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The Uses and Abuses of Wŏnhyo and the “T’ong Pulgyo” Narrative

The Uses and Abuses of Wŏnhyo and the “T’ong Pulgyo” Narrative This paper aims to illustrate Wŏnhyo’s place in the modern discourse of Korean nationalism, as the major figure of Korean Buddhist identity. Wŏnhyo (617–686) was a Buddhist monk and one of the key thinkers, writers, and commentators of the Korean Buddhist tradition. In addition to the breadth of Wŏnhyo’s own scholarship on Buddhist scriptures available in seventh-century Silla, Korea, the volume and diversity of scholarship about Wŏnhyo in modern Korea represents the status and history of the development of Buddhist studies in Korea. Wŏnhyo’s approach to Buddhism has been used in contemporary contexts to describe various aspects of Korean life and thought. Most people—scholars and nonacademics alike—have taken for granted the received narrative of Wŏnhyo, a narrative that is now highly nationalized. Following up the argument that has recently arisen among scholars (Shim Jae-ryong and Robert Buswell), linking Ch’oe Namsŏn in the colonial period with the emergence of the syncretic ideology that has grounded contemporary Korean scholarship, I expanded the scope of investigation to include other attempts to write about Wŏnhyo and Korean Buddhism throughout Korean Buddhist history, and their subsequent elaboration in the twentieth century. I explore the spectrum of evolving perspectives on Wŏnhyo, and how modern ideas about him have continued to shift with changing sociopolitical conditions. This will help us to gauge the significance of Wŏnhyo and his scholarship in the creation of a Korean Buddhist identity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

The Uses and Abuses of Wŏnhyo and the “T’ong Pulgyo” Narrative

Journal of Korean Studies , Volume 9 (1) – Sep 1, 2004

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Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1353/jks.2004.0005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to illustrate Wŏnhyo’s place in the modern discourse of Korean nationalism, as the major figure of Korean Buddhist identity. Wŏnhyo (617–686) was a Buddhist monk and one of the key thinkers, writers, and commentators of the Korean Buddhist tradition. In addition to the breadth of Wŏnhyo’s own scholarship on Buddhist scriptures available in seventh-century Silla, Korea, the volume and diversity of scholarship about Wŏnhyo in modern Korea represents the status and history of the development of Buddhist studies in Korea. Wŏnhyo’s approach to Buddhism has been used in contemporary contexts to describe various aspects of Korean life and thought. Most people—scholars and nonacademics alike—have taken for granted the received narrative of Wŏnhyo, a narrative that is now highly nationalized. Following up the argument that has recently arisen among scholars (Shim Jae-ryong and Robert Buswell), linking Ch’oe Namsŏn in the colonial period with the emergence of the syncretic ideology that has grounded contemporary Korean scholarship, I expanded the scope of investigation to include other attempts to write about Wŏnhyo and Korean Buddhism throughout Korean Buddhist history, and their subsequent elaboration in the twentieth century. I explore the spectrum of evolving perspectives on Wŏnhyo, and how modern ideas about him have continued to shift with changing sociopolitical conditions. This will help us to gauge the significance of Wŏnhyo and his scholarship in the creation of a Korean Buddhist identity.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2004

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