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Esoteric Buddhism Under The Choson

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Chapter Summary

The Esoteric Buddhist literature of the Chosŏn can be divided into four kinds: canonical Buddhist texts, doctrinal tracts and other writing composed by Chosŏn monks, spell collections and manuals, and ritual texts and manuals. In the course of the Chosŏn dynasty the Korean practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism compiled a number of spell collections and manuals. While Esoteric Buddhist practices and beliefs dominated Chosŏn dynasty ritual texts it is found that exoteric Buddhist rites, such as those centering on Amitābha, Avalokiteśvara, or the Sŏn patriarchs, continued with unabated vigor. At the beginning of the Chosŏn dynasty Sŏn Buddhism was divided into two separate lineages or traditions. With the possible exception of the ch’ilsŭng hall for the worship of the stellar divinities of the Great Dipper, specific halls for Esoteric Buddhist practices are not known from the Chosŏn period.

Keywords: Chosŏn; esoteric Buddhism; Sŏn Buddhism

10.1163/ej.9789004184916.i-1200.259
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