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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks closely at key events and noticeable patterns of contemporary Korean Buddhist traditions over the past three decades. After a brief historical background on Korean Buddhism prior to the twentieth century, it turns to early twentieth-century changes under Japanese colonial rule and the postcolonial period in South Korea that set the stage for a series of overlapping trends beginning in the 1980s. These show how the contemporary period has produced more opportunities for lay Buddhists to practice and worship in Korea, to learn and study, to volunteer their time for various causes and help spread the Dharma, and even to experience temporarily the daily routines and forms of practice that were once reserved for monastics. The reorientation of the tradition toward greater social outreach and active involvement in social and political affairs, together with a sharp increase in Buddhist orders and organizations, is also discussed.

Keywords: Korea, Buddhism, Dharma, South Korea, postcolonial

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