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Views on Buddhist Precepts and Morality in Late Koryŏ
Author Vermeersch, Sem
Source Journal of Korean Religions
Volumev.7 n.1
Pages35 - 65
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
Publisher Url
LocationHonolulu, HI, US [檀香山, 夏威夷州, 美國]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
Keywordmorality; Chigong; Mugi; Late Koryŏ
AbstractThe general consensus on Buddhism in the late Kory period is that it was corrupt and too enmeshed in political affairs for its own good. However, the main sources to support this view are the historical records drafted by Neo-Confucian officials, who were very critical of Buddhism. While there is no reason to doubt that corruption plagued Buddhism at the end of the Koryŏ dynasty, accepting this discourse at face value is also problematic. The purpose of this article is not to disprove this rhetoric or exonerate Buddhism, but rather to try and balance this discourse with evidence for internal reform and moral awareness that did in fact exist within Buddhism. This article shows that first and foremost, there was an unbroken tradition of studying the various Buddhist precepts traditions, and that monks turned to these sources for moral reflection. Two examples of illustrious late-Koryŏ monks also show that they were both concerned about moral laxity, and that they promoted different views of the precepts, but shared an intrinsic demand to take them literally. These are first the Indian monk Chigong, who visited Koryŏ between 1326 and 1328, and advocated adherence to his “precepts of non-production” (musaenggye), which prompted many people to give up wine and meat. The second monk is Mugi, who, in his Ode on the Acts of the Tathāgata Śakyamuni, written ca. 1328, lashes out at various misdemeanors carried out by the monks of his time. He too advocates a strict adherence to the basic precepts; one of the themes especially emphasized by him (and also by Hyesim before), is the cardinal importance of accepting donations from the laity without any desire or expectation. In how far their calls for moral regeneration were followed is not clear, but the continuous publication of tracts that advocate behavioral rules much like they preached, at the very least shows that monks never gave up on trying to address these problems.
ISSN20937288 (P); 21672040 (E)
Information Source
Created date2016.10.27
Modified date2020.01.14

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