A Korean buddhist response to modernity: Manhae Han Yongun's doctrinal reinterpretation for his reformist thought

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Abstract

During the first half of the twentieth century, Korean Buddhism had to deal with two challenges: It had to overcome the eff ect of the anti-Buddhist policies of the Confucian Chosǒn dynasty (1392-1910), under which Buddhism had suff ered institutionally, doctrinally, and socially; at the same time, it also had to transform itself into a religion that was compatible with the new society under Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945). Th e outset of opening of the nation to foreign powers was regarded by most Buddhist clerics as an opportunity for change (K. yusin) and progress (K. chinbo). Th e old Buddhist ways had to give rise to "enlightened" (K. kaemyǒng sidae) and "civilized" times (K. munmyǒng sidae).2 Korean Buddhists accepted a melioristic view of history, sharing the views of the majority of contemporary Korean intellectuals, who were greatly inclined toward Spencerian social Darwinism3 and who viewed the activities of Japanese Buddhism and Christianity as advanced forms of religion. The arrival of these religions provided Korean Buddhists with both challenges and a frame of reference for their idea for modernity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMakers of Modern Korean Buddhism
PublisherState University of New York Press
Pages41-60
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781438429212
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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    Park, P. (2009). A Korean buddhist response to modernity: Manhae Han Yongun's doctrinal reinterpretation for his reformist thought. In Makers of Modern Korean Buddhism (pp. 41-60). State University of New York Press.