Thursday, November 14, 2019

Korean Buddhism :: Religion Korea Religious Essays

Korean Buddhism Buddhism was first brought from China to the Korean peninsula in the year 372 CE. At this time the dominant and traditional religion was Shamanism. While Shamanism was the belief in animism and nature-spirit worship, Buddhism expressed the idea that human beings as well as nature possess spirits and should be included in the rites of worship. This had no conflict with Shamanism and so it was easily adapted. The early elementary forms of Buddhism believed primarily in cause and effect related to the path of happiness (Buddhapia). More recent applications of Buddhist monks’ time goes to solving conflicts within different sects of Buddhism or among other religions. They also devote a great deal of time to solving doctrinal inconsistencies (Charles Muller). More traditionally a basic concept of Buddhism is that of interpenetration (t’ung) in which one must move along a path that has already been opened and just needs to be traversed. This is especially relevant in that of a sage’s mind capable of â€Å"penetrating† (understanding) the principles of things. Penetration as Charles Muller says, â€Å"Is a basic underpinning of both the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean, in both of which the inner and outer aspects of the person are understood to penetrate each other such that quality of the person's inner mind is always discernible in his outer appearance†. Other important aspects of Korean Buddhism are individuality, mental foundation and ideology, philosophical reformation movement, and the pursuit of harmonization and unification. Individuality is found all throughout the Buddhist culture where there are many different approaches to meditation, studying sutras and chanting. Buddhist ideology assisted in the foundation of many aspects of Korean culture including socio-political issues. Korean Buddhists devoted their thought to philosophical reformation in the overcoming of fixed concepts. Buddhism developed different levels as each one reached its level of conceptual development. A Buddhist’s final stage comes when their teacher sees that they are fit and sends them off to become a full member of the monastic community in which they will have five days of training and lectures before the actual ceremony (Buddhapia).

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