London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Numinous Awareness is Never Dark: The Korean Buddhist Master Chinul’s Excerpts on Zen Practice

From the publisher’s website: Numinous Awareness Is Never Dark examines the issue of whether enlightenment in Zen Buddhism is sudden or gradual—that is, something intrinsic to the mind that is achieved in a sudden flash of insight or something extrinsic to it that must be developed through a sequential series of practices. This “sudden/gradual issue” was … [Read More]

The Analects of Dasan – A Korean Syncretic Reading (four volumes)

From the publisher’s website: With extensive research and creative interpretations, Dasan’s Noneo gogeum ju (Old and New Commentaries of the Analects) has been evaluated in the academia of Korean Studies as a crystallization of his studies on the Confucian classics. Dasan (Jeong Yak-yong: 1762-1836) attempted through this book to synthesize and overcome the lengthy scholarly tradition of … [Read More]

Classical Writings of Korean Women

This work is a collection of essays travelogues written by women during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The work ranges from a eulogy for a broken needle to a travelogue describing various trips to scenic spots on the Korean peninsula, including to the Keum-Gang Mountains. Now available in English, this collection gives us a sampler of … [Read More]

Seeking Order in a Tumultuous Age: The Writings of Chŏng Tojŏn, a Korean Neo-Confucian

From the publisher’s website: Chŏng Tojŏn, one of the most influential thinkers in Korean history, played a leading role in the establishment of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910). Long recognized for his contributions to the development of Neo-Confucianism in Korea, Chŏng was both a prodigious writer and an influential statesman before being murdered in a political … [Read More]

A Chinese Traveler in Medieval Korea: Xu Jing’s Illustrated Account of the Xuanhe Embassy to Koryŏ

From the publisher’s website: “The king and ministers, superior and inferior, move with ritual and refinement. When the king goes on an inspection tour, everyone has the correct ceremonial attributes and the divine flag [troops] gallop in front while armored soldiers block the road. The soldiers of the Six Divisions all hold their attributes. Although … [Read More]

A Korean Confucian Way of Life and Thought: The Chasŏngnok (Record of Self-Reflection) by Yi Hwang (T’oegye)

From the publisher’s website: Yi Hwang (1501–1570)—best known by his literary name, T’oegye—is one of the most eminent thinkers in the history of East Asian philosophy and religion. His Chasŏngnok (Record of self-reflection) is a superb Korean Neo-Confucian text: an eloquent collection of twenty-two scholarly letters and four essays written to his close disciples and junior colleagues. … [Read More]

Korea’s Great Buddhist-Confucian Debate: The Treatises of Chŏng Tojŏn (Sambong) and Hamhŏ Tŭkt’ong (Kihwa)

This volume makes available in English the seminal treatises in Korea’s greatest interreligious debate of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. On Mind, Material Force, and Principle and An Array of Critiques of Buddhism by Confucian statesman Chŏng Tojŏn (1342–1398) and Exposition of Orthodoxy by Sŏn monk Kihwa (1376–1433) are presented here with extensive annotation. A substantial introduction provides a summary and … [Read More]

A Handbook of Korean Zen Practice: A Mirror on the Sŏn School of Buddhism

From the publisher’s website: Sŏn (Japanese Zen) has been the dominant form of Buddhism in Korea from medieval times to the present. A Handbook of Korean Zen Practice: A Mirror on the Sŏn School of Buddhism (Sŏn’ga kwigam) was the most popular guide for Sŏn practice and life ever published in Korea and helped restore Buddhism to … [Read More]

The Annals of King T’aejo: Founder of Korea’s Chosŏn Dynasty

From the publisher’s website: Never before translated into English, this official history of the reign of King T’aejo—founder of Korea’s long, illustrious Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910 CE)—is a unique resource for reconstructing life in late-fourteenth-century Korea. Its narrative of a ruler’s rise to power includes a wealth of detail not just about politics and war but … [Read More]

A Korean War Captive in Japan, 1597–1600: The Writings of Kang Hang

From the publisher’s website: Kang Hang was a Korean scholar-official taken prisoner in 1597 by an invading Japanese army during the Imjin War of 1592–1598. While in captivity in Japan, Kang recorded his thoughts on human civilization, war, and the enemy’s culture and society, acting in effect as a spy for his king. Arranged and … [Read More]

Korean Tea Classics by Hanjae Yi Mok and the Venerable Cho-ui

Publisher description: Three ancient texts expressing the essence of the Korean Way of Tea are here translated into English for the first time. The oldest, ChaBu (Rhapsody to Tea), by Hanjae Yi Mok (1471-1498), is a sophisticated and delicate celebration of tea. The author was a scholar of considerable attainments who died far too early. … [Read More]

Miracles in Korea

Miracles in Korea is a collection of thirty-eight stories about Korean mountain wizards, Taoist hermits with supernatural powers, divine Taoists, and divine beings, who enjoy perennial youth, longevity, and immortality, and sometimes ascend to heaven. Its author, Hong Manjong (1643-1725), drew upon A Survey of the Geography of Korea and several unauthorized chronicles and compiled … [Read More]

Admonitions on Governing the People: Manual for All Administrators

From the publisher’s website: This is the first English translation of one of Korea’s most celebrated historical works, a pre-modern classic so well known to Koreans that it has inspired contemporary literature and television. Written in 1821 by Chong Yagyong (Tasan), Admonitions on Governing the People (Mongmin simso) is a detailed manual for district magistrates on how … [Read More]

Jehol Diary

This is the first translation into English of the eighteenth-century Korean masterpiece entitled Yŏrha ilgi (‘The Jehol Diary’) by Pak Chiwŏn (1737-1805). The original text was written in classical Chinese and is a notoriously difficult work to translate. Pak Chiwŏn diarises the experiences of his remarkable overland journey on horseback from the northern border region of … [Read More]

Toegye and Gobong Write Letters

From the publisher’s website: Toegye and Gobong Write Letters is a unique look into the lives of two prominent Confucius scholars. This special edition of their letters highlights their personal struggles as civil servants and scholars. Set in the backdrop of the Four Seven debate, the greatest philosophical debate in Korean neo-Confucianism, these poignant letters have … [Read More]

The Book of Corrections: Reflections on the National Crisis During the Japanese Invasion of Korea, 1592-1598

The Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, known as the Imjin War, was one of the most tragic and traumatic experiences in Korean history. The magnitude of this tragedy was unprecedented. Hundreds of thousands died, and the country was devastated. It took many years for Korea to recover. Looking back upon this tragedy from start … [Read More]