residents in Korea could experience for themselves life in a temple. The program continues today and is gaining increasing popularity and acclaim.
Many of Jogye¡¯s temples are located in pristine, natural mountain environments and the temple buildings and compounds are truly beautiful. In addition, many of the temples house numerous cultural treasures and properties to be appreciated by visitors. The Temple Stay programs afford participants the chance to live in such an environment, sample ordained lifestyle, and experience the mental training and cultural atmosphere of Korea¡¯s ancient Buddhist tradition.
As of 2004, a total of 38 temples operated Temple Stay programs. These include Korea¡¯s Triple Gem temples – Tongdosa representing the Buddha, Haeinsa representing the Dharma, and Songgwangsa representing the Sangha – as well as Magoksa and Gapsa temples in the Chungcheong region; Naesosa, Mihwangsa and Geumsansa temples in the Cholla region; Beomeosa and Jikjisa temples in the Gyeongsang region; and Naksansa Temple in Gangwon Province.
The Temple Stay programs include 2-or-3-night stays, and although the daily schedules may vary slightly from temple to temple, in general they include basic education in Buddhist religious services; sutra reading; meal offerings monk style; work periods; food preparation; and work in the fields.
Buddhist practices that participants may experience include hwadu meditation and chanting, and they also may hear sutra reading or Dharma talks. Cultural activities include the tea ceremony, stone rubbings, temple paintings, Buddha statue making, Zen martial arts, hiking, and taking in cultural and historical sites and objects around the temple.
Everyone is welcome to join the Temple Stay program, regardless of religious affiliation. There are however restrictions on non-Buddhist religious activities within the temple compound. Also, people who find group life difficult are discouraged from participating.

To contact the Temple Stay Program:

Address: Cultural Affairs Dept., Republic Of Korea Jogye Order
#45 Gyeonji-dong, Jongro-gu
Seoul, Republic Of Korea

Tel: (82-2) 732-9925/7 Fax: (82-2) 732-9928
Website:
www.templestaykorea.net
E-mail:
ts2002@buddhism.or.kr

Temple Dharma Meetings and Practices

Traditionally, temples hold Dharma meetings according to the lunar calendar. Today, however, they have had to adapt to urban lifestyles, and so now Sunday Dharma meetings are also held at many temples. However, even today, the major traditional meetings are still held on the new moon and on the full moon. There are additional special Dharma meetings throughout the lunar month, including one for the Healing Buddha on the 18th of every month and for Avalokitesvara (Bodhisattva of Perfect Compassion) on the 24th of every month.
Seasonal Dharma meetings include the Big Dipper Prayer Meeting on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month; the Feast of the Earthbound Spirits (Hungry Ghosts) on the 15th of the 7th lunar month; the Winter Solstice Prayer Meeting; and the First Day of Spring Prayer Meeting. Buddhist holidays in Korea include the Buddha¡¯s Birthday on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month, Going Forth Day on the 8th day of the 2nd lunar month; Enlightenment Day on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month; and Paranirvana Day on the full moon of the 2nd lunar month.
Lay people join in the activities of the temple of their choice in many different ways. They participate in Dharma meetings, offerings, donations, volunteer service, Zen meditation, sutra recitation, sutra copying, chanting, prostrating, and mantra recitation. Activities are generally centered around the Dharma meeting, and temples in the mountains offer a variety of training programs and retreats for the laity.

Laity Education and Precept

 lay member of the Jogye Order receives precepts and education according to the constitution and laws of the order. The Five Precepts (to refrain from taking life, stealing, sexual misconduct, language misconduct, and taking mind altering substances such as alcohol) coupled with taking refuge in the Triple Gem of Buddhism – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, or community of monks – establish a person as a member of the lay order.
There are four types of educational programs for the laity: basic, special, teaching, and re-education. Basic educational programs can be found at all temples and it is necessary to complete this course to become a lay follower. These programs teach people about the philosophy, practices and how to behave in the temples and in communal situations. The special and teaching programs are aimed at fostering special knowledge and cultivation so that the laity can be more active in the temples. In re-education programs, the order holds training programs to further the cultivation of executives of the Lay Association.

Jogye Order Temples

The Jogye Order has about 3,000 temples around South Korea. Each belongs to one of 25 administrative districts throughout the country , and each district has a head temple. With such a long history, Korean Buddhism is filled with innumerable stories about the origin of these temples, some of which are almost mystical. Representative of these are three temples for Avalokitesvara devotional practices and five temples that enshrine relics of Sakyamuni Buddha in place of an image.
The three temples dedicated to Avalokitesvara, who saves sentient beings from the sea of suffering, are invariably located near the ocean in Mahayana countries. In India, along the southern coast is Mt. Potalaka where Avalokitesvara resides; in China, it is on Pota Island off the east coast of China; and in landlocked Tibet, it is Lhasa, which is located along the Kichu river which flows to the ocean. In Korea, the three holy sites dedicated to Avalokitesvara are Hongnyeonam Hermitage at Naksansa Temple on the East Coast; Bomunsa Temple on Mt. Nakgasan on the West Coast island of Ganghwado; and Boriam Hermitage on Mt. Geumsan along the South Coast.
Of the five relic temples, four are located in Gangwon Province – Sangwonsa Temple on Mt. Odaesan; Bongjongam Hermitage at Mt. Sorak; Beopheungsa Temple on Mt. Sajasan; and Jeongamsa Temple on Mt. Daebaeksan. The fifth relic temple is Tongdosa Temple, the first of three Jewel temples in Korean Buddhism, representing the Buddha.
For centuries, Korea has had three Jewel Temples: Tongdosa Temple represents the Buddha; Haeinsa Temple represents the Dharma or Teachings; and Songgwangsa Temple represents the Sangha or community.
Representative of the ¡°Palace of the Jewel of Nirvana¡± temples is Tongdosa Temple, located in Yangsan outside of Busan. The Silla Precepts Master Jajang traveled to China and returned with the first relics of the Buddha, and enshrined them in a stupa at Tongdosa. Haeinsa Temple represents the Dharma with its repository of the more than 81,258 Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks, designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site by Unesco. And third, Songgwangsa Temple was designated the Sangha Jewel Temple for its outstanding history of monastic practice, which includes the fostering of 16 National Monks during the Goryeo Dynasty.
Full monastic training temples are those which include three major facilities: a meditation center, a traditional sutra center, and a vinaya or precepts center. The Jogye Order has five such full monastic training centers: Haein at Haeinsa Temple; Jogye at Songgwangsa Temple; Yeongchuk at Tongdosa Temple; Deoksung at Sudeoksa Temple; and Gobul at Baekyangsa Temple.

Korean Temples

Most temples feature at least one Main Buddha Hall and a pagoda, although layouts vary according to the environment, history, and prominence, ranging from the small and snug to large-scale compounds.
At most temples, one has to pass through several gates to reach the Main Buddha Hall, and each of these gates reflects Buddhist teachings. The first gate at the entrance to the temple compound is the ¡°One Pillar Gate¡± (¡°Iljumun¡±: built with only two posts, which appear as one from the side), representing the elimination of delusions and unity of mind necessary for entering the Pure Land of a temple. Sometimes there is a second Vajra Guardian Gate (¡°Geumgangyeoksamun¡±) for protection of the temple and/or a Gate of the Celestial Guardians of the Four Directions (¡°Sacheonwangmun¡±) to protect the Dharma. Many temples feature statues of the Vajra or Celestial guardians carved from wood. The third gate usually is the Gate of Nonduality (¡°Purimun¡±), representing the Buddhist truth of the nonduality of everything. And sometimes there is a fourth Gate of Liberation (¡°Haetalmun¡±), representing the liberation that can be achieved by following the teachings of the Buddha.
Usually, there is a pagoda in front of the Main Buddha Hall. Originally a small stupa in India, this architectural work underwent transformation into a pagoda in China on the way to Korea. The pagoda, usually located in the center of the compound, houses a relic of the Buddha, sutras, or other important documents and religious artifacts, and it represents the Buddha and the teachings. A variety of building materials are used, ranging from wood to granite, marble and other stone, as well as mud. Though originally based on the Chinese model, Korean pagodas became distinctive in many ways as they developed over the centuries.
There may be several other halls in the central compound in each direction; each one is named after the Buddha who is enshrined within. The Hall of the Great Hero (¡±Daeungjeon¡±) is dedicated to the historical Buddha Sakyamuni. The Hall of Great Tranquility and Light (¡°Daejeokgwangjeon¡±) enshrines the Cosmic Buddha Vairocana, and the Hall of Paradise (¡°Kungnakjeon¡±) is dedicated to the Buddha of Infinite Life and Light, the Buddha of the Western Paradise, Amitabha.

Source: http://www.koreanbuddhism.net/


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