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The Pros and Cons of Buddhist Officials running your Government
Gyeongcheonsa Marble Pagoda

The Pros and Cons of Buddhist Officials running your Government

Gyeongcheonsa Marble Pagoda The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book The Fireflies of Muju - Ten Weeks in Korea - 2011. The Benefits and Costs of Adopting Buddhism as a State Religion The rulers of Silla and the rulers of Vietnam both officially adopted Buddhism as their state religion. Silla did this in 528 and Vietnam did this around 1020 when Ly Thai To took the throne with the backing of several powerful Buddhist monastic leaders. Later, both countries rejected Buddhism as a state religion. Korea’s government turned away from Buddhism when the Mongols took power in 1260 and the Joseon Dynasty was explicitly anti-Buddhist when they took power in 1392. In Vietnam, when Ho Quy Le took power in 1400, he removed the Buddhists from government and…

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A Chinese Relationship with Nature
Painting by Ma Lin, scholar under a pine tree

A Chinese Relationship with Nature

This has not really come into my books but I have been thinking about it for years. Since I've recently finished my study of Daoism, I think I can explain something of what I know. To start with: I posit that there are cultures which venerate nature. Perhaps most notably in East Asia we have Japan where Shinto IS nature worship (see Kami). Japanese worship nature in a deep way as they see the Kami (demi-gods) which they believe are present in most beautiful places. About half a million Japanese hike to the summit of Mt. Fuji every year and they aren’t just doing it for the great view.  In Catholic Europe, there was a strong aspect of nature veneration (derived from the Bible, since God created the world and…

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