London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Aspiring to Enlightenment: Pure Land Buddhism in Silla Korea

From the publisher’s website: Centered on the practice of seeking rebirth in the Pure Land paradise Sukhāvatī, the Amitābha cult has been the dominant form of Buddhism in Korea since the middle of the Silla period (ca. 300–935). In Aspiring to Enlightenment, Richard McBride combines analyses of scriptural, exegetical, hagiographical, epigraphical, art historical, and literary materials to … [Read More]

Monastic Education in Korea: Teaching Monks about Buddhism in the Modern Age

From the publisher’s website: What do Buddhist monks learn about Buddhism? Which part of their enormous canonical and non-canonical literature do they choose to focus on as the required curriculum in their training, and what do they elect to leave out? The cultural depository of Buddhism includes some four thousand canonical texts, hundreds of other … [Read More]

Shinra Myōjin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian “Mediterranean”

This ambitious work offers a transnational account of the deity Shinra Myōjin, the “god of Silla” worshipped in medieval Japanese Buddhism from the eleventh to sixteenth centuries. Sujung Kim challenges the long-held understanding of Shinra Myōjin as a protective deity of the Tendai Jimon school, showing how its worship emerged and developed in the complex … [Read More]

Religions of Old Korea

From the publisher’s website: This book, first published in 1932, was written by a Western expert on Korea, and was the first to thoroughly investigate and document the old religious practices of Korea. No book like this could be written again from original sources, for all of the data has passed away, and archival records … [Read More]

A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace: The Zen Teaching of Huangbo with a Modern Commentary

From the publisher’s website: The message of the Tang-dynasty Zen text in this volume seems simple: to gain enlightenment, stop thinking there is something you need to practice. For the Chinese master Huangbo Xiyun (d. 850), the mind is enlightenment itself if we can only let go of our normal way of thinking. The celebrated … [Read More]

Efficacious Underworld: The Evolution of Ten Kings Paintings in Medieval China and Korea

From the publisher’s website: The Ten Kings hanging scrolls at Tokyo’s Seikadō Bunko Art Museum are among the most resplendent renderings of the Buddhist purgatory extant, but their origin and significance have yet to be fully explored. Cheeyun Kwon unfurls this exquisite set of scrolls within the existing Ten Kings painting tradition while investigating textual, … [Read More]

Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection

From the publisher’s website: From the author of the phenomenal multi-million copy bestseller The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down “Hearing the words ‘be good to yourself first, then to others’ was like being struck by lightning.” Many of us respond to the pressures of life by turning inwards and ignoring problems, sometimes … [Read More]

The Scriptures of Won Buddhism: A Translation of Wonbulgyo kyojon with Introduction

From the publisher’s website: “Professor Chung has drawn on all the tools in his scholarly arsenal to convey the flavor and meaning of the original Korean texts. Written vernacular Korean was still very much a work in progress during the early twentieth century and the meaning of the Korean texts is not always clear-cut, even … [Read More]

The Korean Buddhist Empire: A Transnational History, 1910–1945

From the publisher’s website: In the first part of the twentieth century, Korean Buddhists, despite living under colonial rule, reconfigured sacred objects, festivals, urban temples, propagation—and even their own identities—to modernize and elevate Korean Buddhism. By focusing on six case studies, this book highlights the centrality of transnational relationships in the transformation of colonial Korean … [Read More]

From the Mountains to the Cities: A History of Buddhist Propagation in Modern Korea

From the publisher’s website: At the start of the twentieth century, the Korean Buddhist tradition was arguably at the lowest point in its 1,500-year history in the peninsula. Discriminatory policies and punitive measures imposed on the monastic community during the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910) had severely weakened Buddhist institutions. Prior to 1895, monastics were prohibited by … [Read More]

Buddhas and Ancestors: Religion and Wealth in Fourteenth-Century Korea

Publisher description: Two issues central to the transition from the Koryo to the Choson dynasty in fourteenth-century Korea were social differences in ruling elites and the decline of Buddhism, which had been the state religion. In this revisionist history, Juhn Ahn challenges the long-accepted Confucian critique that Buddhism had become so powerful and corrupt that … [Read More]

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World

From the publisher’s website: THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER, WITH OVER THREE MILLION COPIES SOLD AROUND THE WORLD ‘Is it the world that’s busy, or my mind?’ The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United … [Read More]

Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism

From the publisher’s website: In the year 721, a young Buddhist monk named Hyecho set out from the kingdom of Silla, on the Korean peninsula, on what would become one of the most extraordinary journeys in history. Sailing first to China, Hyecho continued to what is today Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, … [Read More]

Women and Buddhist Philosophy: Engaging Zen Master Kim Iryŏp

From the publisher’s website: Why and how do women engage with Buddhism and philosophy? The present volume aims to answer these questions by examining the life and philosophy of a Korean Zen Buddhist nun, Kim Iryŏp (1896–1971). The daughter of a pastor, Iryŏp began questioning Christian doctrine as a teenager. In a few years, she … [Read More]

Belief and Practice in Imperial Japan and Colonial Korea

Bringing together the work of leading scholars of religion in imperial Japan and colonial Korea, this collection addresses the complex ways in which religion served as a site of contestation and negotiation among different groups, including the Korean Choson court, the Japanese colonial government, representatives of different religions, and Korean and Japanese societies. It considers … [Read More]

Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean Buddhism: The Collected Works of Ŭich’ŏn

From the publisher’s website: Ŭich’ŏn (1055-1101) is recognized as a Buddhist master of great stature in the East Asian tradition. Born a prince in the medieval Korean state of Koryŏ (960-1279), he traveled to Song China (960-1279) to study Buddhism and later compiled and published the first collection of East Asian exegetical texts. According to … [Read More]