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The Phase and Meaning of Hell Appearing in Gasa(歌辭) in the Late Joseon Era

  • The Studies in Korean Poetry and Culture
  • Abbr : Korean Poetry and Culture
  • 2016, (38), pp.37-69
  • Publisher : The Society of Korean Poetry and Culture
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Kim, Ki-Jong 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study explored the phase of figuration process of hell appearing in Buddhist Gas a and its meaning of the times. According to hell related motifs and content propensity, Buddhist Gasa singing about hell can be divided into the following three types. In the first type there was no hell related motif, there are works in which only poetry words of ‘hell’ appear, and the earliest Buddhist Gasa, Gwisangok in the 17th century and Seowangga and Hoeshimga, etc. come under this type. These works warn hearers who only adhere to mundane affairs and indulged in absorption of tam-jin-chi through poetic words such as Palhan-Palyeol-Dosan-Geomsujiok, etc. The second type contains works of describing reasons of ‘punishment’ and phases. Those Gasa under this type introduce various kinds of hells, and describe painful figures in different hells in detail. Works containing all of motives of ‘a journey to the other world,’ ‘judges of ten kings of hell’ and ‘punishment of hell’ come under the third type. Among these types of work s, ‘Hoeshimgok’ style Buddhist Gasa distinguish male and female from convicts receiving Siwang’s judge in a work. Virtues of good deeds and items of evil deeds appearing in these works come under usual ethical principles that should be kept and deterred in Confucian society. It can be said that notable reduction of punishment motifs of hell in ““Hoeshimgok”” style Buddhist Gasa was due to the fact that these Gasa’s directivity and/or Interest lied on these ‘reasons of going to hell.’ Content characteristics above are related with Buddhist world’s realities of groping at the time to survive in Confucian society. The reason that ‘Hoeshimgok’style Gasa in the 19th century emphasizes not ten evils for reasons of going to hell as mainly presented in the Buddhist scriptures and previous Buddhist Gasa, but usual ethical principles that should be kept in Confucian society is not different from a case of transition of the times by reflecting common sense of Neo-Confucian society and pursuing a way of coexistence.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.