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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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Current Reading – July 2020
Books from July 2020

Current Reading – July 2020

At the moment I'm reading: Books from July 2020 Professor D.K. Jordan's web pages on Chinese culture. Specifically I was looking at his section on Mourning Grades. The reason why, is because in the TV series Qiao's Grand Courtyard, the main character is shown performing a mourning ritual for his wife's dead father. Apparently you should do this, but the exact degree and type of such mourning is not spelled out. I will have more to say about Qiao's Grand Courtyard in a future post. Confucian Ritual Music of Korea by Song Hye-jin. If you spend time in the Joseon History Museum in Seoul, you will find the room devoted to the traditional instruments, played for centuries at the yearly events. This book gives a detailed description of what the…

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Japan’s Invasion of Korea – 1592-1598

"A Dragon's Head and a Serpent's Tail" by Kenneth Swope (2009) at Amazon.com Korea historically has been uninterested in waging war on its neighbors. The country has an easily defined northern border (mountains in the center, the Yalu river to the northwest, and the Tumen river to the northeast; in all other directions Korea is surrounded by the sea. When Korea unified under the Silla Kingdom around 670, the natural borders gradually solidified in people’s minds, though the northern border was rarely peaceful.  After the Joseon Dynasty took control of Korea in 1394, the country experienced nearly uninterrupted peace for the next ~200 years - and then Japan invaded.  Japan’s invasion of Korea in 1592 is a very strange event in world history. Never before had Japan launched an invasion…

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