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The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea

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The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this insightful account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice. In discussing the activities of the postulants, the meditation monks, the teachers and administrators, and the support monks of the monastery of Songgwang-sa, Buswell reveals a religious tradition that differs radically from the stereotype prevalent in the West. The author's treatment lucidly relates contemporary Zen practice to the historical development of the tradition and to Korean history more generally, and his portrayal of the life of modern Zen monks in Korea provides an innovative and provocative look at Zen from the inside.

Synopsis:

Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this insightful account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice. Buswell's depiction of Zen reveals a religious tradition that differs radically from the stereotype prevalent in the West. Westerners exposed to Zen through English-language materials have been offered a picture of an iconoclastic religion that is bibliophobic, institutionally subversive, aesthetically sophisticated, devoted to manual labor, and intent solely on sudden enlightenment. Its most revered teachers are depicted as torching their sacred religious icons, bullying their students into enlightenment, rejecting the value of all the scriptures of Buddhism, and even denying the worth of Zen itself. In discussing the activities of the postulants, the meditation monks, the teachers and administrators, and the support monks of Song-gwang-sa, a major Korean Buddhist monastery, Buswell challenges much of this picture. In the "counterparadigm" of Zen offered in the daily lives of the monks, Zen's putative iconoclasts are replaced by resolute members of a community dedicated to a methodical regimen of spiritual training. Zen's apparent bibliophobia pales to reveal contemplatives learned in classical Chinese and often having extensive experience in Buddhist seminaries. And the brash challenge allegedly made to systematizations of religion, even to Zen itself, fades before monks with strong faith in the arduous way of life they have undertaken. The author's treatment lucidly relates contemporary Zen practice to the historical development of the tradition and to Korean history more generally, and his intimate, sympatheticportrayal of the life of modern Zen monks in Korea provides an innovative and provocative look at Zen from the inside.

Table of Contents

List of Plates
Preface
Conventions Used
Introduction: Zen Monasticism and the Context of Belief3
Ch. 1Buddhism in Contemporary Korea21
Ch. 2Daily and Annual Schedules37
Ch. 3Songgwang-Sa and Master Kusan49
Ch. 4A Monk's Early Career69
Ch. 5The Support Division of the Monastery107
Ch. 6Relations with the Laity135
Chronology of the Puril Hoe147
Ch. 7The Practice of Zen Meditation in Korea149
Ch. 8Training in the Meditation Hall161
Ch. 9The Officers of the Meditation Compound203
Conclusion: Toward a Reappraisal of Zen Religious Experience217
Epilogue: Songgwang-sa after Kusan224
Appendix: Principal Chants Used in Korean Monasteries229
Glossary of Sinitic Logographs243
Works Cited253
Index265

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691034775
Author:
Buswell, Robert E.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
B
Author:
Buswell, Robert E., Jr. JR. JR.
Author:
Buswell, Robert E., Jr. JR. JR.
Author:
uswell, Robert E., Jr.
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Buddhism
Subject:
Zen
Subject:
Korea
Subject:
Buddhism - General
Subject:
Eastern - Zen
Subject:
Mind, Body & Spirit
Subject:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
November 1993
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 halftones
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 15 oz

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » Zen Buddhism
Religion » Eastern Religions » Japanese Philosophy

The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea New Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691034775 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this insightful account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice. Buswell's depiction of Zen reveals a religious tradition that differs radically from the stereotype prevalent in the West. Westerners exposed to Zen through English-language materials have been offered a picture of an iconoclastic religion that is bibliophobic, institutionally subversive, aesthetically sophisticated, devoted to manual labor, and intent solely on sudden enlightenment. Its most revered teachers are depicted as torching their sacred religious icons, bullying their students into enlightenment, rejecting the value of all the scriptures of Buddhism, and even denying the worth of Zen itself. In discussing the activities of the postulants, the meditation monks, the teachers and administrators, and the support monks of Song-gwang-sa, a major Korean Buddhist monastery, Buswell challenges much of this picture. In the "counterparadigm" of Zen offered in the daily lives of the monks, Zen's putative iconoclasts are replaced by resolute members of a community dedicated to a methodical regimen of spiritual training. Zen's apparent bibliophobia pales to reveal contemplatives learned in classical Chinese and often having extensive experience in Buddhist seminaries. And the brash challenge allegedly made to systematizations of religion, even to Zen itself, fades before monks with strong faith in the arduous way of life they have undertaken. The author's treatment lucidly relates contemporary Zen practice to the historical development of the tradition and to Korean history more generally, and his intimate, sympatheticportrayal of the life of modern Zen monks in Korea provides an innovative and provocative look at Zen from the inside.
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