Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean BuddhismThe Collected Works of Uich'on

Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean BuddhismThe Collected Works of Uich'on

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780824867430

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press

Abstract

Ŭich’ŏn (1055–1101) is one of the most important figures in Koryŏ Buddhism. He was a staunch proponent of doctrinal Buddhism and the intellectual heritage of East Asia. Although Ŭich’ŏn had been educated as an adherent of the Hwaŏm (Huayan) school, he reportedly left it to found a new Ch’ŏnt’ae (Tiantai) school in Korea after a pilgrimage to China in 1085–1086. After his death, his disciples compiled his collected works. This monograph is a translation of selections from his collected works, which demonstrate that Ŭich’ŏn did not abandon the Hwaŏm school. Instead, the lectures, letters, essays, and poetry compiled his Ŭich’ŏn’s The Collected Works of State Preceptor Taegak portray a monk committed to the interfusion of doctrinal learning and meditative visualization. Ŭich’ŏn maintained a closer relationship with his Chinese mentor Jinshui Jingyuan (1011–1088) and other colleagues in the Chinese Huayan school than with monastic associates in the Tiantai school. Ŭich’ŏn’s personal writings do not support the view that Ŭich’ŏn abandoned the Hwaŏm tradition to found a new Ch’ŏnt’ae tradition, but rather that he strongly encouraged monks to blend the best learning from all doctrinal traditions with meditative contemplation.