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The Conflict and Compromise of Confucianism and Buddhism: Korea’s and Taiwan’s Chinese Buddhism in Intercultural Communication

  • The Journal of Study on Language and Culture of Korea and China
  • Abbr : JSLCKC
  • 2014, (35), pp.443-472
  • DOI : 10.16874/jslckc.2014..35.020
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Study on Chinese Languge and Culture
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Published : June 30, 2014

Park, Young-Hwan 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

I have been thinking of the problem of Korea and Taiwan’s cultural difference ever since I studied abroad in Taiwan for the first time more than 20 years ago. Specific for, how did Taiwan’s Buddhism become flourishing? What’s the difference between Korean society’s and Taiwan society’s Confucian values? Is it connected with Korean society’s exclusiveness and Taiwan society’s inclusiveness? These small macro-problems recurred to me from time to time. And I have tried to discuss on the problems I have been thinking about on the base of these factual situations in these two years. My shallow opinion of The Charm and Influence Enacted by Buddhism in Contemporary Society of Taiwan: Together With Its Similarities and differences with Korean Buddhism had been delivered at the International Symposium of the Religious Retrospect and Prospect at the One Hundred Anniversary of the Founding of ROC which was hosted by Taiwan Association for Religious Studies and held in Academia Sinica on May 14th, 2011. And also in August, 2012 I delivered the Religious thoughts of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism and Taiwan Society at the 32nd International Symposium on Chinese Studies that hosted by Korean Association of Chinese Studies and held at Yonsei University in Korea. The reason of the big differences between Taiwan’s and Korea’s Chinese Buddhism has been further discussed on the base of existing studies in this essay. This is a very interesting and important subject. The textual research has been made from four aspects which include the analysis of Taiwan Buddhism and Korean Buddhism’s developing process from the view point of Confucianism and Buddhism’s conflict and compromise, what actually are the reason of Taiwan Chinese Buddhism’s prosperity, and the research of Chinese Buddhism’s developing process in Korea. Firstly, the different religious values between Korean scholar-officials and Ming dynasty’s officials is analyzed through the 16th century’s cultural records of Fujian Min district which is one root of Taiwan’s culture in order to realize that Ming dynasty’s officials held inclusive religious value that is a mélange of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism; but Korean officials held exclusive religious values that is the overwhelming Confucianism and the attack on heresies. Secondly, the value that Confucianism occupies the central position and Buddhism plays subsidiary role was still kept on the base of the combination of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism in Taiwan district during the late Ming and early Qing periods; However, in Korean Dynasty not only the value of Neo-Confucianism was kept from the beginning to the end, but also the views that were different from Neo-Confucianism were always intolerant. Thirdly, the consciousness of rebelling against tradition was appeared in Taiwan’s Buddhist circle during the period of Japanese occupation which not only made firm position for women’s independence, but also raised Buddhism’s position and narrowed down the distance between Confucian scholars and monks; During this period although the modern trend of establishing new educational institutions was appeared in Korean Buddhist circle, Korean Buddhism was essentially dependent on Japanese Buddhism as to seek Korean Buddhism’s revival and development. As this dependence became stronger and stronger, the opposition and dispute between anti-national Japanolatry “Educational Institute”’s mainstream power and “General Affairs Office”’s nonofficeholding power which emphasized nationality and independence was appeared. Finally, owing to Taiwan culture and scholar thought’s pluralism, extremely conservative values and traditions of Neo-Confucianism weaker and weaker gradually so as to make room for the contemporary development of Taiwan’s modern Buddhism. But in Korea, the centralized Buddhist system and thought that started from the Joseon dynasty and based on Confucianism’s great unity ideology had been continued and caused the phenomenon which was unfavorable for Buddhist development. In light of this, this kind of centralized system has comparatively many negative factors to affect Korean Buddhism’s overall development and is not fit for the contemporary pluralistic age. As for pluralism and centralization, this is not only a very interesting phenomenon, but also the biggest advantage to Taiwan society and the biggest shortage to Korean society.

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