Different academic disciplines have divergent views on late Chosŏn Buddhism. Many literature scholars and art historians reject the idea that Chosŏn elite travelers could be Buddhist pilgrims, maintaining that the elite justified their trips to Buddhist pilgrimage sites by citing Daoist and Neo-Confucian ideas. Specialists in Korean history and religions, on the other hand, argue that Chosŏn literati were involved with Buddhism in various forms, showing more than philosophical interest in Buddhist doctrine. Pursuing a multi-disciplinary approach that combines art historical and literary evidence while considering the latest historical and religious studies research, this article introduces rarely studied material revealing the wide range of Chosŏn-period Buddhist travelers and their motives for going to Kŭmgangsan. Finally, it focuses on a site-specific analysis of Myogilsang in Inner Kŭmgang, which indicates that at least in some cases routine Buddhist practices were part of a scholar's life. The research presented confirms the popularity of Kŭmgangsan as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in late Chosŏn Korea, supplementing Daoist and Neo-Confucian narratives that currently predominate art history and literature scholarship.


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pp. 135-172
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