Quiet-sitting (chŏngjwa) has been mentioned throughout the Chosŏn dynasty as a key part of the Neo-Confucian self-cultivation process. However, we see very few references to it, and what we find is mostly on the philosophical aspect and the meditation's goals in terms of li and ki. We are left without any manuals or treatises on the actual technical aspects of the meditation. Is it practiced alone or in groups? Does it require a special form of sitting or breathing? When compared with other meditation forms, whether Buddhist Sŏn or Daoist toin, there is an unusual gap in our knowledge. This study is therefore a form of detective inquiry, attempting to piece together the nitty-gritty details of quiet-sitting through its odd references in letters, poems, and memoirs. Furthermore, I argue that it is quiet-sitting's relatively low importance that allowed individuals to adapt it to their own needs, stressing its free form and borrowing techniques from other traditions as needed. This makes quiet-sitting a prime example of the porous boundaries of Korean spiritual traditions.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 73-96
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.