Korean Buddhism

Form of Buddhism / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Korean Buddhism is distinguished from other forms of Buddhism by its attempt to resolve what its early practitioners saw as inconsistencies within the Mahayana Buddhist traditions that they received from foreign countries. To address this, they developed a new holistic approach to Buddhism that became a distinct form, an approach characteristic of virtually all major Korean thinkers. The resulting variation is called Tongbulgyo ("interpenetrated Buddhism"), a form that sought to harmonize previously arising disputes among scholars (a principle called hwajaeng 和諍).[1]

An image of Gautama Buddha at Seokguram Grotto, Gyeongju, in South Korea

Centuries after Buddhism originated in India, the Mahayana tradition arrived in China through the Silk Road in the 1st century CE via Tibet; it then entered the Korean peninsula in the 4th century during the Three Kingdoms Period, from where it was transmitted to Japan. In Korea, it was adopted as the state religion of 3 constituent polities of the Three Kingdoms Period, first by the Goguryeo (also known as Goryeo) in 372 CE, by the Silla (Gaya) in 528 CE, and by the Baekje in 552 CE.[2]

As it now stands, Korean Buddhism consists mostly of the Seon Lineage, primarily represented by the Jogye and Taego Orders. The Korean Seon has a strong relationship with other Mahayana traditions that bear the imprint of Chan teachings as well as the closely related Zen. Other sects, such as the modern revival of the Cheontae lineage, the Jingak Order (a modern esoteric sect), and the newly formed Won, have also attracted sizable followings.[citation needed]

Korean Buddhism has contributed much to East Asian Buddhism, especially to early Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan schools of Buddhist thought.[3][4][5][6]

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