Book review: Christopher Lovins on King Chŏngjo

Thus far this year I’ve been focusing on literature in translation. As I wait for the next major wave of publications to hit the shops, I’ve turned my attention to non-fiction. And the first title I reached for was Christopher Lovins’s King Chŏngjo: An Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea, which came out in paperback […]

2018 travel diary 3 – The Smile of Baekje

10 – 11 November 2018. My trips to Korea are usually preceded by a hurried piece of research on the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) website trying to find out what notable items of tangible or intangible heritage, or what other historic or scenic sites there might be, to attract an inquisitive traveller to the places […]

Festival film review: Becoming who I was

Nine years ago Moon Chang-yong and Jeon Jin were in Ladakh, Kashmir – a mountainous region 100 miles or so northeast of where the Dalai Lama lives, and less than 50 miles from Tibet’s westernmost extremity. They were filming a documentary about practitioners of traditional medicine in the various regions of Asia. Their subject was […]

Book Review: Robert E Buswell, Jr — The Zen Monastic Experience

Robert E Buswell, Jr: The Zen Monastic Experience – Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea Princeton University Press, 1992, 259pp A curious tourist visiting one of the popular Korean temples will admire the architecture of the buildings; will poke their nose into the main shrine, nervously wondering whether they’re allowed in and if so what is […]

2014 Travel Diary day 3: 사십구재

The 49th-day ceremony (사십구재) for Sena Lee, who died in Seoul on 22 April 2014, held at Anjeoksa, Sancheon-gun, at which family and friends said farewell to her. According to dharma master Tim Lerch,  Traditionally, the period of 49 days after someone dies is seen as a time for that person to check their consciousness and digest their […]