London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Makers of Modern Korean Buddhism

An overview of Korean Buddhism and its major figures in the modern period.

The first book in English devoted exclusively to modern Korean Buddhism, this work provides a comprehensive exploration for scholars, students, and serious readers. Makers of Modern Korean Buddhism focuses on three key areas: Buddhist reform, Zen revival, and the interrelationship of religion, history, and politics. In Korea, the modern period in Buddhism begins in earnest in the late nineteenth century, during the closing years of the Chosŏn dynasty, which was characterized by a repressive brand of neo-Confucianism. Buddhist reformers arose to seek change in both Buddhism and Korean society at large. The work begins with a look at five of these reformers and their thought and work. The Zen revival that began at the end of the nineteenth century is covered from that period to contemporary times through an exploration of the life and thought of important Zen masters. The influence of Japanese Buddhist missionaries, the emergence of Korean engaged Buddhism, known as Minjung Buddhism, and the formation of modern Buddhist scholarship in Korea are discussed as well.

“This book … is most welcome. It helps to find answers to many of the questions that can be raised on the whereabouts of Buddhism in the Korean Peninsula since the end of the 19th century.” — Journal of Korean Religions

“This outstanding collection will be highly valued by the scholarly community for the way it deals comprehensively and insightfully with an important though relatively unexplored topic in the modern era.” — Steven Heine, author of Zen Skin, Zen Marrow: Will the Real Zen Buddhism Please Stand Up?

Jin Y. Park is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at American University. She is the author of Buddhism and Postmodernity: Zen, Huayan, and the Possibility of Buddhist Postmodern Ethics and the editor of several books, including Buddhisms and Deconstructions.

Source: publisher’s website

Table of Contents


Introduction: Buddhism and Modernity in Korea | Jin Y. Park

PART ONE: Modernity, Colonialism, and Buddhist Reform

  1. Individual Salvation and Compassionate Action: The Life and Thoughts of Paek Yongsŏng | Woosung Huh
  2. A Korean Buddhist Response to Modernity: Manhae Han Yongun’s Doctrinal Reinterpretation of His Reformist Thought | Pori Park
  3. Sot’aesan’s Creation of Won Buddhism through the Reformation of Korean Buddhism | Bongkil Chung
  4. Yi Nŭnghwa, Buddhism, and the Modernization of Korea: A Critical Review | Jongmyung Kim
  5. Gendered Response to Modernity: Kim Iryŏp and Buddhism | Jin Y. Park

PART TWO: Revival of Zen Buddhism in Modern Korea

  1. Mirror of Emptiness: The Life and Times of the Sŏn Master Kyŏnghŏ Sŏngu | Henrik H. Sørensen
  2. Sŏn Master Man’gong and Cogitations of a Colonized Religion | Mu Soeng
  3. Sŏn Master Pang Hanam: A Preliminary Consideration of His Thoughts According to the Five Regulations for the Sangha | Patrick R. Uhlmann
  4. Zen Master T’oe’ong Sŏngch’ŏl’s Doctrine of Zen Enlightenment and Practice | Woncheol Yun
  5. Sŏn Master Daehaeng’s “Doing without Doing” | Chong Go

PART THREE: Religion, History, and Politics

  1. The Japanese Missionaries and their Impact on Korean Buddhist Developments (1876–1910) | Vladimir Tikhonov
  2. Minjung Buddhism: A Buddhist Critique of the Status Quo—Its History, Philosophy, and Critique | John Jorgensen
  3. Formation of Modern Buddhist Scholarship: The Cases of Pak Chonghong and Kim Tonghwa | Sungtaek Cho

Glossary of East Asian Characters

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.