London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Power of the Buddhas: The Politics of Buddhism During the Koryo Dynasty

From the publisher’s website: Buddhism in medieval Korea is characterized as “State Protection Buddhism,” a religion whose primary purpose was to rally support (supernatural and popular) for and legitimate the state. In this view, the state used Buddhism to engender compliance with its goals. A closer look, however, reveals that Buddhism was a canvas on … [Read More]

Selected Writings of Han Yongun: From Social Darwinism to ‘Socialism with a Buddhist Face’

From the publisher’s website: One of Korea’s most eminent Buddhists and political activists in the independence movement during the long years of Japan’s colonization of his country, Han Yongun, otherwise known as Manhae (1879-1944), was a prolific writer and outstanding poet, known especially for his poetry collection Nim ui ch’immuk (‘The Silence of the Lover’). … [Read More]

No River to Cross: Trusting the Enlightenment That’s Always Right Here

Publisher description: It is often said that enlightenment means “crossing over to the other shore,” that far-off place where we can at last be free from suffering. Likewise, it is said that Buddhist teachings are the raft that takes us there. In this sparkling collection from one of the most vital teachers of modern Korean … [Read More]

Buddhist Sculpture of Korea

From the publisher’s website: Buddhist culture and thought have had a tremendous impact on the lives and thought of Korean people ever since the religion was introduced to the Korean peninsula in the late fourth century. Most of the time, the religion received strong state support for the construction of temples and pagodas and the … [Read More]

Buddhist Architecture of Korea

From the publisher’s website: The easiest way to learn about Korea’s Buddhist culture is to visit the temples where the traditional practice of asceticism is still carried on today. People no longer live in other examples of traditional architecture, such as palaces and Confucian schools and academies; but in temples the monks and nuns eat, … [Read More]

Religions of Korea in Practice

From the publisher’s website: Korea has one of the most diverse religious cultures in the world today, with a range and breadth of religious practice virtually unrivaled by any other country. This volume in the Princeton Readings in Religions series is the first anthology in any language, including Korean, to bring together a comprehensive set … [Read More]

Because of the Rain: A Selection of Korean Zen Poems

From the publisher’s website: Buddhism was introduced to Korea via China in the fifth century and similar to China and Japan a long tradition of Zen poetry developed. This collection spans 1,500 years of this tradition with a selection of the key poets and teachers starting with Great Master Wonhyo the founder of Korean Zen … [Read More]

Currents and Countercurrents: Korean Influences on the East Asian Buddhist Traditions

From the publisher’s website: Soon after the inception of Buddhism in the sixth or fifth century B.C.E., the Buddha ordered his small band of monks to wander forth for the welfare and weal of the many, a command that initiated one of the greatest missionary movements in world religious history. But this account of a … [Read More]

Everything Yearned For

Publisher description: Manhae (1879-1944), or Han Yongun, was a Korean Buddhist (Son) monk during the era of Japanese colonial occupation (1910-1945). Manhae is a political and cultural hero in Korea, and his works are studied by college students and school children alike. Everything Yearned For is a collection of 88 love poems, evocative of the … [Read More]

Being Buddhist in a Christian World: Gender and Community in a Korean American Temple

From the publisher’s website: Challenging Western notions of Buddhism as a self-effacing path to rebirth and enlightenment, Sharon Suh shows how first-generation Korean Americans at Sa Chal Temple in Los Angeles have applied Buddhist doctrines to the project of finding and knowing the self in everyday life. Buddhism, for these Buddhists, serves as a source … [Read More]

Meditative Poems by Korean Monks

From the publisher’s website: Introduced and Translated by Jaihiun Kim This work is a chronological anthology of Zen poetry spanning the 6th through the 20th centuries. In his introduction the translator distinguishes Zen from other forms of Buddhism, and places it in its historical context. These intuitive poems chronicle the spiritual search as well as … [Read More]

Spirit of the Mountains

From the back cover: San-shin (Mountain-spirit, Mountain-god or Spirit of the Mountains) is not yet very well-known in the world, despite being the most central and characteristic figure in traditional Korean culture. It remains uniquely Korean, although depicted with imported Chinese artistic motifs, which are clearly explained in this volume. Its various cultural roles and manifestations … [Read More]

Culture and the State in Late Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: Investigating the late sixteenth through the nineteenth century, this work looks at the shifting boundaries between the Chosŏn state and the adherents of Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and popular religions. Seeking to define the meaning and constitutive elements of the hegemonic group and a particular marginalized community in this Confucian state, the … [Read More]

The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment: Korean Buddhism’s Guide to Meditation (with Commentary by the Son Monk Kihwa)

From the publisher’s website: A concise guide to the key practice systems of the East Asian Meditational schools Ch’an, Son, and Zen. The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, used in monastic education for more than a millennium, is a concise guide to the key paradigms of the practice systems of the East Asian meditational schools (Ch’an, Son, and … [Read More]

Beyond Self: 108 Korean Zen Poems

Korea’s premier poet, the former Buddhist monk Ko Un, presents 108 Zen poems. From these poems we can taste hear, smell and see the life of Ko Un, who is affectionately called “the great mountain peak” by his friends. Note: this collection was subsequently updated and republished as What? in 2008 [Read More]

Buddhism in the Early Choson: Suppression and Transformation

From the publisher’s website: Contrary to the Buddhism in the Koryo period, Buddhism in the early Choson period suffered from a great deal of suppression. The society was dominated by the Confucian elite and there was little power or financial resources available to the Buddhists. The monasteries were struggling. Nevertheless, out of this community, came … [Read More]