Abstract

This paper examines the influence of Christianity in the formation of new Buddhism and the reformation agenda of traditional Buddhism during the first half of the twentieth century in Korea. By new Buddhism, I am specifically referring to Wŏn Buddhism (圓佛敎), established by Sot’aesan Pak Chungbin 少太山 朴重彬 (1891–1943) in 1916. Since its foundation, Wŏn Buddhism has grown into one of the four major religious groups in South Korea, along with traditional Buddhism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. The paper begins by reviewing some of major issues in the Buddhist reform movements and Wŏn Buddhism. It then goes on to detail the formalistic similarities between Wŏn Buddhism and Christianity. The next section examines the visible influences of traditional East Asian religions in Wŏn Buddhism. In its final part, the paper considers Sot’aesan’s approaches to different religious traditions and the eclectic nature of Wŏn Buddhism as a possible model for an interreligious dialogue, to include Buddhist-Christian dialogue.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2167-2040
Print ISSN
2093-7288
Pages
pp. 109-131
Launched on MUSE
2014-06-06
Open Access
No
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