Please answer any THREE of the following questions. I expect each essay to be cogently argued and impeccably crafted; each essay should be in the 5-7 page range. Please refer to the assigned and on-line readings from the course (either as interlinear references or as footnotes), to bolster your argument and to demonstrate your mastery of the material.Citations of Wikipedia and other Internet sources will not be considered adequate references.
@ Robert Buswell. Tracing Back the Radiance: Chinul’s Korean Way of Zen. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983/1991. Paperback: ISBN: 9780824832933
@ Robert Buswell. The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea.Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Paperback: ISBN 9780691034775
1) Korean Buddhism is often portrayed as advocating an ecumenical, “synthetic,” or nonsectarian approach to Buddhist thought and practice (so-called t’ong Pulgyo). What evidence do you find from your readings either supporting, or controverting, this portrayal? Refer specifically to the presentations of t’ong Pulgyo thought in Wŏnhyo, Ŭich’ŏn, and Chinul, as well as in modern Korean Buddhism.
2) To what extent may we talk about a uniquely “Korean” form of Buddhist thought and practice? What might be some of the specific features of this putative “Korean” tradition of Buddhism? It would be helpful if you would compare and contrast those features with those you have learned from your readings about the Chinese and Indian traditions of Buddhism.Drawing especially on material in the volume Currents and Countercurrents, what might be some of the issues involved in trying to detail what is “Korean” about “Korean Buddhism”?
3) In many of his works, Chinul advocates a sudden awakening/gradual cultivation (tonochŏmsu) approach to Buddhist soteriology. Describe the major features of this approach, referring in particular to the two types of awakening and his definition of cultivation. Does it seem reasonable to you that awakening can be said to precede religious cultivation? How, if at all, is the practice of kanhwa(“examining the keyword/critical phrase/meditative topic”) meditation, which is usually presumed to follow instead a sudden awakening/sudden cultivation approach, incorporated into Chinul’s preferred soteriological system? Justify your reasoning with specific evidence.
4) In The Zen Monastic Experience(p. 9), Buswell proposes that “Buddhism weaves doctrine, praxis, and lifeway together into an intricate tapestry. In this tapestry, the daily rituals of Buddhism reticulate with its teachings and its practices, each aspect intimately interconnected with the other. The regimens of monastic life . . . therefore interface directly with doctrine and practice.”Evaluate this veracity of this claim from the standpoint of the Korean Buddhist tradition.
5) There is an ongoing debatein the scholarship over whether Wŏn Buddhism (Wŏnbulgyo) should be viewed as a school of mainstream Buddhism or as an indigenous Korean “new” religion. In what ways might Wŏn Buddhism be considered a uniquely Korean variant of Buddhism? In what ways might Wŏn Buddhism be viewed as an independent Korean new religion? Provide specific evidence supporting your conclusions.