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Ŭich'ŏn

(1055—1101)


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(1055–1101).

A Korean Buddhist monk of the Koryŏ period. The fourth son of a king, he received a thorough grounding in Confucian studies (see Confucianism) before leaving the household life. After joining the monastic order (Saṃgha), he began the study of Hwaŏm (Chin., Hua-yen) Buddhism. Later, in 1085, he travelled to China.where he studied widely under over 50 masters, covering T'ien-t'ai.Ch'an.Hua-yen, and Vinaya studies. Upon his return to Korea.he attempted to lay the foundations for a synthesis of Ch'an and doctrinal/textual studies in order to help ameliorate the rivalry between them. However, his own bias in favour of doctrinal studies hindered acceptance of his theories, and he died at too young an age to have had much impact. Nevertheless, he is remembered for his wide learning and his literary output, and for his efforts in preserving Buddhist texts that had been lost in China after the persecutions of the mid-T'ang.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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