Mountain Monasteries & Metropolitan Meditation Centers: A Century of Buddhist Propagation in Modern Korea


Monday, February 10, 2014, 5:15pm to 6:30pm


Common Room, Center for the Study of World Religions, 42 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Religious Identities in Asia Series

Mark Nathan
Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

In recent years, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism has been promoting a form of Seon (Zen) meditation that was primarily the preserve of a select group of monks and nuns at mountain monasteries in the past as a popular practice among the laity. It has established two new multi-million dollar international meditation centers in Seoul where lay people can learn and practice ganhwa seon, held several large international conferences that bring together practitioners and academics, and attempted to train people as instructors in the practice for lay people. This talk will place these and other recent developments within a broader historical and religious context in which a pronounced emphasis on propagating Buddhism among ordinary people in the cities and urban areas of twentieth-century Korea has been used as a means of reforming the religion in the modern era.

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Jointly sponsored with the Harvard Asia Center and the Center for the Study of World Religions