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  • P-ISSN1229-0076
  • E-ISSN2773-9351

Buddhism and Confucianism in King Sejong’s State Administration: Tension and Unity between Religion and Politics

The Review of Korean Studies, (P)1229-0076; (E)2773-9351
2005, v.8 no.3, pp.25-46
부남철 (영산대학교)
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Abstract

This article examines how Sejong, who pursued Confucian politics, recognized and embraced the need for Buddhism at a religious level. In general, Confucianism and Buddhism can be seen as theoretically conflicting. However, Sejong thought that he could govern with Confucianism while maintaining his Buddhist beliefs at the same time. Therefore, though he aspired for Confucian politics, he kept his belief in Buddhism. However, he made a strict distinction between his belief and the purpose of national policy, which led him to restructure secularized Buddhism in a political way. The goal of his reform in Buddhism was not to eradicate Buddhism but to maintain it as a religion. At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that Buddhism as a religion was still functioning nationally and socially under his reign. It was still a religion of the many. Some scholars who had studied Neo-Confucianism also maintained their belief in Buddhism. Under such circumstances, Sejong recognized and tolerated activities of the Buddhist order despite criticism from the strong opponents of Buddhism, and he controlled the content and speed of Buddhist reform. When seen from the Confucian scholars’ perspective, his measures may have seemed ideologically confused. However, for a king who is responsible for state administration, Sejong seems to have taken an appropriate policy that corresponded to the reality of his time.

keywords
Buddhism and Confucianism religion and politics knowledge andreligion King Sejong criticism on Buddhism Buddhism and Confucianism religion and politics knowledge andreligion King Sejong criticism on Buddhism

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