Domesticating the Dharma: Buddhist Cults and the Hwaom by II McBride Richard D.

By II McBride Richard D.

Western scholarship has hitherto defined the assimilation of Buddhism in Korea by way of the importation of Sino-Indian and chinese language highbrow colleges. This has resulted in an overemphasis at the scholastic knowing of Buddhism and missed proof of how Buddhism used to be practiced "on the ground." Domesticating the Dharma presents a much-needed corrective to this view by way of featuring for the 1st time a descriptive research of the cultic practices that outlined and formed the best way Buddhists in Silla Korea understood their faith from the 6th to 10th centuries. Critiquing the traditional two-tiered version of "elite" as opposed to "popular" faith, Richard McBride demonstrates how the eminent clergymen, royalty, and hereditary aristocrats of Silla have been the first proponents of Buddhist cults and that wealthy and various practices unfold to the typical humans due to their influence.Drawing on Buddhist hagiography, conventional narratives, historic anecdotes, and epigraphy, McBride describes the seminal function of the worship of Buddhist deities--in specific the Buddha ??kyamuni, the long run buddha Maitreya, and the bodhisattva Avalokite?vara--in the domestication of the faith at the Korean peninsula and using imagery from the Maitreya cult to create a symbiosis among the local non secular observances of Silla and people being imported from the chinese language cultural sphere. He indicates how in flip Buddhist imagery remodeled Silla intellectually, geographically, and spatially to symbolize a Buddha land and sacred destinations designated within the Avatasaka S?tra (Huayan jing/Hwa?m ky?ng). Emphasizing the significance of the interconnected imaginative and prescient of the universe defined within the Avatasaka S?tra, McBride depicts the synthesis of Buddhist cults and cultic practices that flourished in Silla Korea with the practice-oriented Hwa?m culture from the 8 to 10th centuries and its next upward push to a uniquely Korean cult of the Divine meeting defined in scripture.Given its ground-breaking process, Domesticating the Dharma might be very important not just for college students and students of Korean heritage and faith and East Asian Buddhism, but additionally extra typically for historians drawn to how features of patronage, ritual tactics, and devotional show display overarching similarities among varied spiritual traditions.

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Extra resources for Domesticating the Dharma: Buddhist Cults and the Hwaom Synthesis in Silla Korea

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The important issue at hand is that some influential people of Silla presented this as the truth during the seventh and eighth centuries. Faithful Buddhists developed these stories as a means of adding symbolic value to the monasteries they were constructing while Buddhist culture prospered in Silla. 49 This inscription also provides evidence for the way in which cultic sites associated with Silla’s indigenous gods and spirits may have been transformed into protectors of the Buddhadharma as Buddhism grew in power and prestige on the peninsula.

If Silla did send diplomats to China, they usually tagged along with the envoys from Paekche or Koguryŏ. The Silla state, however, was moving into a period of great expansion, lasting from about 514 through 780, which coincides with the early period of the domestication of Buddhism. This important transitional period of Silla history also included the amassing of territory, the forging of political and cultural links with China, the rise of authoritarian rule by Silla kings, the assimilation of the confederated Kaya states (532–562), and the conquest of Paekche (660) and Koguryŏ (668) with the aid of Tang China.

Buddhism and the Royalty of Silla When King Pŏphŭng ascended the throne in 514, his attempt to fashion royal support for Buddhism can be seen as one of several actions directed at developing his symbolic resources to enhance royal prestige at the expense of the aristocrats. 9 According to tradition, he wanted to construct a Buddhist monastery as well, and he clandestinely planned with the Buddhist Pak Yŏmch’ok (Ich’adon), a young, low-ranking official, to construct such a structure. They both knew that the aristocrats would strongly oppose construction of the monastery, but Pak, as the earliest version of the story goes, persuaded the king that he would be able to perform a miracle that would ultimately remove all opposition.

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