441. We have up to now discussed the significance of Dooyeweerd's philosophy by looking at his concept of culture, his transcendental criticism of theoretical thought, his transcendental critique of Western philosophy and culture throughout its history, and further elaborations of his transcendental approach that were intended to make it more relevant to the current Western context. Bearing all these discussions in mind, we are now going to examine whether Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique, mainly developed within a Western context, can be meaningfully applied to oriental thought and culture, especially to that of Korea. If it can, we might conclude that Dooyeweerd's insight, with all the improvements to complement possible deficiencies, can be considered universally valid and in a similar manner appreciated.
442. Korean thinking and civilization have been shaped by four main streams of religious and philosophical experience: shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity. Taoism has been influential in Korea as well but it was mostly mixed with shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Thus Korean philosophy and culture can also be categorized by four religious ground motives, just as is the case with the West according to Dooyeweerd. But the content and character of the three non-Christian motives are not the same as those of the West as mentioned in Dooyeweerd's approach. We will pay attention to the roles that these four major religious motives have played as the driving force and formative power of Korean mind and society. A comparison will be made with the respective Western motives, as well.
443. Discussing Korean thought and culture via its possible religious ground motives in one chapter is not so easy. In spite of the limit of space, however, I will attempt, as a start to sketch the history of Korea in order to determine how we should periodize it. Remarkably, each dynasty had a specific religion as its national philosophy and cultural ground motive in Korean history. Therefore, we might also be able to find and match one ground motive to each corresponding dynasty. Then an attempt will be made to execute the transcendental critique via that motive, investigating how each motive determines the content of the three central ideas and whether dialectical conflicts or any other problems have been manifested whereby one dynasty perished, ushering in another one. Additional attention will also be paid to the coherence and relationship among these motives in order to check whether other tensions can be found among them. After that, we will trace the Christian response to Korean traditional shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism in terms of dialogue and antithesis and investigate how the Christian motive has contributed to the transformation and disclosure of Korean mind and society in the modern age. My concluding remarks will end this chapter, critically evaluating the relevance and validity of Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism, namely to see whether it can be meaningfully applied to the Korean context and if so, in which way and to what extent and if not, what possible reasons might account for that.
444. According to the customary system, the entire course of Korean history is divided into the following six periods: (1) the ancient Chosun period (2333 B.C.-108 B.C.), (2) the Three Kingdoms period: Koguryo (37 B.C.-668 A.D.), Paekche (18 B.C.-660 A.D.), and Shilla (57 B.C.-935 A.D.), (3) the Unified Shilla Kingdom period (668-935), (4) the Koryo Kingdom period (935-1392), (5) the Chosun Kingdom (Yi dynasty) period (1392-1910) and (6) Modern Korea (1910-present).
445. Since the time that the Koreans entered the peninsula five or more thousand years ago, they first established the old Chosun [the land of the morning calm] Kingdom, the first recorded Korean state, which was established by Tangun, a legendary king in 2333 B.C., but abolished in 108 B.C. by the Chinese, who governed it by dividing it into four provinces. During this period, shamanism was the main religious influence dominating the worldview, the way of thinking, and the cultural life-style of the Korean people. Three Korean kingdoms then emerged: Koguryo, Paekche and Shilla. In the fourth century A.D., Buddhism entered Koguryo from China and spread out to the other two kingdoms, absorbing and at the same time compromising with traditional shamanism. By 668 Shilla conquered the other two kingdoms, with Chinese support. An autonomous, united Korea and a close relationship with China endured for over a millennium thereafter.
446. United Korea was ruled by the three royal dynasties: Shilla (Kim dynasty), Koryo (Wang dynasty), and Chosun (Yi dynasty). Shilla gave way to Koryo in 935, and Koryo to Chosun (reviving the ancient kingdom's name) in 1392. Buddhism flourished in the periods of Unified Shilla and Koryo as their national religion as well as the ruling ideology. However, when Buddhism became corrupt and secular at the end of the Koryo period, Confucianism (especially neo-Confucianism of Chu Hsi) became the new state philosophy of Chosun. The Yi dynasty continued for over 500 years, until Japan occupied Korea in 1905 and annexed it in 1910. Neo-Confucianism gradually lost its influence due to party strife, a social inequality structure, and other problems. During Japanese control, Christianity rapidly grew, playing a crucial role in the transformation of Korean traditional thought and culture and in the modernization of Korean society.
447. Japan's defeat in World War II ended its rule of Korea, but Korean independence was deferred by three years of U.S. and Soviet military occupation, during which no agreement was reached as to how independence would be arranged. In the end, two independent states (North and South Korea) emerged out of the respective occupation zones, each reflecting the political ideology of the occupier. The Korean War (1950-1953) broke out shortly after when the communist North invaded the South. Even after an armistice agreement, the two Koreas have continued to confront each other up and into the present day. While Christian churches were almost destroyed in North Korea by the communists, Christianity in South Korea has enjoyed enormous growth, making considerable impact on various areas of Korean community.
448. Shamanism, or spirit worship, as a form of animism, is the earliest Korean folk belief and nature religion. The primitive Koreans were bewildered by the way in which things around them behaved. They began to wonder if other things also had spirits, like humans. As families grew into larger clans and tribes, this sense of wonder was shared by tribal members and the attempt was made to understand reality and to come to terms with it. Their search eventually evolved into a belief that powerful spirits resided in natural forces and in both animate and inanimate objects surrounding them. This system of belief is called shamanism.
449. When we look at the history of religion, however, we find that shamanism is not merely an indigenous religion peculiar to Korea. Rather it is a popular religion spread widely not only in the northern Asiatic hinterland but also in America, Africa and Southern Pacific areas as well. Actually the Korean shaman is not so different from either the North American medicine man or the African witch doctor. But it is a generally accepted view that old shamanism originated in the Mongolian and Siberian countries. Yet, it is very difficult to determine the exact origin of Korean shamanism.(727) This is because the ritual and faith of shaman are extremely complex and diverse in various areas. Furthermore, because shamanism in Korea has been mixed with Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, it becomes too complicated to retrace its exact source.(728) Thus it may be enough to say that the ancestors of the Koreans came from the continent to the peninsula during at the Neolithic age with shamanistic beliefs.(729)
450. Etymologically speaking, `shaman' (mudang in Korean) was the name of the leader of the Siberian Tungus people who was supposed to have had intimate contact with the spirits and led the ecstatic rites. Kim K.J. explains further that in the language of Yeochin, an ancient tribe of Ural-Altaic species, a woman priest who presided over the religious rites was called `shalman' and that the Chinese pronounce it `shaman'.(730)
451. At first, however, Korean people also worshipped Hananim, the one celestial god of the heavenly kingdom, who sent sunlight and the harvest, struck the wicked with lightning, or visited other punishments upon them, and rewarded the good according to their merits. By his favour, Koreans believed, they lived and breathed. Korean shamanistic rituals included a service directed at propitiating Hananim. Thus Korean faith in Hananim was an integral part of the Korean worldview from ancient times.(731)
452. It is necessary, therefore, to make a distinction between the so-called Pungryudo, or Synkyo, and shamanism.(732) The former is the monotheistic belief in Hananim whereas the latter is polytheistic. Interestingly enough, both are typically expressed in the myth of Tangun, the founding story of the Korean nation. Some think that originally the Korean shaman served Hananim alone but later deteriorated by serving many other spirits as well. In order to discuss this issue fully, it is necessary to briefly look at the myth of Tangun. It had been orally transmitted for many generations before it was finally written in Samguk Yusa [Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms] by a Buddhist monk Ilyon at the end of the thirteenth century. The story goes like this:
In ancient times Hwan-in [heavenly King] had a young son whose name was Hwan-ung. The boy wished to descend from heaven and live in the human world. His father, after examining three great mountains, chose Taebaek San as a suitable place for his heavenly son to bring happiness to his human beings. He gave Hwan-ung three heavenly treasures, and commanded him to rule over his people. With three thousand of his loyal subjects Hwan-ung descended from heaven and appeared under a sandalwood tree on Taebaek Mountain. He named the place Sinsi [city of God] and assumed the title of Hwan-ung Chewang [another title meaning heavenly king]. He led his ministers of wind, rain, and cloud in teaching the people more than 360 useful arts, including agriculture and medicine, inculcated moral principles and imposed a code of law. In those days there lived a she-bear and a tigress in the same cave. They prayed to Sin Undo [another name of Hwan-ung] to be blessed with incarnation as human beings. The king took pity on them and gave them each a bunch of mugwort and twenty pieces of garlic, saying, "If you eat this holy food and do not see the sunlight for one hundred days, you will become human beings." The she-bear and the tigress took the food and ate it, and retired into the cave. In twenty-one days the bear, who had faithfully observed the king's instructions, became a woman. But the tigress, who had disobeyed, remained in her original form. But the bear-woman could find no husband, so she prayed under the sandalwood tree to be blessed with child. Hwan-ung heard her prayers and married her. She conceived and bore a son who was called Tangun Wanggom, the King of Sandalwood. In the fiftieth year of the reign of Tang Kao [legendary Chinese emperor Yao, traditional date some time before 2000 B.C.] in the year of Kyong-in, Tangun came to Pyungyang, set up his royal residence there and bestowed the name Chosun upon his kingdom.(733)
453. We find here both monotheistic Hananim belief and polytheistic shamanism. Koreans have been called the Han nation. Han means "one in number or big, great, light, wholeness."(734) In other words, Han stands for the ontological whole from which all individual creatures of the universe have originated. Hananim then is believed to be the personification of Han. The heavenly god, Hananim is numbered as singular but it also means completeness. At the same time, Hananim worship was accompanied by the polytheistic spirits of the wind, rain and clouds. Furthermore, Tangun-Wanggom, the first ruler, was both king and shaman, for Wang means king and gom stands for the priest or shaman. Thus Tangun was the archetype of shamans. The idea of direct linkage of Tangun with the heavenly King led the people to believe in Hananim as the highest of all gods. Perhaps Tangun's worship of his grandfather as the highest god might have been not only the basis for their faith in the one god of Hananim but also the basic motive for the worship of ancestral spirits in later days. Hananim was worshipped as the object of sacrificial rites for the blessings of rain and harvest which were most important for the agricultural people in Korea.(735)
454. The Tangun myth represents a definite hierarchical system of heavenly beings. Hwan-in represents the source of all beings. `Hwan' indicates the world of heavenly realm and `in' suggests the cause of it. Thus `in' implies also the origin of reality. Hwan-ung represents the descendant of the heavenly realm. Thus he occupies the central realm between heaven and earth. Tangun represents the god of earth. That is why he later became the god of the mountain which occupies the centre of the cosmos reaching up into heaven.(736)
455. However, as Lee J.Y. correctly demonstrates, these three ideas of the god of heaven, the god of the middle realm and the god of earth deteriorated in later shamanism.(737) This deterioration was caused by, according to Kim D.H., the influence of magic, divination and the popular cult of Taoism which came to Korea at the end of the Koguryo dynasty in the middle of the seventh century, A.D.(738) This degenerated form of traditional faith is known in our time as the cult of mudang, which has been sustained by the inferior class of people, particularly the women of the lower class. Mudang inherits her profession or otherwise demonstrates special communion with the spirits with her special fortune costumes, song, and dance. Different from other religions, therefore, shamanism emphasizes the instrumental function of the shaman as the "mediator" between the spiritual world and the human world. Mudang has been increasingly more interested in the lesser forms of spiritual being than in the higher forms of heavenly being, in order to meet the immediate desires of men. Consequently, the distinction between the original and deteriorated forms of shamanistic faith is very important in understanding the historical phenomena of Korean shamanism.
456. In the following section, we will analyze first the religious ground motive of Korean shamanism and then from the transcendental critical perspective we will see whether it reveals any dialectical conflicts and other philosophical and cultural problems.
457. As the core of folk religious belief in Korea, shamanism forms one basic root of Korean thought and culture. Then, what would be the basic religious motive of Korean shamanism? It might be typified as "Hananim-nature". The former is the folk religion of the Han people worshipping the one heavenly god whereas the latter is that of serving natural and human spiritual powers. The heavenly god Hananim held the highest position in the successive order of the deities. But as I have mentioned above, the worship of Hananim disappeared gradually and shamanism in Korea has since been dominated by the serving of various spirits as it becomes present-bound and blessing-seeking. In other words, for Korean shamanists the supreme god became too transcendent to be concerned with the personal affairs of the ordinary people, so it lets its lower spirits or gods control these lesser things. To Hananim, shamanists performed only a service of prayers for rain whereas for common daily affairs, they offered prayers and rites to all sorts of gods and spirits that were under the control of Hananim.
458. This motive characterizes the worldview of Korean shamanism. The Korean shamanistic view of the world knows neither a creation story nor an eschatology. Instead, its ontology consists of the three levels of world: the high world, the middle world, and the underworld. The high world, as the world of heaven and light where the highest deity and good spirits reside, is ruled by the sun god, the moon god and the star god, as well as the heavenly god, Hananim. The middle world is the world of man and animals ruled by the earth god, the mountain god and human gods. The underworld is hell, where the evil spirits reside. Accordingly, Korean shamanism has a simple concept of ethics and after-life. It is believed that one ascends into the high world or descends to the underworld according to one's deeds in the present life.
459. As the principle of nature gradually received the priority, shamanism in Korea became more polytheistic in the sense that it understood reality as being filled with a myriad of spirits which can work for good for evil. In general, the spirits or gods of Korean shamanism are classified into two basic categories: natural gods and human gods.(739) The most representative nature gods are earth, water, mountain, and heaven, all of which have a close relationship with human life and well being, not in offering direct answers with respect to the meaning of life, but in saying something through the success of agriculture. These spirits were to be propitiated to avoid evil, controlled or cast out if necessary, and solicited by a shaman to ensure one's health, fertility, fortune and success in life. There is, therefore, a strong emphasis on exorcism, with extensive use of chanting called muga and of various musical instruments.(740)
460. In order to see if the dialectical tension takes place in the Hananim-nature motive, we need to apply Dooyeweerd's transcendental ground idea to Korean shamanism to know how this motive of Hananim-nature determines the content of the three elements of the central ground idea. First, Hananim was worshipped as the transcendent origin of all things. However, he is merely a supreme god who does not interfere with human daily affairs. At the same time, the other inferior spirits have been honoured as well, even though they are not admitted as the origin of temporal reality. They are actually creatures, subject to Hananim. In this sense, Korean shamanism has had much less of a dialectical tension between Hananim worship and nature/ancestor worship than the ancient Greek form-matter motive in Dooyeweerd's analysis because the power of Hananim was fully acknowledged by the lower spirits.
461. As for the idea of unity or totality, the concept of Han might be considered the typical religious mind of the Korean people. According to Ryu T.S., a Korean liberal theologian, the phenomenologically experienced characteristic of Han is as follows:
First, Han is the mind that accommodates the diversity. The idea of Han is the experience with the reality representing the paradoxical oneness of diversity and unity, of one and the many. If the number one is divided, it produces many. If the many is combined, it becomes one. Second, Han is the mind which combines opposite sides into one creative whole. It combines the transcendent and the immanent being, the sacred with the secular, the formative principles with the dynamic actuality. Third, Han is the mind that manifests the truth participating in our present life. It is always concerned with the here and now community. It does not return to the past, nor transcend towards the future. The present here is always the centre of actual reality; without participating in the present life, there is no authentic renewal. Fourth, Han is the mind that combines paradoxically the sacred with the secular in joy and bliss. It is the theonomous way of life combining the simple life of autonomy with the authoritative heteronomy.(741)
462. Korean shamanism views human beings as coming into the world as integral parts of the rhythm of nature and as composed of three elements, namely, life, body, and soul. When one dies, it is believed, one's life becomes extinct and one's body perishes but the soul departs for another world, implying the belief in the immortality of the soul. Shamanists in Korea hold the belief that human death means one's being summoned to the other world, accompanied by a death messenger from it, proclaiming the dead person to live a life there just as he did in this world, and that the soul in the other world may sometimes be able to return to this world. In addition, Korean shamanists have a notion that a person may become a good or evil spirit, depending upon how he dies. Thus the idea of the unity of man in his heart is strange to the shamanism of Korea. The notion of theoretical synthesis cannot be found, either. Actually, theoretical thinking as such is hard to find in Korean shamanism.
463. Concerning the idea of diversity in mutual coherence, Korean shamanism views reality as full of spirits. It is basically animistic polytheism, absolutizing the spiritual or demonic world.(742) Every phenomenon is explained as the intervention of various spirits. It emphasizes, therefore, the mediating role of the shaman. Man and nature form a mutually overlapping whole and time is viewed as a continuum, combining a mixture of change and repetition.(743) Due to its animistic view of reality, therefore, Korean shamanists could not develop abstract, theoretical thinking based on modal aspects. In this sense, it is improper to make a transcendental critique of Korean shamanism as merely a thought critique. Rather the transcendental critical approach should be made mainly through investigating what kinds of problems were brought in by its religious ground motive.
464. As the nature motive began to play a dominant role, Korean shamanism has not led Korean traditional thought and culture in a harmonious unfolding direction but revealed the following problems:(744)
As a pragmatic thought and faith system, first of all, Korean shamanists believe in mystic magic and divination as a means to achieve fortune and avoid misfortune. Thus the shaman's gut [shamanistic rites of exorcism] consists of magic ritual, combined with the mystic experience of possession and ecstasy. Magic is in fact a sort of projective system of mind for those who are directly or indirectly related to it. Divination is a technique of calling spirits. Without it, shamans cannot exercise their authority to command the obedience of their people. Divination has been an important instrument by which Korean people try to gain guidance and consolation in a crisis. Both magic and divination might give some apparent consolation but it obviously stands in the way of the rationalization of thought and the formation of a theoretical and scientific mind. That is why there have been no distinguished Korean shamanist philosophers or scientists.
465. Second, Korean shamanism involves fatalistic determinism. It depends on others or other forces to call for blessings and fortunes. Making no decisions on one's own, a person simply allows the mudang to take charge of eliminating disasters or calamities. Even though it is his own life and destiny, he does not take full responsibility for it but relies on others such as spirits or witches. It means then a complete loss of subjectivity and the allowing of one's self to be governed by mere fatalism. This has bred relinquishment, conservatism and sluggishness in the minds of those who follow it. Therefore, shamanism in Korea could not stimulate technological development based on an objective and logical way of thinking.
466. Third, shamanists in Korea are concerned with seeking simply earthly blessing. The sheer realism and fatalism bring in the long run an immediate satisfaction and realization of their worldly wishes. Korean believers of shamanism are merely interested in enjoying every present moment of their lives and sitting around waiting for a stroke of good fortune, instead of planning and preparing for the future by themselves. This hedonistic attitude is called kibok, praying for the fulfilment of earthly desires. As Yoon Yee-heum rightly points out, "Korean shamanism has blended mystic and worldly attitudes for thousands of years and has been the central force in the maintenance and dissemination of this mystic-worldly attitude in Korean society."(745)
467. Fourth, in connection with the second and third points, Korean shamanistic thinking does not have an appropriate historico-cultural perspective; there is not the slightest consciousness as to the direction, goal, or meaning of human history and culture; what exists is of a cyclic nature, harping always on the same string. Its view of history is therefore not linear but circular and all interests and desires are focused on the here and now. For instance, ancestor worship (chesa) is understandable in this context although it has been mixed up with Confucianism. The practice of chesa has always been conducted within the context of a shamanistic belief system, focusing on the present family receiving worldly blessings. Korean shamanists do not have any interest in the profound root of human existence nor do they plan for the future. Therefore, shamanism in Korea has not left much significant cultural heritage except gut with all its symbols combined by music, dance, costumes and shamanistic narrative.
468. Lastly, therefore, shamanism in Korea lacks a proper ethic. It does not have a code of morality even though it believes in good gods who bring happiness and evil spirits who cause calamity. The good or evil with which shamanists are concerned is not related to any ethical norm whatsoever but merely to economic or material gain, health, success in business, and a long, happy life on this earth. They do not seem to be very much concerned with the idea of sin or justice because Hananim does not appear to care. Thus they refuse to admit their problems as being their own responsibility but rather they repeatedly shift the accountability to other spirits or to their ancestors. This is well expressed in a Korean proverb which says that if everything goes well, it is because I have done well but if the contrary is the case, it is because my forefathers have done something wrong. This kind of attitude results in a sense of irresponsibility and a passive mind-set in difficult situations. In short, Korean shamanism has become thoroughly this- earthly oriented.
469. As we pay attention to the mutual relationship between Korean shamanism and other religious thinking, we find that Korean shamanism, in its development, has been very compromising with respect to other religions. Before other major religions were introduced to Korea, shamanistic thinking and faith had permeated almost every sphere of the Korean mind and society. It is quite sure that shamanism in Korea was originally the religion of a clan, and that the leader of the clan might have been identical with the shaman. When organized states began to take shape in the period of the Three Kingdoms, the former chiefs and magicians became state shamans, like Tangun, who exercised considerable influence on cultural and political life. During the Three Kingdoms period, the degenerated form of shamanism did not disappear but rather survived as a cultic worship among ordinary people while the ruling class began to favour Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Although it has been regarded as a "primitive" religion or even "superstition", shamanistic thought still seems to be one of the most fundamental and influential driving forces of the Korean way of thinking and life-style, penetrating into even other major spiritual forces including Christianity.(746) Thus shamanism, as the spiritual core of the Korean character, continues to be practised by large numbers of Koreans, often in combination with other beliefs.(747) Unlike the Greek nature and culture religion, it was not the case that Korean shamanism remained the private religion of the populace while other imported ones became the public religion, giving a dialectic conflict. Rather, the interrelationship between shamanism and other religions has been that of syncretic compromise.(748)
470. To name some striking examples, we can mention first shamanistic rituals in the Three Kingdoms recorded in, among others, Samkuk Sagi [The history of the Three Kingdoms] written by Kim Bou-shik in the Koryo period. The shamanism in Shilla survived in Hwarangdo [an order of knighthood], which played a crucial role in unifying the Three Kingdoms. It was originally a shamanistic organization but mixed with Buddhistic belief and Confucian ethics. The best proof of this can be found in the five precepts for secular life given to the Hwarang in 602 by the Buddhist monk Wongwang (d. 640): 1. Serve your king with loyalty; 2. Serve your parents with filial piety; 3. Be faithful to your friends; 4. Face battle without retreating; 5. When taking life, be selective. The first three are Confucian whereas the last one is Buddhistic. The Hwarang were trained with military skills on the one hand but, on the other hand, they also sang and danced. In this way they disciplined themselves physically as well as spiritually and thus served their nation.
471. During the period of the United Shilla and Koryo, there were two state Buddhist festivals called Yondunghoe [Lantern Festival] and Palgwanhoe [Harvest Festival]. They have been the two largest Buddhist feasts celebrated in Korea. But it combined Buddhist rites such as lighting lanterns signifying the desire for enlightenment and on the other hand, offering sacrifices to the indigenous gods with shamanistic practices like gut. In gut, we find sacrificial food, song, dance, the descent of a deity, and words of the spirit. In celebrating such a festival, the king and his subjects entreated the various Buddhas and the spirits of heaven and earth through performances of music, dance, and various entertainment to bring tranquillity to the royal house and the nation.(749) In addition, most Buddhist temples in Korea include a small pavilion dedicated to the "sansin [mountain spirit]" usually decorated with a painting of an old man and a tiger, or "mansin [ten thousand spirits]", implicitly a shaman deity.(750) In this way, some of the nature gods came to be identified with figures in the Buddhist pantheon and so acquired features indicating a degree of syncretism.
472. Proclaiming Confucianism as the national ideology and political philosophy, the Yi dynasty rejected both Buddhism and shamanism. Thus shamans were oppressed and banished from the capital city, Seoul. In spite of that, however, the queen often called them to perform rituals at court. The Yondunghoe was still held during the Chosun period with the quality of music, dance and other entertainments.(751) There are many written records during this dynasty which mention those cases of the shamans' work both in the national ceremonies in the palace and at private family services. In times of drought, for instance, the shamans were called by kings to perform special rituals for rain. Especially, Queen Min, the wife of the last king of Chosun, was a devout believer in shamanism and was therefore appointed a female shaman to take part in the decision making meetings of national affairs.(752)
473. In conclusion, our analysis of Korean shamanism from the transcendental critical perspective of Dooyeweerd has shown us that as the shamanistic thinking and culture in Korea has been mainly driven by the nature pole which absolutizes the spiritual realm, it resulted in various problems in unfolding Korean thought and culture. Due to these problems, both theoretical thinking and cultural disclosure has hardly been possible. The fact that these problems are not caused by the dialectical conflict between the Hananim-nature motive but rather by the overemphasis of the latter pole differs from Dooyeweerd's theory. But it proves indirectly that violation of the Christian normative principles cannot but reveal problematic antinomies. Because of its compromising character, however, shamanism has survived throughout the history of Korea, mixed with other major religions.
474. Initially, Buddhism in Korea became dominant as a reaction to this secularistic shamanism, pursuing more transcendent and lofty truth in order to be faithful to the authentic teaching of Buddha. The original Gautama Buddha, a historical north Indian figure of the sixth century B.C., taught that the pain of life is due to worldly desire and that the attainment of Nirvana, or deliverance from life's bondage, is to be sought through the elimination of desire, through many reincarnations, followed by enlightenment. The three great foundations of the Buddhist faith are the Buddha himself, the body of scripture, and the clergy, whose conduct is guided by an Eightfold Path of right living and right thinking. Ordinary people are expected to live and improve themselves according to standards of righteous life but cannot expect to attain Nirvana within their life-times. Salvation is an individual matter, and the emphasis is on withdrawal rather than on social involvement.(753)
475. Buddhism first entered Korea through the Chinese Buddhist missionary Soondo in the form of Kyojong [Doctrinal School], i.e., Mahayana Buddhism or the Great Vehicle (the vehicle of the bodhisattva(754) leading to Buddhahood) which emphasizes the study of the teachings of Buddhist scripture. After it was introduced in the Three Kingdoms (Koguryo in 372, Paekche in 384 and Shilla in 420), Buddhism spread rapidly throughout the country and was again transmitted to Japan by Paekche before the close of the sixth century. During the Unified Shilla period, Korean Buddhism developed into an indigenous religion, producing many original Buddhist thinkers, such as Wonhyo (617-86) and Uisang (625-702). Since then, Buddhism remained a major religious, intellectual and cultural force in Korea.
476. At the end of the Unified Shilla kingdom, Sonjong [Meditation School], i.e., Hinayana Buddhism or the Small Vehicle (Chan in Chinese and Zen in Japanese), which gives the primacy to meditation and practice, was introduced from China and played a very important role in establishing the Koryo dynasty. During the Koryo period Buddhism reached its highest point and became the state religion, the ruling philosophy and the driving force for developing culture, trying to obtain a good balance between the Doctrinal school and the Meditation school.(755) Uicheon (1055-1101) and Chinul (1158-1210) are the two most representative monks of this period. The most significant cultural feature of Koryo Buddhism was the publication of numerous Buddhist books and the printing of the eighty thousand woodblocks that were necessary to publish the Tripitaka, the complete Buddhist canon, which are the oldest existing and the most sizable Mahayana texts in the world.
477. Buddhism received special protection under the Koryo rulers because of the role it played in the defence of the nation. Throughout the dynasty, Buddhism had close ties with the court as monarchs sought advice not only on political but also religious problems from learned monks. As a result temples and monasteries were given the support of the state with vast tracts of land, and serfs and priests became aristocratic, not only winning the respect of the people, but also gaining increased economic and political power. Given such economic and political privileges, however, Buddhist priests gradually became tainted by corruption and misuse of power, inviting a strong criticism especially from Confucian scholars.
478. When the Yi dynasty came into power, aristocrats and high officials of the old regime were deprived of their lands and serfs, which were taken over by those who rose to power under the new dynasty. Buddhism then fell into disfavour as did Buddhist temples. The number of Buddhist priests began to be limited by a license system under which anybody who wanted to obtain the license was first required to pay a special tax.(756) The construction of new temples was inhibited and those priests who failed to meet the qualifications were deprived of all privileges. The number of Buddhist sects and temples was drastically reduced. The standard number of serfs and area of manorial land for each class of temples was set and all that exceeded the level were confiscated. Later, this strict policy was further intensified by merging the various sects into two, Kyojong and Sonjong, cutting down the number of head-temples and the peasants and area of land accordingly.
479. No matter how deprived the priests became and how harsh the persecution was, the Buddhist faith did not die out. On the contrary, people looked for moral and spiritual support more earnestly in this time of great change when dynasties rose and fell than in times of peace. This was also true of the rulers.(757) However, since the basic policy of the dynasty was to hold down Buddhism, this religion played a far inferior historical role in the days of the Yi dynasty than in the preceding Koryo period.
480. Nevertheless, it is unquestionable that Buddhism has enriched the Korean history of thought and culture. It has been a central part of the Korean philosophical and cultural heritage, leaving an indelible mark on various spheres. As a result, Buddhism still claims the largest number of Korean believers: about 11.9 million, or 27.6 percent of South Korea's population.(758) At present, Sonjong is dominant in Korean Buddhism, represented by the Chogye Order.
In the following section, we will first identify the possible religious ground motive of Korean Buddhism and then from the transcendental approach we will see whether this motive reveals any dialectical tension, or other socio-cultural antinomies.
481. Among the many schools of Buddhism, Kyojong and Sonjong made a special impact on Korean Buddhistic thought and culture. As one major branch of Mahayana Buddhism, the Hwaom [Flower Garland] Order developed in China and was introduced to Korea and further elaborated by the two great Korean monks, Wonhyo and Uisang in the Shilla dynasty. For the Meditation school, Chinul in the Koryo period is the most influential thinker. In particular, Wonhyo and Chinul are called the two pillars of Korean Buddhist thinking, representing each school respectively. Therefore, the basic motive of Korean Buddhism can be formulated as Kyo-Son, i.e., doctrine-meditation or scholarship-practice.
482. During the Unified Shilla dynasty, the primacy was given to Kyojong but during the Koryo period, the priority was ascribed to Sonjong. When the new meditational Son school was introduced to Korea, the established doctrinal school resisted considerably, regarding the Son teaching as radical and dangerous. The Son school reacted to the overly scholastic tendencies in the Kyo school, tendencies which were regarded as obstructive to the achievement of enlightenment. While the Kyo and Son branches were long engaged in debates of a soteriological nature, of which Son eventually got the better, this converse change of fortunes between the Kyo and Son factions can be also explained by the shifts in political power. The former had a long history of intimate relations with the aristocratic class. In the middle of the Koryo period, however, the military-affiliated gentry took political power and took the latter as their religious support.(759) Later, however, the meditation school made successful attempts in harmonizing both schools in theory as well as in practice.
483. In order to understand the religious basic motive of Korean Buddhism, we need to look at the thoughts of Wonhyo and Chinul, the two representatives of the Kyo-Son motive, in more detail. Around the time of the unification of the Three Kingdoms, Wonhyo began to study the Tripitaka exhaustively and practised the three basic components of the Buddhist path: wisdom, morality and meditation. He was also well acquainted with shamanism, Confucianism and Taoism. According to a legend, while he was travelling through China to study Buddhism with his younger friend Uisang, he had a unique experience in the mountains. Wonhyo awoke one evening thirsty and, searching around, he found a container with delicious cool water in it. The next morning, he discovered that the vessel from which he had drunk was a human skull. At that moment he was greatly nauseated. At the same time, however, he suddenly realized that everything arises from and so depends upon the mind or heart only: according to the movement of the heart, various events happen; when the mind makes no distinctions, this and that disappears. He was convinced, therefore, that one should not seek after truth outside of the mind. Realizing it was no longer necessary for him to go to China, Wonhyo immediately returned home. This story is the so-called "consciousness-only enlightenment experience".(760)
484. Wonhyo wrote numerous books, which indicate the scope of his broad reading and acute comprehension of Mahayana texts.(761) Focusing on the Flower Garland Scripture and the Awakening of Faith, Wonhyo established his unique Buddhist synthetic philosophy, a harmonization of nature and personal characters. In the opening paragraph of another famous work, Simmun hwajaengnon [Treatise on the harmonious understanding of the ten doctrinal controversies], Wonhyo proposed a logical basis for overcoming doctrinal inconsistencies and differences within Kyojong as follows:
The attitude of staying in a deep valley while avoiding great mountains, or loving emptiness while hating existence is just like the attitude of going into a forest while avoiding trees. But one should be aware of the fact that green and blue are identical in essence, and ice and water are identical in origin; a single mirror reflects myriad forms, and parted waters will perfectly intermingle once they are reunited.(762)
485. The central metaphysical concepts in Wonhyo's syncretic philosophy are interpenetration (tongdal) and essence-function (che-yong). The word `tongdal' literally means to "go through", or "pass through". It denotes, therefore, the idea of "grasping", "apprehending", "permeating", "understanding" or "filling". Wonhyo explains the idea of interpenetration as a tool for his syncretic, ecumenical approach in the first part, "Narration of the principle ideas" of his Exposition of the Adamantine Absorption Scripture:
Now, the fountainhead of the one mind, which is distinct from existence and nonexistence, is independently pure. The sea of the three voidnesses, which amalgamates absolute and mundane, is calm and clear. Calm and clear, it amalgamates duality and yet is not unitary. Independently pure, it is far from the extremes and yet is not located at the middle. It is not located at the middle and yet is far from the extremes: hence, a phenomenon that does not exist does not just abide in nonexistence; a characteristic that does not nonexist does not just abide in existence. It is not unitary, and yet it amalgamates duality: hence, its nonabsolute dharmas have not once been mundane; its nonmundane principle has not once been absolute. It amalgamates duality and yet is not unitary: hence, there are none of its absolute or mundane natures that have never been established; there are none of its tainted or pure characteristics with which it has not been furnished. It is far from the extremes and yet is not located at the middle; hence, there are none of the existing or nonexisting dharmas that do not function; there are none of their positive or negative aspects with which it is not equipped. Accordingly, while nothing is negated, there is nothing not negated; while nothing is established, there is nothing not established. This can be called the ultimate principle that is free from principles, the great thusness that is not thus. These are said to be the principal of this scripture... Because of its ultimate principle that is free from principles, its positions that are the topics of those explanations surpass the transcendental. Since there is nothing that it does not conquer, this scripture is entitled the Adamantine Absorption.(763)
486. For Wonhyo, the adamantine absorption is a special type of meditative concentration to catalyze the ultimate experience of enlightenment. Just as diamond or adamant destroys all other minerals, so too the adamantine absorption shatters all kinds of clinging and so initiates the radical nonattachment, viz., nirvana. Consequently, Wonhyo makes use of adamantine absorption as an instrument for effecting his syncretic approach.
487. The idea of interpenetration is closely connected to the other concept, che-yong, or essence-function. Che [essence] generally refers to the deeper, hidden, relatively permanent and more fundamental aspects of reality whereas yong [function] indicates its more manifest, visible or superficial aspects. In other words, che is explained as the fundamentally enlightened One, Buddha-mind or the principle of emptiness, while yong is regarded as the full or limited manifestation of that mind in the realm of practice. With this che-yong concept, Wonhyo offers a theoretical system resolving the debate between Madhyamika and Yogacara, the two major Mahayana thinkers in China(764) in his commentary on the Awakening of Mahayana Faith:
Such being the intent of this treatise, when unfolded, there are immeasurable and limitless meanings to be found in its doctrine; when sealed, the principle of two aspects in One Mind is found to be its essence. Within the two aspects are included myriad meanings without confusion. These limitless meanings are identical with One Mind and are completely amalgamated with it. Therefore it unfolds and seals freely; it establishes and refutes without restrictions.(765)
488. One Mind means the essence which is in a state of being "sealed". When One Mind unfolds into its function, it can be recognized as the myriad of phenomenal things. In Wonhyo's thought, therefore, such contradictory categories as universal principle and particular phenomena, Nirvana (paradise of Buddhists) and Samsara (the cycle of perpetual existence), emptiness and form, one and many, subject and object, enlightenment and ignorance, or contemplation and action, are all resolved into relations obtaining between essence representing the noumenal, internal and imperceptible dimensions of reality and its correlate function, representing the phenomenal, external and perceptible aspect. He saw the world as a singular reality governed by a mysterious principle (dharma) which can be understood as che. Thus in Wonhyo's view, this dharma is equivalent to enlightenment and emptiness in a positive sense whereas the yong can include various other religious expressions. In this vein, his harmonizing pattern of Hwaom (Hwayen in Chinese or Avatamsaka in Sanscrit) metaphysics is called Hwajaeng [harmonization of disputes].
489. The central conception of Wonhyo was, therefore, based on the Hwetong and Hwajaeng philosophy, i.e., being thorough in various philosophical elements of Buddhist sects and being able to integrate all different views into one stream of thought so that a union of national ideology and culture can be achieved.(766) In short, his main thought is characterized as reconciliatory, inclusive, synthetic, harmonious, and total interpenetration.
490. Chinul, known as the National Preceptor Pojo, was one of the most profound thinkers and leading masters of the meditation school in the Koryo period. Throughout the dynasty, Buddhism had close ties with the royal court as monarchs frequently allowed a son to enter the priesthood and sought advice on both political and religious problems from learned monks such as Chinul. Apart from its intellectual vigour, Buddhism thrived economically through its monasteries, some of which held vast tracts of land and slaves. As in many powerful institutions, however, Buddhism became inevitably tainted by corruption and the misuse of power, abuses that led to criticism against it. As a result, during the period of the military rule by the Choe clan (1196-1258), Chinul attempted to make a significant reform of Korean Buddhism by leading a Son Buddhism revival which tried to unify various meditation schools into the Chogye Order. As a devotee of meditation practices from his youth, Chinul stressed first of all that the individual should empty the mind and free the self from the world of senses and interests (myungri). He then tried to develop a synthesis between scholarship and meditation in Buddhism by calling for a new emphasis on the practice of meditation along with the study of texts.
491. In his famous preface to the Hwaomnon choryo [Excerpts from the Exposition of the Flower Garland Scripture], Chinul argued that just as the words of the Buddha reflects what was in his mind, so too the doctrinal teachings of Buddhism refers to the enlightened knowledge engendered through meditation:(767)
What the Buddha said through his mouth is Kyo, whereas what the patriarchs transmitted to the mind is Son. The mind and mouth of the Buddha and patriarchs should not be at odds. How can it be right that people do not penetrate to the very root but squander their time in futile arguments and disputes, each feeling comfortable in what he is accustomed to?(768)
492. Following upon Wonhyo's thought on the essence-function paradigm, Chinul discovered a basis for synthesizing the Hwaom and Chogye Orders into a comprehensive system of Buddhist thought and practice (junghyessangsoo). Chinul explains the relationship of the Hwaom theory of interpenetration to the Son awakening experience by making use of the essence-function formula as follows:
I say to men who are cultivating the mind that first, through the path of the patriarchs, they should know the original sublimity of their own minds and should not be bound by words and letters. Next, through the text..., they should ascertain that the essence and function of the mind are identical to the nature and characteristics of the dharma realm. Then, the quality of the unimpeded interpenetration between all phenomena and the merit of the wisdom and compassion that have the same essence as that of all the buddhas will not be beyond their capacity.(769)
493. Accordingly, fundamental to his synthetic view was the basic unity he perceived between the descriptions of truth presented in Buddhist doctrine and the experience of that truth that occurs through meditation. In other words, for Chinul, there was at the level of essence no difference to be seen between the schools of Son and Kyo, even though their outward manifestations and functions differed.
494. Chinul tried to prove that the variant accounts of the absolute in both doctrinal and meditation records can all be traced to a single concept: the true mind. The true mind for Chinul meant Buddhahood itself, the ideal state of being human; but it also referred to that quality of sentience that is basic to all ordinary sentient beings. The true mind, therefore, serves as the matrix between the conventional or phenomenological reality of the ordinary world and the absolute truth of the dharma or ideal realm. In order to gain access to absolute truth, and thus enlightenment, Buddhist practitioners need only to recognize the enlightenment inherent in their own minds. Faith in this innate enlightenment is the soteriological attribute that will allow students to relinquish their delusion that they are unenlightened. It is this peculiar kind of faith in meditation that will reveal to all persons that they, originally, are Buddhas, the enlightened person who has eliminated all desires and thus all sufferings. Chinul insisted that practice begin with a sudden awakening, which reveals the fact that man is innately enlightened. This initial awakening occurs through tracing the light emanating from the fountainhead of his mind back to its enlightened source. But merely understanding that he is a Buddha does not mean that he will be able to act as one. Even after awakening, therefore, the student must continue to control the full range of old habits, to which he will still be subject, as well as to cultivate the host of wholesome qualities that will enable him to express his understanding to others. Finally, when the student's understanding and conduct work in perfect unison, he will become a Buddha in fact as well as in principle. This is how he explains it in his Mokujasusimkyul [Secrets on Cultivating the Mind]:
First, sudden awakening. When the ordinary man is deluded,... He does not know that his own nature is the true dharma body; he does not know that his own numinous awareness is the true Buddha... If in one thought he traces back the light of his m defilement and that he himself is originally endowed with the nonoutflow wisdom nature, which is not a hair's breadth different from that of all the buddhas. Hence it is called sudden awakening. Next, gradual cultivation. Although he has awakened... he must continue to cultivate while relying on this awakening. Through this gradual permeation, his endeavors reach ind to its source and sees his own original nature, he would discover that the ground of this nature is innately free of completion. He constantly nurtures the sacred embryo and, after a long time, becomes a saint. Hence it is called gradual cultivation.(770)
In this way, Chinul's teaching of "sudden enlightenment followed by gradual practice" (donojumsoo) became a very unique indigenous tradition of Meditation and made a deep and lasting impact on Korean Buddhism.(771)
495. What might then be the content of the three transcendental ground ideas in Korean Buddhistic thinking regulated by the Kyo-Son motive and the dialectical conflict within those three central ideas? Concerning the idea of origin, to begin with, both Kyojong and Sonjong do not make any qualitative distinction between the Creator or creation but are only concerned with the way to Nirvana which is regarded as the ultimate reality. There is no specific cosmology nor divine providence. Remarkable enough, much emphasis is given to dharma, i.e., the governing laws of reality and the ethical norms taught by Buddha. The idea of a law-Giver, however, cannot be found.
496. The idea of unity or totality might be found in the idea of the mind as essence (che). Both Wonhyo and Chinul emphasize the central importance of the true mind. All events are interpreted as happening in the mind as the results of consciousness. The true mind is for Wonhyo truth itself because it understands reality correctly. For Chinul, to the contrary, the true mind is Buddhahood as well as the quality of sentience. But this true mind has nothing to do with the concentration point for theoretical synthesis. Like Korean shamanism, Buddhists in Korea have not been interested in developing any theoretical thinking at all. The emphasis upon the mind is merely related with the view of human being as composed of body and spirit. Even though a person dies, his spirit does not perish and thus receives a new form. This is the so-called doctrine of transmigration.
497. The idea of variety in mutual cohesion can be found in the notion of function (yong). The essence of reality can be manifested in various ways. But the idea of modality as the basic presupposition of the theoretical attitude of thought and as the way of human experience is strange to this notion. Korean Buddhistic epistemology is more intuition-oriented compared with the Western way of analytic, abstract and synthetic thinking. Accordingly, it is hardly possible for Korean Buddhists to offer the rational and scientific explanation of reality necessary for any considerable development of modern science and technology. The view of time or history is dominated by the doctrine of karma which relates various aspects of reality not systematically but contingently. Therefore, Buddhism in Korea has not produced any certain view of history.(772) Like Korean shamanism, it has no notion of the meaning, direction, or goal of human historico-cultural disclosure; what exists is of a circular nature. Thus it has been easily mixed with shamanism, focusing on present and worldly interests. In this sense, Korean Buddhism has not successfully overcome the problems of shamanism in Korea mentioned above.
498. At first, when the Son school was introduced to Korea, there were some conflicts between the two schools as previously mentioned. But they were not merely doctrinal or theoretical but also political. In the last days of the Unified Shilla period, the dominating Kyo school, mixed with shamanism, became corrupt due to its close political ties with the court. However, even during the early Koryo period, the Kyo beliefs still captured the imagination of the elite group, for example, Uichoen. The Doctrinal monasteries had been closely aligned with the aristocratic forces before the military rose to power at the beginning of the twelfth century. After the military coup in 1170, government officials and scholars turned to the Meditation school and patronized Son monks and monasteries.(773) However, the struggle between the two schools was not absolute because later the teachings of both schools became synthesized and harmonized through central concepts such as interpenetration and essence-function.
499. Actually, the most distinctive and general characteristic of Korean Buddhistic thinking has been the tendency to be holistic in the interpretation of its doctrine. Korean Buddhists have strived for the unity (Ekayana or "one vehicle") and harmony of various different theories. Buddhism in Korea has constantly explored ways through which contradictory ideas and conflicting views can converge. According to Chung Byong-jo, "[t]he pursuit of Ekayana extends to the dimension of bringing the masses and the Buddha into unity."(774) In a book published by a group of Korean Buddhist scholars, it is also clearly written:
The main thrust of Korean Buddhism is harmony. The masters were careful to continually harmonize Buddhism with Korean culture so that the imported seed slowly sprouted and produced a unique tree. Not only did they arrange the various teachings and ideas of Buddhism systematically, but they tried to understand other philosophies and religious ideas from a broad-minded standpoint. Thereby they established a unique brand of Buddhism. Based on reconciliation, Korean Buddhism has `harmony and syncretism' as its keystone and can be called `A Whole-Buddhist View.'(775)
500. The two most representative examples in the Shilla dynasty are first, the Hwajaeng theory of Wonhyo's Tongbulgyo [interpenetrated Buddhism] which tried to reconcile all disputes by harmonizing or integrating the different viewpoints of Buddhist sects and viewing them as the various participating partners or manifestations of a single Buddhist reality as mentioned above, and second, the Hwaom Order of Uisang which also sought a synthesis of all Buddhist teachings.(776) In the Koryo period, we can mention the Chuntae Order of Uicheon and the Chogye Order of Chinul. Uichon attempted to unite Kyojong and Sonjong from the perspective of Kyojong whereas his contemporary, Chinul, tried to achieve harmony between the two from the viewpoint of Sonjong, as we have already discussed above.
501. Concerning the question why this synthesizing tendency is so prevalent in the Korean Buddhistic tradition, Robert Buswell has correctly pointed out that Korea, being a small and vulnerable country under continuous threat of external attack, desperately needed a unity of doctrine to ensure both the survival of the religion and that of the state.(777) Agreeing with Buswell's view, Charles Muller also adds to this by saying: "it also seems that there is a tendency in the works of many famous Korean synthesizers to pursue their arguments to an extent and intensity far beyond that which would be merely derived from external geographic and political pressures."(778) Both views seem to make sense, complementing each other.
502. Because of this holistic inclination, Korean Buddhism also has a compromising tendency, just like Korean shamanism. Korean Buddhist thinkers have demonstrated a strong ecumenical disposition in their writings, focusing on the solution of disagreements between the various sects within Buddhism or on the conflicts between Buddhism and other religions. The syncretic tendency of Korean Buddhism can be interpreted positively in the sense of inclusive generosity but also negatively in that it tends to degenerate into the solicitation of personal blessings and popular folk beliefs.(779) In fact, Korean Buddhism has been very syncretic in the sense that it has adopted many elements of shamanism and Taoism. For example, at the end of the Shilla and the beginning of the Koryo period, Korean Buddhism had already begun to be infected by shamanistic tendencies and secular involvements, such as fortune-telling and the offering of prayers and rituals for success in earthly endeavors.(780) Worshipping Mt. Odae in Kangwon Province in the Shilla period demonstrates the impact of Taoism because the five peaks of Mt. Odae, one for each of the four directions and the centre, were believed to have been inhabited by five different bodhisattvas, and the concept of directions are derived from Taoism.
503. A harmonizing effort has also been made when Buddhistic doctrine was severely criticized from the Confucian perspective. For instance, in the beginning of the Yi dynasty, Chung To-jun, a famous philosopher and statesman, sharply criticized Korean Buddhism in his Pulssi chappyon [Arguments against Mr. Buddha], arguing that Buddhism encouraged people to abandon their family and society irresponsibly, thus tended to destroy basic human relationships and moral obligations. Moreover, he continued, since Korean Buddhists regarded reality as valueless and illusory and only mind as real, human relationships and everyday affairs were despised and only quiet meditation through inner cultivation was valued.(781) Kihwa, however, another famous Korean Buddhist monk, defended Buddhism by writing Hyon chung non [A theory to reveal the right way]. Applying the essence-function formula, Kihwa argued that the single reality or principle is - whether the enlightened mind of Buddhism, the Tao of Taoism, or the in [benevolence] of Confucianism - in essence the same thing, differing only in terms of their linguistic expression according to the circumstance and the time.(782)
504. Consequently, Korean Buddhism could not really overcome shamanistic folk belief, although the teaching of Buddha as such was very transcendent in comparison with shamanism. Wonhyo, for instance, preached his message to the common folk with singing and dancing, which are the two important elements of shamanism. Since Buddhism in Korea was not seen to be in conflict with the rites of nature worship, it easily blended with shamanism. Thus many of the special mountains believed to be the residence of spirits in pre-Buddhist time soon became the sites of Buddhist temples. The secularistic tendency of Korean shamanism keeps appearing in the practice of Korean Buddhists. As Walraven aptly points out, "[f]or the most believers in Korea, Buddhism was an instrument to fulfill very concrete wishes: healing of sickness, blessing-seeking for the children or eliminating catastrophes."(783) Therefore, Chinese Buddhism blended with Korean shamanism to produce a unique form of Korean Buddhism. As in other Buddhist countries, the fundamental teachings of the Buddha remained the same, but the form was uniquely Korean. The relationship between Buddhism and shamanism in Korea has been not that of dialectical conflict but rather that of compromising rapprochement.
505. During the United Shilla and Koryo dynasties, Buddhism became the central cultural force uniting the peninsula; the Buddhist temple became the center for the establishment of Buddhist culture in Korea. Many temples built with pagodas, bells, artifacts, paintings, and statues show harmonized and symmetrical beauty and thus testify to the profound significance of the Buddhist cultural heritage in Korea. The Koryo dynasty in particular left many historical relics which represent the golden days of Korean Buddhism. Uichon, the royal monk in the late eleventh century, sought to compile the comments and interpretations of other Buddhist thinkers into a comprehensive compendium. This tradition of respect for printed scriptures was again dramatically demonstrated by the so-called Korean Tripitaka, influenced by the Kyo motive.
506. In spite of these cultural achievements, however, the history of Korean Buddhism reveals two kinds of problems which seem to be mutually contradictory. On the one hand, too many people withdrew from a productive life and service to the state and renounced family ties and social responsibility to become monks. The Buddhistic teaching of karma encouraged the fatalistic and passive view of the world. To reach the ultimate state of enlightenment, one should leave this worldly affair and seek personal meditation and practice. This attitude might have been motivated by the Son school. On the other hand, some Buddhist monks of the Kyojong in the Koryo period became overly involved in worldly politics and other secular affairs. Like the medieval church in the West, the Buddhist temples became so powerful and rich through political connections and large landholdings and accumulated wealth that many problems such as corruption of the priests and practising usury could not be resolved by Buddhism itself. By pursuing commercial enterprises such as noodle making, tea production, and distillation of spirits, the financial power of the monasteries became so immense that it severely strained the fabric of the Koryo economy. Korean Buddhism, because it enjoyed socio-economic privileges, became very corrupt. As its absolute power corrupted absolutely, Korean Buddhism could no longer lead Korean thought and culture as it was ushered into the new era. This resulted in a lessening of Buddhist influence on the elite, which made the acceptance of Confucian philosophy much easier in the late Koryo period.(784) Here we can find dialectical conflict between the Kyo-Son motive in Korean Buddhistic socio-cultural life.
507. In conclusion, we cannot say that Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach as a thought critique can be properly applied to Korean Buddhism. The typically Western philosophical tradition of theoretical thinking is difficult to find in the Buddhistic thinking of Korea. As a cultural critique, we can find some dialectical tension caused by the religious ground motive especially due to various problems of Buddhistic society in the later period of the Koryo dynasty. Korean Buddhism had not the sufficient ability to make an inner reformation of itself and to overcome those problems in spite of Chinul's efforts.
508. Criticizing both shamanism as superstitious and Buddhism as socially irresponsible, Confucianism became the leading spirit of Chosun. While shamanism and Buddhism basically ministered to the practical and spiritual needs of the people, Confucianism has been rather a social and political philosophy or ethics because it has no eschatological doctrine of the immortality of the soul or eternal judgment. Confucius (551-479 B.C.), the founder of this philosophy, took metaphysics for granted on the basis that it was the people's main duty to live according to the way of Heaven which is nothing other than the natural laws and normative principles given in reality. Heaven was understood as the overruling power, whose providence embraces all. Confucianism also holds that man is basically good, but malleable; and that human affairs should be ordered by those who earn authority through superior wisdom and benevolence, obtained through the study of the classics and of the ancient Golden Age as an ideal model. In addition, Confucian teaching emphasizes the importance of doing things in the right manner. Thus formal ceremony becomes important, as well as substantial content. The central role of family in social life and its extent over space and time are accentuated as well. Man is supposed to discipline himself and in turn be able to rule his family before he may reign a country let alone the whole world [soosin jega chiguk pyungchonha].
509. Confucius' ideas were further developed by others after him such as Mencius (372-289 B.C) and Chu Hsi (1130-1200). Especially Chu Hsi revitalized Confucian thought by enhancing its metaphysical basis and modifying it in such a way that it became a potent ruling ideology as a systematized philosophy in both China and Korea. The Confucian virtues such as loyalty to the king and filial piety and its emphasis on social and personal relationships were now seen not merely as being good for pragmatic reasons, because they worked, but as manifestations of the nature of the universe itself. Thus to live by the Confucian socio-political standards was also to live in harmony with the cosmos and to isolate them was to go against the law of nature and thus sure to cause misfortune.(785) If human affairs were properly ordered, this would enhance universal harmony; if they were not, both the natural and the human world might be disturbed, and the ruler might lose the mandate of Heaven.(786) Accordingly, Chu Hsi's thinking is called "neo-Confucianism" or "sungnihak" [the learning of nature and principle].(787)
510. It is not easy to pinpoint the exact time that Confucianism became established in Korea. It had reached the Korean peninsula during the Three Kingdoms period and gradually developed throughout the periods of the Unified Shilla and Koryo. But it was Chu Hsi's Neo-Confucianism which had a wide influence in the late Koryo dynasty and became the official ideology, or ruling philosophy of the Yi dynasty.(788)
511. Initially, Korean Neo-Confucian thought was anti-Buddhistic. Because corrupt Buddhist priests were strongly being criticized and anti-Buddhistic feeling was prevalent, Korea in the early Chosun dynasty had an ideal climate for accepting Chu Hsi's philosophy. The intellectual challenge which faced Korean proponents of the songni school of refuting the propositions of Buddhism was taken up by Chung To-jun who made the most systematic and comprehensive refutation of Buddhistic thought.
512. Neo-Confucianism also served as the standard for the new social order. In the Koryo period, both official and private rites were performed in the Buddhist manner; in the Yi dynasty, songnihak replaced them. The so-called "three mainstays" (king is the mainstay of vassal, father is the mainstay of son, and husband is the mainstay of wife) and "five moral relations" of master and servant, of father and son, of husband and wife, of brothers, and of friends became the cultural driving force of their life-styles, their traces still being observed in the customs of Koreans today.
513. The manners set forth by Chu Hsi's Neo-Confucianism, however, tended to be superficial and the fundamentals of this philosophy placed excessive emphasis on moral obligations and knowledge, thus binding the life and customs of the Korean people with mannerism. Moreover, when it came to saving one's soul or giving spiritual comfort, this new philosophy was inferior to Buddhism. This weakness of sungnihak accounts for the continued influence Buddhism commanded over the people in spite of all the oppressive measures of the Yi regime. That shamanism became quite popular among the common people was also attributable to the shortcomings of Korean Neo-Confucianism.
514. In short, Confucianism in Korea had outstanding merit in bringing about unity among its people but it also did harm when the unity turned into uniformity, then to stagnancy and degeneration. Thus it became involved in power struggles in the court and then in disputes between political parties which were to fill the pages of the history of the later Chosun dynasty. Besides this, various socio-cultural problems occurred due to the Neo-Confucian teachings. This will become clear in our search for the religious basic motive of the Korean Confucian tradition and critically analyze its dialectical tension from our transcendental viewpoint.
515. One of the central tenets of Chu Hsi's Neo-Confucian ontology concerns the mutual interaction of the inseparable universal principle, I (in Chinese li) and material force, Ki (in Chinese chi). I inherently means the patterning, formative element and is translated as principle or reason whereas Ki is the concretizing or energizing element and so can be translated as material or vital force.(789) The I-Ki theory explains, therefore, the substance and function of the universe with principle and material force; the I might represent such intangibles as logic, intuition, moral principles, or subjectivity, and Ki might include energy or force, activity, or objectivity. Ki is the material cause of the universe, and I refers to the laws of the universe.
516. It is clear that I-Ki has functioned as the ground motive governing Korean Confucianism during the Yi dynasty. The great exponent of the I School which stressed I as the basis for Ki was Yi Hwang (1501-70, pen name: Toegye), Korea's representative Confucian scholar. Initially, he treated I and Ki as equals in the formation of the universe but later, he shifted away from pure dualism to the primacy of I. Principle is, according to him, the source and cause of all things. It is both the natural law and the social norm. Ki does not operate by itself but only in combination with I. I is the ruler of Ki and Ki is the subject of I. In other words, his position is summed up as "the priority of principle followed by material force." The influence of this school became dominant in the Kyongsang Province where Toegye was born. His thought was very influential in Japan as well.
517. The most representative of the Ki School was Yi I (1536-84, pen name: Yulgok). Whereas Toegye held that I and Ki appear consecutively, Yulgok argued that I and Ki appear together. He thought that I exists as the reason for Ki so it was impossible to think of anything in the universe without reference to these two. Without I, Ki would have no support, and vice versa. Both I and Ki are mysteriously united by an indispensable relation. But later he tended to emphasize the primacy of Ki. He held that the objective existence of the material world is due to Ki. He explained all kinds of phenomena of the universe, including life and death, as the result of the reciprocal action of Ki in its Yin and Yang forms. Yulgok was venerated throughout the Kyonggi and the Chungcheong Provinces. The conflict between the two schools will be discussed in detail in the next section.
518. It is also to be mentioned that whereas in China, Neo-Confucianism took the cosmos as the main object of its enquiry, in Korea the main focus was on the connection of cosmology with the nature of the human being. As a theoretical endeavour, it is typically illustrated by the so-called "Four-Seven debate" which took more than one hundred years.(790) This was a unique development in Korea. Contrasted, however, to the Korean Buddhistic way of harmonization and synthesis, this debate ultimately led Korean Confucianists to party strife, and to the failure in achieving unity and harmony among the various different theories. Due to this party struggle, Korean Confucianism spent too much national energy in speculative issues so that the country could not defend itself against the Japanese and Manchurian invasions of 1592 and 1636 respectively.
519. This motive determined then the content of the three transcendental ground ideas as well. Concerning the idea of origin, Korean Confucianism had a similar idea of chun myung [heavenly imperative] or that of the "Supreme Ultimate (Sang Jae)" as the source of the world of life, but there is no personal Creator. The idea of law as I is clearly perceived but it is always in dialectical relation with Ki. Some scholars emphasized I as the ultimate ground of the universe rather than Ki whereas others put the primacy on Ki rather than on I.
520. The idea of unity or totality is again determined by this I-Ki dualism. Everything including human nature is explained by the combination of two elements. Actually, the main focus of songnihak was on the nature of human being, i.e., the virtues and emotions of man. Of course these virtues and emotions of man are understood and explained in relationship to the ontological framework of I-Ki dualism. Furthermore, Korean Neo-Confucianists viewed man as a member of family and state. This communal solidarity within family and state is so strongly emphasized that it tends to ignore the independent personality of the individual. In spite of believing the original goodness of human nature, the Confucian society of Chosun was dominated by social inequality between men and women, and between yangban [the Confucian ruling class] and the common people. Even among the yangban, the civilians were given preferential treatment over military men.
521. The Dooyeweerdian idea of diversity in coherence is also dominated by I and Ki. The various forms and shapes of things are caused by the operations of I and Ki. Each entity has its own ground for individuality, namely, its Ki and each individual kind has its own homogeneous universality, viz. its I. The view of time in Korean Neo-Confucian thinking is more retrospective than prospective. The ideal Golden age lies in the past. Man is advised to live after that model.(791)
522. Korean Neo-Confucian philosophy explained all phenomena of the universe and man by way of this principle and material force. But scholars took different positions on the relationship between the two. The School of Principle (or I School) regarded I as the purely spiritual and good reason, while regarding Ki as a physical phenomenon. Accordingly, this school made a qualitative distinction between principle and force. Opposing this view, scholars in the School of Material Force (or Ki School) considered Ki as the controlling agent or prime mover of I and thus the root of matter and mind. They argued, therefore, that Ki works by itself as a material cause and is the substance that constitutes man's mind and body and that I is only the law by which Ki works. Unlike Korean shamanism and Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism in Korea clearly reveals a Dooyeweerdian dialectical conflict between I and Ki. How has the dialectical tension between I and Ki developed throughout the history of the Chosun dynasty?
523. In the early sixteenth century, Suh Kyung-duk (1489-1546) had raised the question of the inseparability of I and Ki for the first time by taking a monist position absolutizing Ki in his Ikisol [a discussion of I and Ki].(792) According to him, there is in the universe only Ki which has neither beginning nor end but is everlasting and omnipresent. Ki has no definite form and is called Taeho [the great and original void].(793) This Taeho cannot be grasped like non-entity. I never resides outside Ki. I is the commanding force of Ki. Ki, in its movement, never deviates from its right course, viz., its commanding force. His view was followed by the rise of two schools led by Toegye and Yulgok who stressed the primacy of either I or Ki.
524. As the disputes between the followers of Yi Hwang and the disciples of Yi I continued, the difference between the two opposing parties grew and in some cases hardened. Some followers of Toegye pushed the emphasis on I at the expense of Ki even further whereas some of Yulgok's followers held the primacy of Ki at the expense of I much more than had their predecessors. For example, Im Song-ju (1711-88) carried the Ki School's emphasis to such an extreme that he has been labelled a "Ki monist". He claimed that even human nature, with its innate virtues, is essentially nothing more than Ki.(794) Over against Im's theory, Yi Hang-no (1792-1868) pushed the focus on I so far that he has been called an "I extremist". For him, I is always and everywhere primary as principle, not material force, being responsible for all that was good in this world.(795) Choe Han-gi (1803-77), to the contrary, paid more attention to Ki than Im S.J. did and argued that Ki formed the foundation of everything, even I. He asserted that all we know, we know through experience with the world of objects produced by Ki.(796) But Yi Chin-sang (1811-78) again looked up to Toegye rather than Yulgok for philosophical guidance and so was not willing to grant Ki power and moral ambiguity. In fact, he went even further than Yi Hwang and identified the human mind or heart in its quiescent state with I and pure goodness. For him, Ki was responsible for the evil that existed in the world and had to be kept away from the sanctuary of morality that was the human heart.(797) To sum up, the foregoing illustrates how Korean Confucianism underwent a development, to the very last, centering around the dualistic motive of I and Ki under the influence of the views of Yi Hwang and Yi I. This dualism has never been overcome among Korean Confucian thinkers.
525. As mentioned before, in Neo-Confucian thought, I and Ki describe not only the constitution of the universe but also that of every human being. Thus they also play an important role in describing the inner life of man. I constitutes the inborn normative pattern of our nature, informing our activity as we respond to things around us. Ki concretizes, particularizes and also, by its relative degree of purity or turbidity, limits or distorts the otherwise perfect goodness of our "original nature". Thus Neo-Confucians speak not only of our original nature (principle with its inherent perfection) but also the "physical nature", that is, principle as limited by the imperfection of the material force that constitutes our concrete psychophysical being.(798)
526. Mencius, in discussing the goodness of human nature, taught that all human beings possess by nature the four cardinal virtues of goodness, righteousness, propriety and intelligence, and when they become mental states, these four virtues are manifested as the four beginnings (sadan) of the states of mind, namely, pity, shame, reverence, and judgment. The four virtues mean here the substance itself of human mind and the four states of mind mean the phenomena, functions, or emanations of the human mind. Human emotions, to the contrary, are divided into the seven kinds (chiljung): joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hatred and desire. For Mencius, the four beginnings designate only the beginnings of human emotions, whereas the seven emotions refer to continuing states of mind. It is also argued that the four beginnings are always good whereas the seven emotions are sometimes good but sometimes evil as well. These are respectively the "four" and the "seven" of the Four-Seven debate, the most famous philosophical controversy in the history of Neo-Confucianism in Korea.
527. The first Four-Seven Controversy took place from 1559 to 1566 in lengthy letters between Toegye Yi Hwang and one of his ablest disciples Kobong Ki Dae-sung (1527-72). In many respects it set a distinctive agenda in the following centuries for Neo-Confucian thinkers on the peninsula. Following Chu Hsi's dualistic view of I and Ki, both scholars classified human emotions into two categories: those that are emanations of I or of Ki. But the difference between the two scholars was that Toegye thought of I and Ki as succeeding each other when emanating, whereas Kobong argued the simultaneous emanation of I and Ki.
528. Advocating the primacy of I, Toegye argued that when I is properly cultivated and Ki is subordinate, the four virtues arise, while in contrast when Ki functions and I is subordinate, the seven emotions - which could be good or bad - appear. Faithfully following Mencius, Toegye expresses his view like this:
The Four Beginnings are all good. Therefore it is said, "Without these four dispositions, one is no longer human." [Mencius 2A:4 (Legge 2:202)] And it is also said, "As for the feelings, it is possible for them to be good." [Mencius 6A:5 (Legge 2:402)] In the case of the Seven Feelings, then, good and evil are not yet fixed. Therefore when we have them but are not able to exercise discernment, the mind-and-heart will not attain its proper condition. And only after they have issued with proper measure can they be called harmonious. From this perspective, then although neither of the two is separable from principle and material force, on the basis of their point of origin reference to each has its distinctive focus and emphasis. Thus, there is no reason why we cannot say the one is a matter of principle and the other a matter of material force.'(799)
529. Kobong reacted opposition to Toegye's theory by terming it too dualistic. In response to Toegye's letter, Kobong asserts his standpoint as follows:
In my humble opinion,... if we thoroughly understand it from this perspective, then it is conclusive that what is called the Seven Feelings does not refer exclusively to material force... Indeed, since Tzu-ssu transmitted and established the discourse to elucidate the proper character of the nature and the feelings, how could it involve any inadequacy? And since the discussion of Masters I-ch'uan, Yen-p'ing, and Hui-an are all like this, then where is the room for later scholars such as us to come up with different ideas? That being the case, do not the Seven Feelings, combine principle and material force and involve both good and evil? And are not the Four Beginnings those of the Seven Feelings that are in accord with principle and are good? If this is so, then the desire to separate the Four Beginnings and the Seven Feelings as belonging respectively to principle and material force, without any interaction between them, can well be said to be one-sided.'(800)
530. According to Kobong, therefore, since the four beginnings are also emotions, they do not reside outside the seven emotions and are manifestations of Ki just as are the seven emotions. The difference is that the four beginnings are good ones among the revelations of Ki.
531. As a result of an eight-year long dispute with Kobong, Toegye later modified his dualistic theory by saying that the four beginnings originate in I but are followed by Ki and that the seven emotions come from Ki but are mounted by I. As a man goes and comes mounted on horseback, Toegye explains, principle mounts material force in order to be active.(801) This view is called the "coalescence of I and Ki", to which Kobong agreed.
532. In the next generation, however, the position finally abandoned by Kobong was taken up by Yulgok and further developed in a debate with his friend Sung Hon (1536-98, pen name: Ugye). In contrast to Toegye, Yulgok first placed equal importance on both I and Ki in the activation of the four beginnings and the seven emotions, but later he came to emphasize the supremacy of Ki. Believing that Ki is the basic force, he argued that I cannot appear on its own, but only arise when Ki is functioning, and only then in a subordinate role. This is how Yulgok argues in his letter to Ugye:
But principle is nonactive; rather it is material force that has concrete activity. Therefore in the case of feelings that emerge from the original nature and are not disrupted by our physical constitution, they are classed on the side of principle. Those that, although at the beginning emerging from the original nature, are then disrupted by the physical constitution are classed on the side of material force. One cannot get by without such propositions. That which accounts for the original goodness of man's nature is principle; but if it were not for material force, principle, being nonactive, would have no issuance. Then as for the Human Mind [the sometimes good and sometimes evil Seven Feelings] and the Tao Mind [the purely good Four Beginnings], are they not indeed both rooted in principle? It is not a matter of the outgrowth of the Human Mind already standing in contrast to principle in the mind-and-heart in the state before it is aroused. The wellspring is single but its outpouring is dual; how could Master Chu not have understood this!'(802)
533. Yi Hwang and Yi I, generally considered the two greatest thinkers of the Chosun dynasty, thus became protagonists for opposing positions. Toegye became the great symbol of a conservative orthodoxy whereas Yulgok became that of a more liberal one even though both claimed fidelity to Chu Hsi and both exemplified the autonomy and authenticity so central to Neo-Confucianism. The group of scholars inheriting Yi Hwang's teaching was known as the Youngnam School because Yi Hwang lived in the Youngnam area (Kyongsang Province). Yi I, on the other hand, was a native of the Kyonggi Province and, as scholars who adopted his teaching came mainly from the Kyonggi and Hoso area (the Chungchong Province), they became known as the Kiho School. Loyalties to these two were associated with party strife which remained an incurable disease throughout the remaining three centuries of the Yi dynasty.
534. How has the Confucian motive influenced the socio-cultural structure of the Chosun dynasty? To deal with this question, the most important Neo-Confucian institution, namely, the local academy (Sodang or Sowon) should be mentioned. During the Chosun period, the local academies were flourishing as the leading centres of Korean Confucian thought and culture(803) because the Yi dynasty held an almost religious belief that the ideals of Neo-Confucianism could be realized only through education. The scholars gathered in the Sowons to study Neo-Confucian metaphysics. Both I and Ki schools had their own academies to train and produce their disciples. By placing too much of a bias on the metaphysical theory alone, however, an atmosphere encouraging the free development of scholarly activities was not present. Moreover, these two competing schools again formed the two major parties in the political struggle and other spheres of Chosun society.
535. Connected with its intellectualism and party conflict, Korean Confucianism also emphasized the fundamental role of all kinds of rituals, among which the four rites - capping, wedding, funeral, and ancestor worship - were the most important.(804) These were almost religious ceremonies, absolutizing the ethical and formal aspects of the fundamental principles. For instance, with the death of King Hyojong in 1659, politicians split into two rival groups due to a dispute on how long the late king's stepmother should remain in mourning. One group asserted that the queen dowager should mourn for one year whereas the other group held that the period of her mourning should be extended to three years. The disparity in ceremonial observation developed into full-scale partisan wrangling. As political changes recurred, the party in power utilized the ceremonials as a means of inflicting deadly blows on its rival. The result was excessive concern about ceremonials, the study of trivial and minute formalities, thereby giving rise to the evil and also obstinate custom of attaching importance to the merely formal.
536. This kind of ritual-oriented thinking is again closely related to a pure formalism. It led Korean Confucian thinkers to the loss of self-identity and blind imitation of China. It also created face-saving culture, emphasizing the external formalities alone and despising other classes consisting of traders, manual workers and slaves as inferior to yangban just as the Greek city-state citizens discriminated against slaves and other barbarians in ancient Greek society.(805) This attitude ultimately resulted in economic and industrial deterioration in spite of the remarkable development of technology in the early Chosun dynasty, especially under the leadership of King Sejong, such as the invention of elaborate armillary spheres charting constellations, refined rain gauges, and various sundials and clepsydras (water clocks) designed with great scientific sophistication. In other words, Korean Neo-Confucianism overemphasized the notion of "profile" and "outwardness" at the expense of "utilization" and "welfare". As a reaction to this, the so-called Shilhak [real or practical learning] School revolted in the later period of the Yi dynasty.
537. Formalism and family-centrism tended to create more conservative thinking and a static way of life rather than dynamically interacting with the thoughts and cultures of others. This is why the closed-door policy was enforced by the government during the last days of the Chosun dynasty for fear of any intercourse with Western countries. Deprived of the opportunity to participate in world developments, Korean Confucianism did not experience any confrontation with new Western ideas and thus was not in a position to overcome its own problems.
538. The Chosun bureaucratic society combined the ideal of a meritocracy of Confucian virtue with the native tradition of a hereditary social hierarchy. As a result, it was largely divided along hereditary lines, but those divisions were justified with Confucian rhetoric that stated that since the Confucian social precepts reflected the nature of the universe, any attempt to change one's social status was not merely a crime against society but also a sin against heaven.(806) Too much respect for lineage and family background resulted in various problems in establishing government appointments or assigning social status. One of the negative effects due to the rigid inheritance of social status and an overemphasis on family ties was the hereditary status differentiation. Only the legally true sons of the yangban class were allowed to study at the local academies in order to become the leading elites of the Yi dynasty. The other groups were despised as inferior people. Therefore, besides the dialectical conflict within the yangban group, we can find another kind of disharmony between the yangban class and the other groups. Broadly speaking, there were four classes in Chosun society: The top class was doubtlessly the yangban, the aristocrats who monopolized both political power and wealth. Immediately below them were chungin [middle people], a relatively small class of petty officials. Next came the sangmin [common people] who were mostly farmers and formed the bulk of the population. Lastly, there were the chonmin [low-born people] who were mostly slaves, actors, mudangs [female shamans], kisaengs [prostitutes] and butchers. Status in all classes was hereditary and each non-yangban class suffered from this rigid social hierarchy of Korean Confucianism. We will discuss major examples briefly.
539. First of all, due to the Korean Confucian preference for maintaining clear, vertical distinctions between social classes within a hierarchical order, secondary sons, namely, those whose fathers were literati but whose mothers were concubines were severely discriminated. Secondary sons were denied most of the normal benefits bestowed on males born into a noble household. Under Chosun dynasty regulations, sons of concubines were barred from civil service examinations and therefore from high-status government posts. Moreover, within their father's house they had to accept an inferior status before a legitimate half-brother. For instance, they were not allowed to address their father as "father", for to do so would imply that they, too, were true sons with as much claim to their father's affection as sons of high-status mothers.(807)
540. Second, Chungin were also ineligible for civil service offices, titles, and salaries, although they were literate and were often the descendants of local dignitaries and thus considered themselves superior to commoners. Serving as clerks for the local government and assisting district magistrates in enforcing the law and collecting taxes, they became the focus of much criticism and were accused of corruption. Since petty officials gained their posts through hereditary means rather than merit and usually held those positions for life, and since they received no pay from central government coffers but were supposed to survive on such informal sources of income as fees for services rendered, some of the charges of corruption laid against them may have been justified.(808) This problem ultimately resulted in government corruption.
541. Another group that suffered were the commoners. In Confucian philosophy, there was justification for maintaining a strict distinction between scholars who worked with their minds and others who worked with their hands. Moreover, the underdeveloped state of commerce in the Chosun era deprived commoners of opportunities to acquire the economic power they could have used to challenge the domination of Confucian scholars over society. Frustrated by hereditary and financial barriers in their attempt to change their position in society, and possibly angered by incompetency or even corruption among their hereditary superiors, some became restless. As a consequence, peasant rebellions occurred during the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
542. The next group that needed to be emancipated were women. Korean women were adversely affected by changes brought on by the Confucianization of Korea. As Korean men became aware that Korean women had more rights and responsibilities than their Chinese counterparts did, they took steps to scale back those rights and responsibilities, particularly in matters of inheritance and ritual. As a result, Korean women lost their status and privileges. Up through the early period of the Chosun era, for example, women inherited property equally with their brothers and even on occasion assumed responsibility for the chesa. However, under the impact of the decision of the Yi dynasty to remold government and society along Confucian lines, Korean society began to take on patriarchal tones. As a result, women were denied any responsibility for performing the ancestor memorial service for ancestors, a service which increasingly became the monopoly of the oldest son of the legitimate wife. In connection with this, since one of the reasons for passing on a father's property to his children was to give them the wherewithal to perform a proper ancestor memorial ceremony, much of the rationale for leaving property to daughters was eliminated when daughters were no longer expected to assume any responsibility for that ritual. Accordingly, a woman's share of the family inheritance dropped to only one-third of her brother's share. Even the way women were listed in the family registry began to show signs of discrimination. In the earlier period of the Yi dynasty, children had been listed in the order of birth whereas in the latter half of the dynasty all male children were listed before any daughters' names.(809)
543. Lastly, we have to mention the hereditary slavery which was introduced and grew in the midst of the Koryo era. It was in no way limited or restricted by the Buddhists. When in the fourteenth century the advocates of Neo-Confucianism challenged and overturned the Buddhist domination of Korean society and culture, they also never made hereditary slavery an issue on their critical agenda. Rather, they confiscated the slaves of the Buddhist monastic estates only to convert them to official slaves. Actually, such a hereditary handicap contradicts the Confucian assumption of the innate goodness of all human beings and ignores the potential contribution they could make to their country only if allowed to exercise their abilities to the fullest. It was only in the seventeenth century that Yu Hyung-won (1622-73) launched a scathing attack on the hereditary slavery system on the grounds that it was inconsistent with the moral teachings of Confucianism and the institutional precedents set by the sages of Chinese antiquity. His aversion was, however, not to slavery itself since he believed that it was justifiable as a punishment for serious crimes, but to hereditary slavery because it inflicted the sins of the fathers on innocent children. Yet, because slavery was so ingrained in Chosun society, Yu was forced to find ways to mitigate the shock of instantaneous manumission for the yangban slave masters.(810)
544. Despite, however, the criticism of some reformers and the restlessness of some commoners, the social class system of the Chosun dynasty remained largely intact until it shattered under the impact of the modern world at the end of the dynasty. Even after slavery receded into relative insignificance by the nineteenth century, and even after some commoners managed to purchase scholarly titles, the basic socio-cultural structure of the Yi dynasty remained the same. A small hereditary elite of Confucian scholar-officials continued to monopolize office-holding and dominate land-owning while preserving the status distinctions that set it apart from the rest of society.(811) Having accumulated so many problems both in theoretical and in socio-cultural spheres, Korean Confucianism could not really overcome the problems of both shamanism and Buddhism in Korea nor endure the new challenges of the modern world.
545. In conclusion, we can say that Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism can be very effectively applied to Korean Confucian thought, characterized by the religious basic motive of I-Ki. The Dooyeweerdian dialectical conflict is clearly to be seen. Concerning the socio-cultural critique, the I-Ki motive again directly determined the political struggle but for other various problems including class conflict, its influence was rather indirect to the extent that Neo-Confucian philosophy endorsed the monopolized control of the yangban class over against other classes.
546. Protestant Christianity was introduced to Korea at a crucial time, when the society was exhausted in its religious, philosophical and socio-cultural spheres. As Palmer rightly describes, its main characteristic was one of deprivation-despair caused by the inability to obtain the ordinary satisfactions of life. Expectations were frustrated, there was a sense of confusion, a loss of orientation, and there was no longer a foundation for security. A new light and truth, a new source of enthusiasm had to be found, for the ancient spiritual supports of the people such as shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism had fallen into disrepute and disuse. The peasantry were restless under a venal and oppressive nobility. The Chosun government was no longer efficient. There were frequent reports of conspiracy and revolt at the court, and the rumour was widespread that an ancient prophecy of the total collapse of the Yi dynasty was approaching imminent fulfilment.(812)
547. When Protestantism, therefore, reached Korea in the late nineteenth century, it seemed to be able to fill the void created by this spiritual and intellectual stagnation and socio-cultural crisis. Since the nation had been rudely opened to the outside world, Protestant Christianity was identified as the religion of the advanced industrial nations and thus as a part of Western civilization. Undoubtedly, Christian espousal of such progressive ideas as the rejection of polytheism, fatalistic thinking and the democratic notion of freedom and equality appealed to young progressives who were searching for a new philosophical and spiritual basis or ground motive for Korea. In addition, the strong ethical code of Protestantism must have appealed to intellectuals trained in Confucian morality.(813) Therefore, the "encounter"(814) of the Christian motive with traditional Korean shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism resulted in a rapid expansion of Christian thought and cultural activities.
548. The treaties of the 1880s such as the Korean-American mutual pact (1882) and the Korea-France mutual pact (1886) brought Western representatives to Korea. In 1884, Dr. Horace N. Allen came to Korea as a physician-missionary of the Northern Presbyterian Church attached to the U.S. legation. He opened the way for other missionaries when he saved the life of Prince Min Yong-ik after an attempted coup d'etat. Korean Protestantism dates from Allen's arrival but because of his affiliation with the legation it is more correct to date it from the arrival of Horace G. Underwood of the Presbyterian Church and Henry and Ella Appenzeller of the Methodist Church from America on Easter of 1885.(815) Before the commencement of Protestant missions in Korea, however, some Koreans such as So Sang-ryun and Paek Hong-chun had already received the Christian faith and were actively engaging in its propagation in the northwestern part of the peninsula. In addition, the Korean Bible translated from the Chinese Bible was beginning to be circulated in quantity. The first Korean church had already been established in Sorai of the Hwanghae Province by Korean lay Christians in 1884.(816)
549. Protestantism spread relatively fast through Chosun society because its advent coincided with the opening of Korean ports after centuries of isolation. By the early twentieth century Protestant missionaries had sprouted in all corners of the country, planting churches and starting schools and clinics, demonstrating the traditional "triad" of mission work. They emphasized the practice of love and thus devoted themselves to the modernization of the country.
550. Around the time of Korea's fall to Japanese control, the Christian community began to undergo spiritual revival and exponential growth. Under Japanese rule, Christian associations, schools, and churches seemed to offer an alternative to colonial institutions, and Christianity took on a certain association with nationalism,(817) especially when the church tried in the late 1930s to resist Japanese demands that Christians worship Japanese spirits at Shinto shrines. The Christian population lost many members during World War II, mostly because of Japanese persecution but also because most of the foreign missionary community left Korea. After 1945, the Korean church began to operate under its own leadership. Since the Korean War (1950-53), almost all the churches in North Korea have been forced to shut down by the communists but the Protestant churches in the South have enjoyed unique success. New evangelical fervour has been demonstrated in great crusade meetings. New seminaries and training programs have been introduced. Women began to take on a more active role. Christianity has become Korea's second largest religion after Buddhism - nearly a quarter of the South Korean population,(818) making an enormous impact on various spheres. Our last concern here is to show how the Christian motive has transformed traditional Korean thought and socio-cultural life.
551. Korean Protestantism has transformed certain key concepts and values of conventional thought and culture. By transformation, I mean what Klapwijk advocates, i.e., the critical appropriation of Korean thought and culture in order to take it captive to Christ.(819) As a typical example, we find in the idea of and belief in Hananim, the lord of heaven of the traditional religion of Korea, a parallel belief to the God of the Bible. By adopting this term for God, the early Protestant missionaries told the Koreans that the God whom they knew was almost the same God who had revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. In this way both polytheistic shamanism and syncretic Buddhism were criticized. In this sense, the Protestants were somewhat supported by the Confucianists who likewise scorned superstition. But the Confucian belief in a sort of sky deity was also transformed because it is not the same as the personal God of Scripture. Thus the Christian belief in the Creator of heaven and earth and thus the ultimate Origin of reality reformed all the former ideas of origin.
552. The Christian view of man transformed the traditional viewpoints as well. The Biblical view of man as the image of God, the cultural agent for the service of God and his neighbour, and as a responsible person Coram Deo [before God] made an enormous impact on the Korean socio-cultural structure. Protestantism called for humanity to rise above nature and take its place as master and steward of natural resources. This teaching radically confronted and changed the traditional shamanistic attitude of fatalistic determinism. By proclaiming the dignity of labour and reminding people of the equality of all occupations, the Biblical doctrine of man revolutionarily changed the Confucian culture which had discriminated non-yangban classes. Every person, it was said, can contribute to the development of the community by devoting themselves to their occupations. The church declared that an enlightened man is an independent, self-responsible person before God and other human beings.
553. The Christian worldview transformed the traditional view of reality in its diversity and coherence. Rejecting polytheistic shamanism, Christians began to emphasize the importance of a rational way of thinking, and of modern science and technology. Criticizing the negative view of reality in Korean Buddhism, Christian thinkers tried to be realistic, confronting the difficult situation at that time and attempting to overcome that situation rather than passively accepting it as their own fate. Against the traditional Confucian social class system, Christianity brought modern social values of freedom, equality, justice, peace and human rights to Korea and so served as a liberating force for those shackled under Confucian thought. It was also associated with movements for national independence and socio-political democracy, and with the ideas of the abolition of class barriers, the overthrowing of superstitions and the freedom of the press. Actually the missionaries tried to preach the gospel strategically to the working class more than to the upper yangban class. In the 1960s and 70s, Korean liberal Protestants played a significant role in resisting the oppression of human rights, non-democratic military dictatorship and authoritative bureaucracy. They also took part in social reform movements to improve wages and working conditions among poor urban workers and began to speak out on other socio-political issues. All of these movements were accelerated by the Christian view of history and time, namely, the sovereignty of God in history, the eschatological victory of the Kingdom of God, and the linear, rather than circular or retrospective, conception of time.
554. Having seen the traditional Quing China's defeat by a modernized Japan and having seen many other powerful weapons and new technologies of the West, many Koreans were determined to abandon conventional thought and traditional culture in favour of modernization. Many non-Christians turned to Christianity as the means of modernization and disclosure (gaehwa). Through education, the missionaries brought knowledge of Western science and technology and introduced modern educational curricula. At that time, it was too early to make any transcendental critique of Western scientific-technological culture, as Schuurman does.(820) Early Korean Protestants regarded disclosure, education and religion as one and the same and believed that Christianity could provide the momentum for socio-cultural reform. Appenzeller was the first to establish a school for boys in 1886. Its progress was so remarkable that by the next year the king gave a name to it as a sign of royal approval, namely, Paejae hakdang [school for training competent persons]. Other schools were established by the Presbyterians as well. Especially in the first decade of this century, it could be said that only the church had a complete educational system from the primary to the college level in the country. The old Confucian system of local academy had faded away, and the new Japanese government had not yet developed its own education program. Another interesting fact was that it was not the foreign missionaries alone who began schools but the Korean Christians themselves. After the establishment of the Japanese Protectorate in 1905, a number of rural schools developed. This might have been the result of a feeling that Korea's political humiliation was due to her educational backwardness. Korean Christian leaders then took the initiative in establishing these schools which became the first link in the chain binding together Korean nationalism and the Christian religion. Those Christian elites played an enormously important role not merely as church leaders but also as national leaders in the modern history of Korea.
555. The extension of women's rights was another innovative idea advocated by the Christian church. At that time, women were not treated equally and men felt no embarrassment in public acknowledging their concubines. Their wives were helpless in the face of their husbands' indiscretions because remarriage by women was forbidden. The Christian movement, however, attempted to restore the rights of women by stressing sexual equality and the need for women's education, arguing that educated mothers were better equipped to raise children and that the development of these human resources would eventually contribute to the general development of the country. Mrs. Scranton, Sr., founded a school for young girls to train them to be superior wives and mothers, and to be workers for the Christian mission. The queen gave it the name Ehwa hakdang [school of pear blossom], which became later both Ehwa Girl's High School and Ehwa Women's University. Even though the traditional society's rigid class system was abolished by government reforms in 1894 (Kabo kyongjang), true class levelling began within the church where all humans were proclaimed to be equal before God. This concept was again associated with the democratic idea that everyone is equal before the law.
556. The disinterested work of medical care and education undoubtedly caused many Koreans to look favourably on the Christian faith. Dr. Allen opened the first modern hospital called Kwanghyewon under a royal grant in 1885. Since then many hospitals have been established by other missionaries. Dr. and Mrs. Hugh Brown, both of whom were physicians, began medical work in Pusan. In 1896, the Presbyterian Mission in Pyongyang opened a clinic. The Methodists opened a dispensary for women in Pyongyang in 1894, and began to work in Wonsan in 1896 as well. Assisting in the Methodist hospital in Seoul, Anglican missionaries established a small unit of their own there and another one in the port of Chemulpo, the present Incheon. These medical institutions functioned both as a means to improve the general health care of the country and as an important evangelistic tool. The missionaries encouraged Korean Christians to learn modern science and technology as well as to believe in the gospel. So there was little dialectical tension between faith and medical science. In the first decade of this century, medical work continued to increase in various cities. More importantly, the serious task of medical education, the raising up of a corps of indigenous medical doctors skilled in Western medicine, was addressed with the foundation of the Severance Union Medical College. It is also very remarkable that from the first, women were trained to be physicians.(821) In addition, alcohol, tobacco and opium were banned in an attempt to improve people's health. Since then, this has became a sort of unwritten law in Korean Protestantism.
557. Confronting Confucian traditional culture, Korean Protestant Christians transformed its overly complicated formalities. They simplified wedding and funeral ceremonies and replaced chesa with a memorial service. The latter turned out to be a sore spot between the Confucianists and the Christians. The Christian church criticized the ancestral rites as lacking the true spirit of filial piety and characterized them as steeped in pretence and formality. Instead, Christians emphasized honouring ancestors by worshipping the true God and revering their living parents. In spite of the conflict between Confucian and Christian views to the chesa ceremony, however, there was no resistance in the further development of the Protestant church. The issue was almost by-passed in the rush of the events of history, as Confucianism was no longer the determining motive in Korean society. As the power of the state collapsed there was no authority strong enough to enforce the performance of the chesa rites. In addition, Korean Christians also contributed to the prevention of bureaucratic corruption with organized action against those officials who violated human rights and ignored legal procedures.
558. The prestige of this new religion was reinforced by the presence of many Christians amongst the nationalists. In spite of the fact that there were also Christians who collaborated with the Japanese in the latter part of the colonial period, Korean Christianity never became associated as such with imperialism. Korea might be the only exception in this case whereas most other Asian countries became colonized by Western Christian countries. Many Koreans, humiliated and frustrated by Japanese aggression, accepted Protestantism more readily because they associated it with deliverance from Japanese invasion. They sought a solution to the nation's dilemma in the Protestant churches, also known for their energy and organizational capacity.
559. Lastly, the publication of the Bible in the Korean alphabet, Hangul, initiated the widespread use of the vernacular script.(822) The missionaries emphasized that God's Word works wonders by itself even where no human works are done. All other Christian books were written in or translated into the Korean language. With the spread of the Korean Bible and hymn books the Korean script was also spread as well. These activities reduced illiteracy, and played an important role in breaking down the Chinese cultural block of the Confucian upper class. The truth found in the Bible was easily available to the common people, which is sharply contrasted to Korean Buddhism and Confucianism because their scriptures written in Chinese were almost inaccessible for the general public.
560. Compared with the Roman Catholic Church, Grayson rightly points out three differences in the development of the Korean Protestant churches. To begin with, the Protestant churches always depended primarily on the efforts of indigenous Christians, whereas the growth of Catholicism was in part hindered by a stronger dependence on foreign clergy. Second, Protestantism came in at a time when the structure and values of traditional society were being widely criticized, and when the central government's ability to function was greatly impaired. When Catholicism entered Korea, however, social criticism was confined more to the intelligentsia and the power of the government was still unimpaired. Third, the Protestant churches proclaimed, as did the Catholic Church, a doctrine of hope, but coupled this emphasis with a program of social and political involvement. The Catholic Church's emphasis on survival deprived it, as a consequence, of significant involvement in society, and caused it to turn into an introverted sect.(823)
561. In conclusion, Protestantism has been a powerful driving force in the disclosure of modern Korea, making a crucial contribution in overcoming the demerits of all the traditional religions in terms of their ideas and cultural structures and in disclosing modern Korean culture by directing it with its Biblical perspective. This does not mean, however, that it has always been right in every aspect. Korean Christian churches still have many shortcomings that need to be removed. For instance, some shamanistic elements have crept into the Korean church so deeply that worldly success is still emphasized as the sign of God's blessing. In addition, some Confucian aspects such as authoritarianism have made another serious impact on Korean Christians. Furthermore, materialism has been a serious threat to the Korean church, threatening it to be more secular and corrupt.(824) In this sense, the Korean church has been under the attack of shamanistic secularization, Confucian authoritarianism and economic materialism. These problems should be continuously criticized as non-Christian elements and as the obstacles to the proper unfolding of the Christian culture in Korea. They must be overcome by emphasizing the Christian worldview, the biblical ethics of humble service and the Christian spirit of responsible stewardship. In spite of these tasks, it would be difficult to deny the significant role of Korean Christianity in the modern age, in its transforming of traditional thought and culture and in its giving a new vision and light as hope for Korean society.
562. We have seen that throughout its history, shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity have had a varied but profound influence on the shape of Korean thinking and living. Even today each religion emerges as powerful determinants in the national affairs of Korea. We have attempted to test whether Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique can be meaningfully applied to the Korean context.
563. Shamanism had been a ruling folk religion in the Korean peninsula until the advent of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. It had provided the basis upon which Koreans received other religions and so became the root of the Korean way of thinking and manner of behaviour. The formal expression of shamanistic worship is gut, which was a ritual conducted for safety, luck, and the cure of diseases by exorcism of malicious spirits. Shamanism created the agricultural rituals of the Three Kingdoms period and penetrated into every corner of the nation's life: from Hwarangdo of Shilla and the Yondunghoe and Palgwanhoe of Koryo, down to the chesa of Chosun. Shamanism still functions as the base of the religious life of many Koreans today.(825)
564. The shamanistic ground motive has been formulated as Hananim and nature, but I have argued that there is no serious dialectical tension between the two poles because the natural and human spirits fully admitted of, and so were always subordinate to, the supreme being, Hananim. In other words, these spirits were not fully absolutized in opposition to Hananim. Accordingly, we have to acknowledge that Dooyeweerd's theory does not fit well with the case of shamanism in Korea, namely, the dialectical tension in the ground motive is not always absolute. But the worldview of Korean shamanism analyzed by the three transcendental basic ideas reveals various problems, mainly caused by the nature pole, such as the belief in superstitious magic and divination as means to gain world fortune, its fatalistic determinism, its pursuit of secular happiness, its lack of sound ethics and historico-cultural sense of calling. That is why there have been few Korean shamanist thinkers or scientists and little cultural achievements. Korean shamanism as such has not contributed to the unfolding of Korean thought and culture and to the leading of it in a harmonious direction.
565. As a way to overcome the problems of present world-oriented shamanism, Buddhism was introduced to Korea during the Three Kingdoms period. It proclaimed a more transcendent truth. It flourished in the Unified Shilla and Koryo dynasties, was persecuted by the Chosun dynasty, but at present still has the largest number of followers in South Korea.
566. Buddhistic thinking and its cultural heritage in Korea can best be analyzed via its basic motive of Kyo-Son, following the two major schools of Korean Buddhism, emphasizing doctrinal teaching and meditational practice, respectively. During the Shilla dynasty, the former was dominant while during the Koryo dynasty, the latter was dominant. Among the many famous Korean Buddhist thinkers, we have discussed, as representatives of each school, the thought of Wonhyo in the Shilla period and Chinul in the Koryo dynasty. It was noted that both were more interested in harmonizing the disputes and the differences within the two major schools rather than in revealing any dialectical conflicts. Here we see again that Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach, mainly developed in the Western tradition, cannot be directly applied to the Buddhism in Korea.
567. When we analyze the worldview of Korean Buddhism in light of the three transcendental ground ideas of the Korean Buddhistic system of thought, we find various problems. First of all, as to the idea of origin, both doctrinal and meditational schools do not make a clear distinction between the Creator and creature. The idea of law, namely dharma, is almost absolutized. Much emphasis on the idea of mind as the essence (che) of reality is very remarkable but it does not function as the theoretical concentration point of synthesis in order to produce scientific knowledge. Actually, Korean Buddhist thinkers have never thought of developing any theoretical science. The idea of variety can be found in the notion of function (yong), the way in which the essence of reality is manifested. Korean Buddhist thinkers argue that this essence can be revealed in many ways. But we cannot find in this kind of essence-function thinking any idea of the modality or the Gegenstand relation as the basis of theoretical and scientific thinking or any idea of individuality structures. The epistemological trait of Buddhism in Korea is more intuitional than analytical. In addition, the view of history and time in Korean Buddhism is not consistent but rather contingent, determined by the doctrine of karma which views various happenings in this world fatalistically rather than logically. Therefore, it has been easily mixed with the conventional shamanistic faith, pursuing present happiness. Actually, Korean Buddhistic thought has been characterised by its pursuit of holistic unity and harmony among diverse schools, its compromising and syncretic tendency toward other religions such as shamanism, Confucianism and Taoism. For Korean Buddhistic thought, "dialogue" is much more important than "antithesis".
568. Korean Buddhism driven by the Kyojong has demonstrated its influence on various cultural activities, especially in carved wooden blocks of the Buddhist canon, it has also revealed the problem of corruption in the later period of the Koryo dynasty when many privileges were granted to it by the government. Due to its syncretic and compromising tendency, this school could not overcome many problems of traditional shamanism, either. As a reaction to this secular tendency, the Sonjong emphasized the separatistic life-style with practice for the enlightenment even though it tried to make a balance between the two schools. Thus we find dialectical tension between the two in socio-cultural life.
569. To sum up, we find that Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique cannot be consistently applied to Korean Buddhistic philosophy and culture. In the thought of representative Buddhist scholars, Wonhyo and Chinul, we could not find any dialectical conflict. Instead, they tried to harmonize and make a good balance of the various teachings and two major schools. In a cultural context, however, we have found some dialectical tension between the Kyo-Son motive as the former school became too corrupt due to its too much influence upon the socio-politial situation of the later Koryo period whereas the latter stressed detachment from politics and the pursuit of personal practice and discipline without being involved in secular affairs. Therefore, we have to conclude that it is not meaningless to attempt to analyze Korean Buddhistic thought and culture from the perspective of Dooyeweerd's theory but we find it too uncritical to preconceive that his approach would be universally applicable without further ado.
570. Confucianism, which had been accepted in Korea since the Three Kingdoms period, became the new leading spirit of Chosun as an alternative to both shamanism and Buddhism. It criticized shamanism as superstitious and Buddhism as irresponsible for the family and society. Against them, since the fourteenth century, the Neo-Confucianism of Chu Hsi became not only a rule of conduct for individual self-discipline but also a metaphysical philosophy through the so-called I-Ki theory. The Confucian thought and culture in Korea was led by this basic motive of I-Ki, namely principle-material force.
571. This I-Ki motive determines the three transcendental ground ideas. The idea of origin can be found in that of chun myung or that of the "Supreme Ultimate" as the source of the world of life but it is an impersonal and abstract law of nature rather than the personal Creator. The idea of principle (I) is lied in dialectical relation with material force (Ki). The idea of unity is determined by this I-Ki dualism because everything including human nature is explained by the combination of these two elements. In addition, Neo-Confucian scholars in Korea viewed man as a member of family and state and so stressed the communal solidarity. The idea of diversity in coherence is also dominated by the I-Ki motive in the sense that the diverse forms and shapes of things are caused by the operations of I and Ki. Each entity has its own ground for individuality (Ki) as well as its own homogeneous universality (I).
572. As Wonhyo and Chinul were the most influential Buddhist thinkers in Korea, Toegye Yi Hwang and Yulgok Yi I were the most important two Confucian scholars. Korean Neo-Confucian scholars, in dealing with the problem of the four beginnings and seven emotions, tried to explicate their metaphysical origins and were divided into two major groups, around Toegye and Yulgok, one emphasizing I and the other stressing Ki. In this sense, we can safely say that Dooyeweerd's argument is best fit to this case of Korean Neo-Confucianism. There were, of course, other scholars who stood outside these two camps, and tried to reconcile the two theories and factions, but they never succeeded.
573. Even though Korean Confucianism has demonstrated its uniqueness by the Four-Seven debate, it has not encouraged the development of modern science and technology because of its organic view of nature and the past-oriented notion of history. Furthermore, Confucian thought in Korea has been more intellectual than emotional, ritual-oriented due to formal rationalism and family-centrism. Thus it has created a very conservative and static life-style.
574. The Confucian motive also shaped the socio-cultural context of the Yi dynasty. Special attention has been paid to the problem of social inequality due to the hierarchal system and educational institution. As illustrations, we have discussed the sufferings and disadvantages of secondary sons, middle class people, commoners, women and hereditary slaves. They could not overcome their status even though some had great abilities. They had to accept the status quo as fate. Together with government corruption and party strife, the Confucian Chosun society had accumulated so many problems that it could neither replace existing shamanism and Buddhism nor confront the challenges of the modern Western world.
575. What played a more decisive role in the formation of modern Korea and in the disclosure of Korean mind and life were the efforts of the Christian leaders who tried to adopt advanced Western science and technology that came into Korea with the introduction of Christianity. The socio-political and intellectual situations of the late Chosun period disposed the nation toward foreign influences. The desire for modernization and the disappointment to the existing religions assured the rapid acceptance of Protestant Christianity. Protestantism soon spread among the common people and in the process of reception it transformed the Korean traditional thought and culture. The Christian view of God transformed the shamanistic idea of Hananim and the Confucian belief in a heavenly mandate. The Biblical doctrine of man radically challenged the traditional attitude of fatalistic determinism in shamanism and the social discrimination in Confucianism. The Christian worldview criticized the polytheistic shamanism, transformed the negative view of reality in Korean Buddhism and radically changed the unequal structure of the Confucian society. In discussing this transformation process, I have argued that Klapwijk's idea of transformational approach can be applied to the Korean situation. In order to prevent the `inverse' transformation of secular influences or other non-Christian religions, I have emphasized that this process should be continuously monitored and controlled by the biblical central motive.
576. The history of the Protestant churches in Korea is much shorter than that of other Korean religions. It covers barely a hundred years. Short as this time has been, it has been a period of unusual growth and successful development. As Grayson correctly points out, Korean shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism could not play a significant role in hindering the expansion of Korean Protestantism:(826) Even though it was prevalent throughout society due to its pursuit of secular blessing, Korean shamanism was neither highly regarded nor organized well enough to constitute a significant threat to the new religion. Although Korean Buddhism was a much higher religion than shamanism, it could not hinder the development of the new faith because it was too weak internally to offer much resistance to this form of Christianity. Korean Confucianism, likewise, was unable to constitute an organized threat to the entrance of Protestantism. Moreover, Confucianism was not necessarily in conflict with Protestant Christianity, since the high moral codes taught by the Protestants and their rejection of shamanism as superstitious practices and Buddhism as socially irresponsible must have been in agreement with what many Confucianists thought.
577. Making the most of this situation, the Protestant missionaries came to Korea from the West at the end of the nineteenth century and set up churches, schools and hospitals. Churches grew rapidly, particularly in the northwest around the city of Pyongyang. Schools were especially welcome in Korea among the common people including women who had never before been able to acquire an education. Hospitals also played tremendously important roles in demonstrating Christian love and promoting public hygiene and health. Furthermore, the Protestant missionaries rediscovered the Korean Hangul alphabet. Their use of this Korean script contributed to the spread of literacy. The first propagandists for the Christian faith all felt that the way forward for their teachings was made easier by the fact that there was a simple and scientific script to hand. All translations of the Bible, hymn books and religious propaganda used Hangul, which was the first time in centuries that it was used on such an extensive scale.(827)
578. When Japan annexed Korea in 1910, the Christian community put up resistance. With Japanese gendarmes enforcing obedience throughout the peninsula, the church was one of the few places where Koreans could express themselves. Despite Japanese pressure the church continued to grow. In fact, one unique feature of Christianity in Korea is that it sided with the people against a colonial power, whereas elsewhere it was often seen as part of the imperialist. In this way, Korean Christians made an enormous contribution to the independence and liberation of their fatherland.
579. Although Protestantism in Korea has still many shortcomings due to various reasons, it is impossible to deny that it has made an tremendous impact to the transforming of the conventional ways of thinking and manner of living dominated by other major religious ground motives and to the unfolding of the new ways of thinking and promoting various cultural endeavours.
580. In conclusion, we find it too naive to say simply that Dooyeweerd's transcendental critical approach can be meaningfully applied to the Korean context and so to conclude that his method is universally valid. It is much more complex and has more nuance than we initially have assumed in the introduction as we have seen in this chapter. The next, final chapter will elaborate this main point more sufficiently with critical evaluation of Dooyeweerd's theory.
Prepared as part of The Dooyeweerd Pages web site by Andrew Basden 2002, with the kind permission of Yong-Joon Choi.