Kim Sung-hae & James W. Heisig, editors
Published in collaboration with the Seton Interreligious Research CenterSeton Interreligious Research Center
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When the history of Christian monasticism is written for the twentieth century, it will include one surprising and revolutionary development that nothing in its previous history could have prepared it for: the living dialogue with Buddhism. Over the past thirty years, while Christian theologians were eagerly discussing their doctrinal traditions with their Buddhist counterparts and rethinking their characterization of the "non-Christian" world, men and women monastics East and West were sharing methods of meditation and experiencing life in one another's communities. All of this, in turn, was part of a larger pursuit among religious-minded people across the world for a revitalized spirituality, one open to the inheritance of traditions previously considered false or at least irretrievably foreign.
The present volume includes chapters describing the origins, faith and practice of the three main "new religions" of Korea—Cheondo-gyo, Uaejong-gyo and Won-Buddhism—written by members of each, as well as general chapters considering them from a sociological viewpoint, and a Christian perspective. The book ends with a transcript of an open exchange between senior members of the religions.
The relationship between these competing spiritual powers, the new religions on the one hand and Christianity on the other, has not been purely negative. They have continued to stimulate each other to find new ways to approach those confused by the fast-moving, ever-changing world of new images and paradigms.
The essays that have been brought together in this volume seek to understand how the great variety of elements that go into the Korean religious landscape today might collaborate in the wider efforts of Korea to that is upon us all.