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Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China$
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N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867812

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.001.0001

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Martial Monks without Borders

Martial Monks without Borders

Was Sinseong a Traitor or Did He Open the Gate to a Pan-Asian Buddhist Realm?

(p.231) 13 Martial Monks without Borders
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

Kelly Carlton

University of Hawai'i Press

The once formidable Korean kingdom of Goguryeo fell to invading Tang China after a Buddhist monk-general, Sinseong 信誠‎, furtively opened the gate to its besieged capital from within. Sinseong’s treachery, contravention of Buddhist monastic proscriptions, and subversion of longstanding martial codes are nevertheless graciously rendered in nearly every available Chinese and Korean historical record. This chapter seeks to examine the oscillating judgments of Sinseong’s bad behavior as the product of political—rather than purely moral—factors, as well as reassess Sinseong’s own perspective of his culpability as a compassionate collusion to extend Buddhism across borders.

Keywords:   Tang-Goguryeo war, Sinseong 信誠, Tang Gaozong 唐高宗, martial monks, traitor monks, State-samgha relations, pan-Asian Buddhism

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