This article critically reflects on the Chogye Order's campaign to "illuminate the world" with Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗虚 (1089-1163)'s Keyword Meditation (KWM). According to thenarrative backing that crusade, KWM is the most effective technique to achieve awakening, and Korea's KWM tradition-because it has been transmitted without interruption since its introduction in the peninsula-is unique and homogenous. Therefore, KWM is defined as the hallmark of Korean Buddhism. It is against a backdrop of fierce national and international competition, which has given rise to an identity quest, that this narrative has taken shape. By strictly identifying itself and Korean Buddhism with both the orthodoxy and the orthopraxis of Dahui Zonggao's teachings, the Chogye Order is attempting to create a differentiation point that will allow it to compete with its national and international rivals. Although powerful, this narrative tends to ignore that KWM is the result of a long and complex historical process. It also forgets that, far from standing in the middle of the blue since its birth, KWM has remained part and parcel of a history which keeps unfolding-both within and beyond East Asia. The result of such an interpretation is an overall hermeneutical rigidity, which translates into "Hwadu 話頭 Absolutism" and a fully fledged reenacting of the "rhetoric of immediacy." Both not only render dialogue between practitioners and scholars impossible, but also compromise the possibility of adapting KWM to the contemporary world.


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pp. 75-105
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