Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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About Jogye Order Korean Buddhism and Jogye Order
History of Buddhism in Korea

Korean Buddhism and Jogye Order

Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

Based on teachings of wisdom and compassion propagated by the Buddha, Buddhism was introduced to the Korean Peninsula around the 4th century when the three kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje were vying for dominance against each other. For the 1,700 years since then, Buddhism is widely considered to have had the greatest influence on the transformation and development of Korean society.


Buddhism was established as the official state religion in Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje during the Three Kingdoms Period (57 BCE – 668 CE) and the Unified Silla Period (668–935). In particular, Silla achieved national integration based on Buddhist teachings, and ultimately these teachings provided the foundation for Silla to unite the three kingdoms. Eminent Buddhist masters like Wonhyo, Uisang, and Jajang propagated Buddhist teachings far and wide, which healed the hearts of commoners impoverished by war and conflict. These monks wanted to spread the essence of Buddhism by establishing temples on prominent mountains in Korea.
Buddhism played an outstanding role in Korea’s cultural development during the Unified Silla era. This culminated in the construction of such worldꠓrenowned historical sites as Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto. Printing technologies were developed to distribute Buddhist sutras, and the world's earliest known woodblock printing culture was established. It was during the Unified Silla era that the practice of Seon meditation was introduced from China, which led to the development of various Seon schools in Korea. Seon added another dimension to Korea’s spiritual development. After the fall of the Unified Silla Dynasty, the Korean Peninsula was in turmoil again, and Buddhism provided the spiritual drive to unite the Later Three Kingdoms and establish the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392).
Goryeo also adopted Buddhism, which served as a unifying factor and the foundation for further national and cultural development. In particular, the teachings of Unified Silla’s State Preceptor Doseon were adhered to and Buddhism-based culture and arts were developed and flourished. It was also during the Goryeo era that the Tripitaka Koreana was carved into more than 80,000 wooden printing blocks as an expression of the aspiration for peace, and Buddhist cultural festivals were held, such as the Yeondeunghoe (Lantern Lighting Festival) and Palgwanhoe (Festival of the Eight Vows), creating a foundation for national integration.
The Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), which succeeded Goryeo, took Confucianism as its governing ideology. Under a government policy of repression, Buddhism, which had been deeply rooted in the lives of the people, was banished to the mountains, and monks were generally treated harshly. However, this banishment proved to be quite beneficial in two respects: communal pratice communities flourished in the mountatin temples, and Buddhism established strong bonds with the common people.

During the first half of the 20th century, Korean Buddhism fell under the coercive power of Japanese Buddhism. Under the colonial government’s policy to quash Korean sentiment and spirit, Korean Buddhism plunged into drastic decline.
However, after the liberation of the country in 1945, Korean Buddhism endeavored to regain its original authenticity based on Buddha’s teachings by launching a nationwide purification movement. Monastics who followed this movement came together and founded an integrative order called the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, which has represented Korean Buddhism to this day.

(03144) 55, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of KoreaTEL : 82-2-2011-1830FAX: 82-2-735-0614E-MAIL: jokb@buddhism.or.kr
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