[KS] Three topics - Re: Senyeon-ga; Dan'gun discourse; teaching Buddhist history

Maya Stiller geumgangsan at gmail.com
Mon Sep 7 14:39:23 EDT 2015

Dear Andrew,

As for teaching early Korean Buddhist history, you might want to
consider incorporating Buddhist art and material culture into your
syllabus. In my classes, I generally assign some books on
Buddhist philosophy and theory as well as articles from the Journal
of Korean Religions (available on Project MUSE), and portions of the
following articles/books:

Ide Seinosuke. “The world of Goryeo Buddhist painting.” Goryeo
dynasty: Korea’s age of enlightenment, 918 to 1392, ed. Kumja Paik
Kim, 34-47. San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2003.

Kang Woo-bang. “The art of Avatamsaka Sutra in the Unified Silla
period: The sanctuary of Sŏkkuram and Hwaŏm-kyŏng Pyŏnsangdo
(Narrative Portrayal in the Avatamsaka Sutra).” Transmitting the forms
of divinity: Early Buddhist Art from Korea and Japan, ed. Washizuka
Hiromitsu, Park Youngbok, and Kang Woo-bang, 168-177. New York: Japan
Society, 2003.

McBride, Richard. Domesticating the Dharma: Buddhist Cults and the
Hwaŏm Synthesis in Silla Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2008.

Pak Youngsook/Whitfield, Roderick. Handbook of Korean Art: Buddhist
sculpture. London: Laurence King, 2003.

Vermeersch, Sem. The Power of the Buddhas: The politics of Buddhism
during the Koryŏ dynasty (918-1392). Cambridge: Harvard University,

Please feel free to contact me off-list if you have any further
questions (particularly about Buddhist art).

Maya Stiller
mstiller at ku.edu

On 9/7/15, Andrew <zatouichi at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear all,
> Three separate topics/questions.
> 1) *Se'nyeon-ga response*
> Thank-you kindly for the very useful links.
> I've taken the Han Yong-u (韓永愚) 해재 article on the SNY library site, but
> couldn't see the Chin Chaegyo article Sem Vermeesch mentions, but certainly
> I'd be interested.
> At first glance the 歷代世年歌 原本(縮小影印) 외 version also available from the SNU
> library doesn't seem to be the same as the book version I had photographed,
> but I should spend some time looking at it before making assumptions!
> 2)* Dan'gun*
> Because my thesis is a survey of popular historiography focusing on early
> Korea, much of it discusses treatment of Dan'gun. I've developed some of my
> own thoughts/observations on this subject and recently drafted a conference
> paper, a part of which is an attempted response to Breuker's treatment of
> Dan'gun in his *Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea* (2010);
> this is meant only in the spirit of developing (or at least revisiting) the
> discourse, as in all other respects I've found Breuker (2010) - and his
> other writings on historiography - extremely enlightening and infinitely
> more sophisticated than anything I am capable of myself.
> In relation to Korean mythography (and my thesis), I have just been reading
> Gardiner's 1982 Korean Journal articles "The Legends of Koguryŏ" which are
> essentially annotated translations of the primary sources.
> My question is, are there any classic (or recent) articles of this high
> quality that discuss the Hwan'ung-Dan'gun myth? I recognize there has been
> a greater tradition of scholarly interest in the Dongmyeong/Jumong myths
> (going back to Japanese colonial work such as Shiratori's seminal 1938
> article "The Legend of Kin Tung-ming.." in *Memoirs of the Research
> Department of the Toyo Bunko*), no doubt in large part because it is much
> earlier attested mythology; meanwhile Dan'gun has been largely high-jacked
> by pseudo scholarship and modern nationalist discourse, which I imagine has
> turned most people off.
> (If anyone might be interested in my draft paper - although it's rather a
> mess - I would be happy to share it in order to stimulate some discussion
> and ideas).
> 3) *Teaching Buddhist history*
> This term I am teaching an introductory undergraduate course "Premodern
> Korean history" which I last prepared and taught two years ago. Whilst I
> need to revise my notes in general, a point I remember is that I was
> unsatisfied with the narrative of Korean Buddhist history (or rather lack
> of). My problem was, the way I taught it, each of the famous monks seem to
> unify disparate or polarized schools of Buddhist thought at different
> periods, culminating with Jinul (知訥). No doubt this is a shallow
> understanding, so my question is how can I improve on this. How can Korean
> Buddhist history be taught as an interesting narrative? (Recognizing
> developmental narratives maybe artificial - but still useful), or are there
> better approaches? Has anyone else encountered similar problems?
> For reference, I mainly rely on Grayson's *Korea-A Religious History*
> (2002)
> which I find works quite well as a general survey on premodern Korean
> intellectual history (and even Korean history in general); I take a few
> more details from Buswell's works too.
> sincerely
> Andrew Logie
> (Helsinki)

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