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Ch’oui Uisun: The Liberal Son Master and Engaged Artist in Late Choson Korea

From the publisher’s website:

Scholars of Choson Korea tend to view Buddhism negatively, or at best ignore it, and at present there is a lack of research on this crucial topic. Through appreciation of the life and thought of Ch’oui Uisun (1786-1866), this study is an attempt to recover and supplement the intellectual history of religious culture in Korea, focusing on late-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century Buddhism, which is the direct root of modern Korea’s traditional spirit.

Ven. Jinwol has given us the most complete study yet to be presented in English regarding the extraordinary Buddhist teacher Ch’oui Uisun. As the Confucian dominated Choson dynasty weakened in the face of European and North American cultural and political expansions, the long suppressed Buddhist tradition of Korea became more visible. It was Ch’oui Uisun who best shows the strength of the religion, even after centuries of repression. Known as the “Master of Tea” he surprisingly conjoined the image of “one taste” of tea with meditation and enlightenment. Through his teachings, poetry, and example, Ch’oui Uisun became an exemplar for a Buddhist monastic in the changing world of the early 19th century that we often refer to as “Modern”. Maintaining a firm stance within his understanding of the nature of the world, he lived a life that turned away from dualism and sectarian debate. His reminder of this ability to interconnect with all facets of experience, has been often used as a guiding principle by those who came after him.



A. State of Research and Studies of Ch’oŭi
B. The Scope of the Present Study

Chapter 1: Ch’oŭi’s Life and Environment

A. Historical Background
1. Political and Sociocultural Trends
2. Religious Currents
B. Ch’oŭi’s Life
1. Biographical Notes
2. A Sketch from Poems

Chapter 2: Ch’oŭi’s Buddhist Studies and Practices

A. Buddhist Studies and Practices in the Late Choson
B. Ch’oŭi’s Works on Buddhist Studies and Practice
1. Ch’oŭi’s Works on Son
2. Ch’oŭi’s Works on Buddhist Studies
3. Ch’oŭi’s Works on Precepts

Chapter 3: Ch’oŭi’s Literature

A. Historical Context of Son Literature
1. Historical Background of Ch’an Poetry
2. Currents of Korean Literature in Chinese
3. Literary Environment of the Late Choson
B. Ch’oŭi’s Literature
1. Poetry
2. Prose

Chapter 4: Ch’oŭi and the Arts

A. Calligraphy
1. The Historical Development of Calligraphy in China
2. Calligraphy in Korea before Ch’oŭi
3. Calligraphy of Ch’oŭi
B. Painting of Ch’oŭi
1. Currents of History of Chinese Painting
2. Historical Context of Painting in Korea before Ch’oŭi
3. Paintings of Ch’oŭi
C. Other Arts

Chapter 5: Ch’oŭi’s Tea

A. Historical Context of Tea before Ch’oŭi
1. Development of Tea in China
2. Tea in Korea before Ch’oŭi
B. Ch’oŭi’s Works on Tea
1. Tasinjon
2. Tongdasong
C. Practice, Arts, and Human Relationship with Tea


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