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Survival, God And Buddha: Social Darwinism In The Buddhist Context

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to show that the strategies of 'survival struggle' in the modern religious market, as chosen by some of the modern Korean Buddhist leaders, notably Han Yong'un, followed primarily the same logic, Buddhism being now presented as a world religion best fitting modernity's assumedly 'scientific and rational' paradigm. Following Liang Qichao's lead, Han Yong'un also emphasized Buddhism's supposed 'altruistic' and 'democratic' qualities, advertising his religion's 'survival potential' in the modern Darwinian age and offering a blueprint for reforms which aimed at maximizing Buddhism's chances in 'competition' against its new rival, Christianity. The chapter shows that, unlike many other modern Korean intellectuals - Yi Kwangsu and Yun Ch'iho being cases in the point - Han Yong'un, his understanding of Social Darwinism as 'the objective truth' of the modern age notwithstanding, still treated the 'law of survival of the fittest' as subordinate to the postulates of Buddhist ethics.

Keywords: Buddhism; Christianity; Han Yong'un; Liang Qichao; Social Darwinism



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