Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean Buddhism

The Collected Works of Ŭich’ŏn

Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean Buddhism

Ŭich’ŏn (1055-1101) is recognized as a Buddhist master of great stature in the East Asian tradition. Born a prince in the medieval Korean state of Koryŏ (960-1279), he traveled to Song China (960-1279) to study Buddhism and later compiled and published the first collection of East Asian exegetical texts. According to the received scholarly tradition, after returning to Korea, Ŭich’ŏn left the Hwaŏm (Huayan) school to found a new Ch’ŏnt’ae (Tiantai) school when he realized that the synthesis between doctrinal learning and meditative practice in the latter would help bring together the discordant sects of Koryŏ Buddhism. In the late twentieth century, however, scholars began to question the assertion that Ŭich’ŏn forsook one school for another, arguing that his writings assembled in The Collected Works of State Preceptor Taegak (Taegak kuksa munjip) do not portray a committed sectarian but a monk dedicated to developing a sophisticated and rigorous system of monastic education that encompassed all Buddhist intellectual traditions. In this first comprehensive study of Ŭich’ŏn’s life and work in English, Richard McBride presents translations of select lectures, letters, essays, and poetry from The Collected Works to provide a more balanced view of Ŭich’ŏn’s philosophy of life and understanding of key Buddhist teachings. The translations center on the monk’s activities in the pan-East Asian Buddhist world and his compilation of scholarly texts, writings related to his interactions with royalty, and correspondence with his Chinese mentor, Jinshui Jingyuan (1011-1088). By incorporating Ŭich’ŏn’s work associated with doctrinal Buddhism and his poetry, McBride clearly shows that even in his most personal work Ŭich’ŏn did not abandon Hwaŏm teachings for those of the Ch’ŏnt’ae but rather he encouraged monks to blend the best learning from all doctrinal traditions with meditative practice.

Sheaves of Korean Buddhist History

Joseon Bulgyosa-go

Sheaves of Korean Buddhist History

Sheaves of Korean Buddhist History, a brief history of Korean Buddhism, is one of the representative works on Korean Buddhism in the modern period. The author Gim Yeongsu was a scholar-monk, who was well known for his influential research on the systems of religious orders in Korean Buddhism by advancing such theories as Five Doctrinal [schools] and Nine Mountains [school of Seon], Five Doctrinal [schools] and Two [Meditative] schools, and Two Schools of Meditative practice and doctrinal Teaching. The first part on the Three Kingdoms and the Unified Silla period includes various topics, such as the introduction of Buddhism to Korean peninsula; the achievements of eminent monks in pursuing the Buddhist truth; the adoption and development of doctrinal learning; the establishment of Buddhist schools, such as the Hwaeom school; and the transmission of Chan and the formation of Nine Mountains school of Seon. The contents of the second part on the Goryeo period include the royal worship of Buddhism, monastic examinations; the activities of eminent monks; the establishment of the Cheontae 天台 school and the Five Doctrinal [schools] and Two [Meditative] schools; the carving of the woodblocks of the Goryeo Buddhist canon; Buddhist cultural exchange with neighboring countries; the flourishing of the Seon school and the introduction of Ganhwa Seon; and so forth. The part on the Joseon period describes the official policy of persecuting Buddhism during the early Joseon period; the forced unification of Buddhist schools; the activities of monk militias during the Hideoyoshi invasion of Korea (1592–1598); synthesis of the three practices of Seon, Gyo (Buddhist doctrines), and chanting the Buddha’s name during the late Joseon; the problem of Dharma lineage of the Imje school; and Buddhist educational systems and practices. The part on the modern period examines such topics as the Temple Ordinances issued by the Japanese Colonial Government and institutional changes in the Buddhist community.

Reinventing the Tripitaka

Transformation of the Buddhist Canon in Modern East Asia

Reinventing the Tripitaka

This volume examines the significance of the Chinese Buddhist canon in modern East Asian Buddhism. Exploring how the Chinese Buddhist canon has evolved and how it is currently utilized, each chapter of this book provides new insights and essential information into the Chinese Buddhist canon during the modern and contemporary periods.

A Concise History of Premodern Korea

From Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century

A Concise History of Premodern Korea

Now in a fully revised and updated edition including new primary sources and illustrations, this engaging text provides a concise history of Korea from the beginning of human settlement in the region through the late nineteenth century. Michael J. Seth’s thorough chronological narrative equally emphasizes social, cultural, and political history. Students will be especially drawn to descriptions of everyday life for both elite and nonelite members of society during various historical periods. The book emphasizes how Korean history can be understood as part of an interactive sphere that includes three basic areas: China, Japan, and the Manchurian/Central Asian region. Throughout, Seth draws comparisons between developments in Korea and those in neighboring regions. All readers looking for a balanced, knowledgeable history will be richly rewarded with this clear and cogent book.

Encyclopedia of Monasticism

Encyclopedia of Monasticism

First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia

Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia

This volume, the result of an international collaboration of forty scholars, provides a comprehensive resource on Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in their Chinese, Korean, and Japanese contexts from the first few centuries of the common era to the present.

A Handbook of Korean Zen Practice

A Mirror on the Sŏn School of Buddhism (Sŏn’ga kwigam)

A Handbook of Korean Zen Practice

Sŏn (Japanese Zen) has been the dominant form of Buddhism in Korea from medieval times to the present. A Handbook of Korean Zen Practice: A Mirror on the Sŏn School of Buddhism (Sŏn'ga kwigam) was the most popular guide for Sŏn practice and life ever published in Korea and helped restore Buddhism to popularity after its lowest point in Korean history. It was compiled before 1569 by Sŏsan Hyujŏng (1520–1604), later famed as the leader of a monk army that helped defend Korea against a massive Japanese invasion in 1592. In addition to succinct quotations from sutras, the text also contained quotations from selected Chinese and Korean works together with Hyujŏng's explanations. Because of its brevity and organization, the work proved popular and was reprinted many times in Korea and Japan before 1909. A Handbook of Korean Zen Practice commences with the ineffability of the enlightened state, and after a tour through doctrine and practice it returns to its starting point. The doctrinal rationale for practice that leads to enlightenment is based on the Mahayana Awakening of Faith, but the practice Hyujŏng enjoins readers to undertake is very different: a method of meditation derived from the kongan (Japanese koan) called hwadu (Chinese huatou), or "point of the story," the story being the kongan. This method was developed by Dahui Zonggao (1089–1163) and was imported into Korea by Chinul (1158–1210). The most famous hwadu is the mu (no) answer by Zhaozhou to the question, "Does a dog have a buddha-nature?" Hyujŏng warns of pitfalls in this practice, such as the delusion that one is already enlightened. A proper understanding of doctrine is required before practicing hwadu. Practice also requires faith and an experienced teacher. Hyujŏng outlines the specifics of practice, such as rules of conduct and chanting and mindfulness of the Buddha, and stresses the requirements for living the life of a monk. At the end of the text he returns to the hwadu, the need for a teacher, and hence the importance of lineage. He sketches out the distinctive methods of practice of the chief Sŏn (Chinese Chan) lineages. His final warning is not to be attached to the text. The version of the text translated here is the earliest and the longest extant. It was "translated" into Korean from Chinese by one of Hyujŏng's students to aid Korean readers. The present volume contains a brief history of hwadu practice and theory, a life of Hyujŏng, and a summary of the text, plus a detailed, annotated translation. It should be of interest to practitioners of meditation and students of East Asian Buddhism and Korean history.

The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism : Conversion, Contestation, and Memory

Conversion, Contestation, and Memory

The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism : Conversion, Contestation, and Memory

This book explores the Buddhist role in the formation of Tibetan religious thought and identity. In three major sections, the author examines Tibet's eighth-century conversion, sources of dispute within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and the continuing revelation of the teaching in both doctrine and myth.