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Countercurrents from the West: "Blue-eyed" Zen Masters, Vipassana Meditation and Buddhist Psychotherapy in Contemporary Korea

UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies Numata Colloquium Series Talk by Prof. Ryan Bongseok Joo (Hampshire College)

Friday, February 05, 2010
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
UCLA Royce Hall 243
Los Angeles, CA 90095

One surprising and yet relatively unknown aspect of contemporary Korean Buddhism is the significant influence of American and European Buddhism. From the 1990s on, South Koreans began to witness well-educated Caucasian monastic residents via Korean media, and the emergence of new bestsellers by authors like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hahn and Jack Kornfield, written initially for Western audiences but since translated  into Korean. The new teachings from the West have inspired a sudden growth of interest in vipassana meditation as an "alternative" to Ganhwa Zen meditation practice, and the emergence of a new academic field: Buddhist psychotherapy. This new wave of transnational influence from the West has changed not only the way Koreans practice Buddhism but also how they perceive Buddhist history and their own identities. In addition, the perceived "prestige" of Buddhism in the West has provided a new rhetorical strategy to defend Buddhism against other religions, particularly Korean evangelical Christianity.

Cost : Free and open to the public

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