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The Zen Monastic Experience:
Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea
Robert E. Buswell Jr.

Paperback | 1993 | $39.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691034775
288 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 16 halftones
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Reviews | Table of Contents

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Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this insightful account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice. In discussing the activities of the postulants, the meditation monks, the teachers and administrators, and the support monks of the monastery of Songgwang-sa, Buswell reveals a religious tradition that differs radically from the stereotype prevalent in the West. The author's treatment lucidly relates contemporary Zen practice to the historical development of the tradition and to Korean history more generally, and his portrayal of the life of modern Zen monks in Korea provides an innovative and provocative look at Zen from the inside.


"A myth-shattering foray behind the walls of a Korean Zen Buddhist monastery.... Less the sound of one hand clapping than of hands, mind and heart working together to lead a sanctified life--and, as such, a sound corrective to Western misunderstandings about Zen."--Kirkus Reviews

"[This book] is ... forged from [Buswell's] own experience and practice.... He enlivens his study with a detailed personal account of his daily life at Songgwang-sa, one of Korea's main monasteries, and with wry humor.... This book should be read by anyone interested in the daily life of Zen training."--Martine Batchelor, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Table of Contents:

List of Plates
Conventions Used
Introduction: Zen Monasticism and the Context of Belief 3
Ch. 1 Buddhism in Contemporary Korea 21
Ch. 2 Daily and Annual Schedules 37
Ch. 3 Songgwang-Sa and Master Kusan 49
Ch. 4 A Monk's Early Career 69
Ch. 5 The Support Division of the Monastery 107
Ch. 6 Relations with the Laity 135
Chronology of the Puril Hoe 147
Ch. 7 The Practice of Zen Meditation in Korea 149
Ch. 8 Training in the Meditation Hall 161
Ch. 9 The Officers of the Meditation Compound 203
Conclusion: Toward a Reappraisal of Zen Religious Experience 217
Epilogue: Songgwang-sa after Kusan 224
Appendix: Principal Chants Used in Korean Monasteries 229
Glossary of Sinitic Logographs 243
Works Cited 253
Index 265

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Robert E. Buswell Jr.:

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File created: 7/11/2017

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