Must Read Texts for Buddhists (Pulcha p’illam 佛子必覽) is a compendium of Korean Buddhist ceremonial texts that was compiled and published in 1931 by Ch’oe Ch’wihŏ 崔就墟 (1865–d. after 1940) and An Sŏgyŏn 安錫淵 (1880–1965). It was the first attempt to systematize and modernize the Buddhist rituals performed by Koreans since the publication of Kŭngsŏn’s 亙璇 (1767–1862) Models for Making Ceremonial Actions (Chakpŏp kwigam 作法龜鑑) in 1826. Although its importance is usually overshadowed in historical memory by its successor text, An Chinho’s Buddhist Rituals (Sŏngmun ŭibŏm 釋門儀範), which was first published in 1935, Must Read Texts for Buddhists established a pattern that made Buddhist rituals accessible to lay Buddhists by presenting the liturgical material in the original Sino-Korean graphs and transcription in the Korean vernacular script. It was a practical and essential manual for both lay and monastic Buddhists in its articulation of appropriate ritual for the gamut of Buddhist practice associated with all the major and minor figures venerated in most monasteries, temples, and shrines. More important, the compilation reveals the central role of dhāraṇī and mantra in the everyday practice of Korean Buddhism, the pervasiveness of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra and the Hwaŏm cult, and the rise in importance of the Amitābha cult—all positions inherited from the late Chosŏn period. Thus, Must Read Texts for Buddhists provides a compelling snapshot of Buddhist ritual and devotional practice as imagined by leading propagators and scholars of Buddhism in colonial-period Korea.


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pp. 83-122
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