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Korea Philosophy/Religion!

Discuss Korean philosophy and Korea's native religions.

Korea Philosophy/Religion!

Postby Ulver_684 » November 6th, 2007 1:28 pm

:nkorea:
:skorea:

I want to know more about Korea philosophy/religion! Do Koreans have a religion like we catholics or do they are the same has Chinese and Japanese that have the budism :? How about their philosophy, is it like the western philosophy:?

Any more information will be really appreciated, thanks! :wink:
Last edited by Ulver_684 on December 20th, 2007 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby steved » November 6th, 2007 1:43 pm

Korea has some unique religious blends. It has significant Confusious roots that are evident today but Buddhism as well as Christianity are fairly ubiquitous.
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Postby Ulver_684 » November 14th, 2007 1:10 pm

steved wrote:Korea has some unique religious blends. It has significant Confusious roots that are evident today but Buddhism as well as Christianity are fairly ubiquitous.


Steved! :wink:

Are there any books that talk about Korean Religion and Philosophy :?

I'm really interest to know more about Korea believes! 8) :D
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Postby sinnae404 » February 25th, 2008 6:34 pm

I found that a number of different religious beliefs exist, underlying all of which are the Confuscian principles that seem to form the basis of 'good manners' in Korean society (respect based on age, collectivist attitudes etc).

A straw poll of my students showed roughly equal proportions of Christian, Buddhist and 'no religion' (though I think it's really more like 25%, 25% and 50%). The Christians seem to be the most 'religious' - we often got asked to church and Christian people seemed more interested in talking religion. Many buddhist people I met were Buddhist more for reasons of family heritage than anything else.

Please note, these were my observations only! I could be very wrong!

But what I really liked was the principle of 'jeong'. Our boss tried to to describe it to us on our last night in Seoul - I think an English equivilent doesn't exist but it means a bond of affection that can exist between friends, students and teachers, workmates or pretty much anyone. What a great concept!
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Postby Keith » February 26th, 2008 1:38 pm

Thanks for pointing that out Sinnae! 정 (jeong) is an extremely great concept! I love it! Even though I probably don't have a full understanding of it myself! I think 정 (jeong) will be a great culture class to do. Thanks for bringing that up sinnae! :D
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Postby the_haunted_boy » February 28th, 2008 7:17 am

Keith wrote:Thanks for pointing that out Sinnae! 정 (jeong) is an extremely great concept! I love it! Even though I probably don't have a full understanding of it myself! I think 정 (jeong) will be a great culture class to do. Thanks for bringing that up sinnae! :D

We do need more culture classes! :D We are all doing so well in the language but there have not been a lot of culture classes in a long time.
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Postby Ulver_684 » March 6th, 2008 2:55 pm

sinnae404 wrote:I found that a number of different religious beliefs exist, underlying all of which are the Confuscian principles that seem to form the basis of 'good manners' in Korean society (respect based on age, collectivist attitudes etc).

A straw poll of my students showed roughly equal proportions of Christian, Buddhist and 'no religion' (though I think it's really more like 25%, 25% and 50%). The Christians seem to be the most 'religious' - we often got asked to church and Christian people seemed more interested in talking religion. Many buddhist people I met were Buddhist more for reasons of family heritage than anything else.

Please note, these were my observations only! I could be very wrong!

But what I really liked was the principle of 'jeong'. Our boss tried to to describe it to us on our last night in Seoul - I think an English equivilent doesn't exist but it means a bond of affection that can exist between friends, students and teachers, workmates or pretty much anyone. What a great concept!


Hello there everyone!

Thank you for the replies and interest! :D
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Postby matthew254 » May 10th, 2008 1:27 pm

Great book, terrible title: The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies by Michael Breen ISBN 13 - 978-0312326098
http://www.amazon.com/Koreans-They-Wher ... 491&sr=8-1

talks about history, religion, philosophy, etc. a great read but I really must emphasize how bad of book title this is.... :oops:
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Postby Ulver_684 » May 22nd, 2008 6:53 am

matthew254 wrote:Great book, terrible title: The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies by Michael Breen ISBN 13 - 978-0312326098
http://www.amazon.com/Koreans-They-Wher ... 491&sr=8-1

talks about history, religion, philosophy, etc. a great read but I really must emphasize how bad of book title this is.... :oops:


Matthew254! :wink:

Thank you for the information! 8)
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Postby SiEd » July 6th, 2008 6:31 am

Keith wrote:Thanks for pointing that out Sinnae! 정 (jeong) is an extremely great concept! I love it! Even though I probably don't have a full understanding of it myself! I think 정 (jeong) will be a great culture class to do. Thanks for bringing that up sinnae! :D


Is 정 the Korean version of what a lot of sociologists call "smooth interpersonal relationships"?
"I'm trying to make a pun, but it's not punny."
-Mas Widiyanto
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Postby bleakronnie » May 14th, 2009 10:52 pm

I've heard many Koreans who go to Christian churches do so not because of a concerted denial of Buddhism, but rather because of the convenience of the churches. Anyone who's been to a Korean city knows just how many there are. Look up at night and see red crosses littering the skyline. As another poster mentioned, Buddhism is the more traditional religion, but Christianity seems to be more active and popular... well more missionary if you know what I mean.
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Postby shanshanchua » May 15th, 2009 12:38 am

Hey, wasn't there a culture class on 정?? Keith - I remember you were one of the hosts!

ok, found the link:
http://www.koreanclass101.com/index.php?p=309

But yeah, I like culture classes. More if possible, please! :D
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Postby dmclean6354604 » October 20th, 2011 8:46 am

Replying to the original question: Korean religion and philosophy have much in common with China and East Asian culture. Korea historically has drawn a lot from Chinese culture, and not surprisingly this is true of religion too.

Buddhism is an imported religion from India, via China, but took root in Korea many centuries ago, and has its fair share of ups and downs. The main surviving sect of Korean Buddhism to survive persecution in the 20th and 19th centuries is the Jogye Order, a descendant of old Seon Buddhism (related to Zen and Chan Buddhism). The Jogye Order is complemented by other related sects with a more lay-oriented focus.

Confucianism has had a tremendous impact on East Asian culture, and helps govern a lot of social customs:
* Respect for protocol
* Group consciousness (including hierarchy), including putting the family first
* Appreciation of study (including teachers) and cultivation of the arts

Confucianism and Buddhism have rarely overlapped historically, so the two often co-exist side by side and thus most Koreans were Confucian in terms of social ethics and manners, but Buddhist in terms of religion and after-life. With the rise of Neo-Confucianism during the Joseon Dynasty (which still has a big impact on Korea today), Buddhism lost out and gradually suffered persecution.

Finally with European contacts, Christianity came to Korea as well, and also competed with Buddhist and Neo-Confucian elements because of the greater overlap in terms of salvation, afterlife, etc. As Buddhism declined (described above), Christianity made inroads into Korean society.

Thus, Korea today tends to exist as a kind of balance of all three. Confucian culture pervades much of Korean life, but people are also usually either Buddhist or Christian (not both), while New-Age religions have also arisen and draw elements from the traditional religions. Both Buddhism and Christianity often get involved in political struggles in the newly-emerging post-colonial Korea, thus tensions do exist at the political level depending on whether the President is Buddhist or Christian. However, at day-to-day level, they co-exist just fine.

Hope that helps
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