What is Korean Buddhism? Korean Buddhism received all Buddhist tradition which were in fasion in China As you know, Chinese Buddhism started Han China(漢). There has been debated whether Buddhist missionaries first reached Han Dynasty in China via the maritime or overland routes of the Silk Road.
The maritime route hypothesis, favored by Liang Qichao and Paul Pelliot, proposed that Buddhism was originally practiced in southern China, the Yangtze River and Huai River region, where prince Ying of Chu (present day Jiangsu) was jointly worshipping the Yellow Emperor, Laozi, and Buddha in 65 CE. The overland route hypothesis, favored by Tang Yongtong, proposed that Buddhism diseminated eastward through Yuezhi and was originally practiced in western China, at the Han capital Luoyang (present day Henan), where Emperor Ming of Han established the White Horse Temple in 68 CE. Rong Xinjiang, a history professor at Peking University, reexamined the overland and maritime hypotheses through a multi-disciplinary review of recent discoveries and research, including the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts, and concluded:>
Chinese Buddhism has played an prominent role in East Asia such as Korea, Japan, Ryukyu Islands and Vietnam. When Buddhism was introduced to the Korean peninsular, there were three kingdoms. But actually there were four kingdoms including Gaya kingdom.
Former Qin(前秦) 376 CE.
The concept of the Three Kingdoms of Korea (삼국시대; 三國時代) refers to the three kingdoms of Baekje (百濟), Silla (新羅) and Goguryeo (高句麗). The kingdom of Goguryeo is different from Korean dynasty Goryeo (高麗, 928–1392 AD). The Three Kingdoms period was defined as being from 57 BC to 668 AD (but there existed about 78 tribal states in the southern region of Korean peninsula and relatively big states like Okjeo, Buyeo, and Dongye in its northern part and Manchuria).
Three Kingdoms of Korea Map.png
Map of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, at the end of the 5th century.
Goguryeo emerged on the north and south banks of the Yalu (Amrok) River, in the wake of Gojoseon,s fall. The first mention of Goguryeo in Chinese records dates from 75 BC in reference to a commandery established by the Chinese Han dynasty. although even earlier mentions of "Guri"(句丽） may be of the same state. Evidence indicates Goguryeo was the most advanced, and likely the first established, of the three kingdoms.
Goguryeo, eventually the largest of the three kingdoms, had several capitals in alternation: two capitals in the upper Yalu area, and later Nangrang (樂浪: Lelang in Chinese) which is now part of Pyongyang. At the beginning, the state was located on the border with China; it gradually expanded into Manchuria and destroyed the Chinese Lelang commandery in 313. The cultural influence of the Chinese continued as Buddhism was adopted as the official religion in 372.
The state was at its zenith in the fifth century during the rule of King Gwanggaeto the Great and his son King Jangsu in their campaign against China in Manchuria. For the next century or so, Goguryeo was the dominant nation in Chinese Manchuria and the Korean peninsula. Goguryeo eventually occupied the Liaodong Plains in Manchuria and today's Seoul area. Goguryeo controlled not only Koreans but also Chinese and other Tungusic tribes in Manchuria and North Korea. After the establishment of the Sui Dynasty and later the Tang Dynasty in China, the estate continued to aggress China and Korean Silla and Baekje until conquered by an allied Silla–Tang forces in 668.Its most territory was received by Chinese Tang Dynasty and the territory of former Baekje was received by Korean Silla .
Buddhism was introduced to Goguryeo in 372 CE. The Former Qin brought Buddhism to Doguryeo. This is the first time Buddhism came to the Korean peninsular. What country is the Former Qin.
The Former Qin (351-394) was a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms in China. Founded by an officer in Shi Le's dynasty, it completed the unification of North China in 376. Its capital had been Xi'an up to the death of the ruler Fu Jiān. Despite its name, the Former Qin was much later and less powerful than the Qin Dynasty which ruled all of China during the 3rd century BC. The adjective "former" is used to distinguish it from the "Later Qin" state (384-417).
The defeat of the Former Qin in the Battle of Fei River and the subsequent uprisings split the Former Qin territory into two noncontiguous pieces after the death of Fu Jiān: one located at present-day Taiyuan, Shanxi and was soon overwhelmed in 386 by the Xianbei under the Later Yan and the Dingling. The other struggled in its greatly reduced territories around the border of present-day Shaanxi and Gansu until disintegration in 394 under years of invasions by the Western Qin and the Later Qin.
In 327, the Gaochang commandery was created by the Former Liang under the Han Chinese ruler Zhang Gui. After this, significant Han Chinese settlement occurred, a major, large part of the population becoming Chinese. In 383 The General Lu Guang of the Former Qin seized control of the region.
All rulers of the Former Qin proclaimed themselves "Emperor" except for Fu Jiān, who claimed the title "Heavenly Prince" (Tian Wang) but was posthumoustly considered an emperor.
Fú Jiān (苻堅/苻坚; 337–385), courtesy name Yonggu (永固) or Wenyu (文玉), formally Emperor Xuanzhao of (Former) Qin ((前)秦宣昭帝), was an emperor (who, however, used the title "Heavenly Prince" (Tian Wang) during his reign) of the Chinese Di state Former Qin. under whose rule (assisted by his able prime minister Wang Meng) the Former Qin state reached its greatest glory—destroying Former Yan, Former Liang, and Dai and seizing Jin's Yi Province (益州, modern Sichuan and Chongqing), posturing to destroy Jin as well to unite China, until he was repelled at the Battle of Fei River in 383. For a variety of reasons, the Former Qin state soon collapsed after that defeat, and Fú Jiān himself was killed by his former subordinate, Yao Chang the founding emperor of Later Qin in 385.
We need to understand how Former Qin and Fu Jian was interested in Buddhism and spreading in China and other neighboring countries such as Goguryeo(Korea) etc. Former Qin was interested in Tripitaka master Kumarajiva as well. Who was Kumarajiva?
The Statue of Kumārajīva in front of the Kizil Caves in Kuqa County, Xinjiang, China.
Kumārajīva (鳩滅什334–413 CE) was a Buddhist monk, scholar, and translator from the Kingdom of Kucha. He first studied teachings of the Sarvastivadin schools, later studied under Buddhasvāmin, and finally became an adherent of Mahayana Buddhism, studying the Mādhyamaka doctrine of Nāgārjuna.
Kumārajīva settled in Chang'an during the Sixteen Kingdoms era. He is mostly remembered for the prolific translation of Buddhist texts written in Sanskrit to Chinese he carried out during his later life.
In Turpan his fame spread after beating a Tirthika teacher in debate, and King Po-Shui of Kucha came to Turpan to ask Kumārajīva personally to return with him to Kucha city. Kumārajīva obliged and returned to instruct the king's daughter A-kie-ye-mo-ti, who had become a nun, in the Mahāsannipāta and Avatamsaka Sutras.
At age 20, Kumārajīva was fully ordained at the king's palace, and lived in a new monastery built by king Po-Shun. Notably, he received Vimalākṣa who was his preceptor, a Sarvāstivādin monk from Kashmir, and was instructed by him in the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya Piṭaka. Kumārajīva proceeded to study the Pañcaviṁśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, one of the longer Prajñāpāramitā texts. He is known to have engaged in debates, and to have encouraged dialogue with foreign monks. Jīvaka is thought to have moved to Kashmir.
White Horse Pagoda, Dunhuang, commemorating Kumarajiva's white horse which carried the scriptures to China, c. 384 CE
In 379 CE, Kumārajīva's fame reached China when a Chinese Buddhist monk named Seng Jun visited Kucha and described Kumārajīva's abilities. Efforts were then made by Emperor Fu Jian (苻堅) of the Former Qin Dynasty to bring Kumārajīva to Qin capital of Chang'an. To do this, his general Lu Guang was dispatched with an army in order to conquer Kucha and return with Kumārajīva. Fu Jian is recorded as telling his general, "Send me Kumārajīva as soon as you conquer Kucha." However, when Fu Jian's main army at the capital was defeated, his general Lu Guang declared his own state and became a warlord in 386 CE, and had Kumārajīva captured when he was around 40 years old. Being a non-Buddhist, Lu Guang had Kumārajīva imprisoned for many years, essentially as booty. During this time, it is thought that Kumārajīva became familiar with the Chinese language. Kumarajiva was also coerced by Lu into marrying the Kutcha King's daughter, which resulted in his chastity vow being negated.
At Chang'an, Kumārajīva was immediately introduced to the emperor Yao Xing, the court, and the Buddhist leaders. He was hailed as a great master from the Western regions, and immediately took up a very high position in Chinese Buddhist circles of the time, being given the title of National Teacher. Yao Xing looked upon him as his own teacher, and many young and old Chinese Buddhists flocked to him, learning both from his direct teachings and through his translation bureau activities.
Kumārajīva appeared to have a major influence on Emperor Yao Xing's actions later on, as he avoided actions that may lead to many deaths, while trying to act gently toward his enemies. At his request, Kumārajīva translated many sutras into Chinese. Yao Xing also built many towers and temples. Because of the influence of Kumārajīva and Yao Xing, it was described that 90% of the population became Buddhists.
The second era of translators A. D. 400 was that of Kumaradjiva of Kashmir. There can be no doubt that he made use of SH and S as separate letters for he never confounds them in his choice of Chinese characters. The Chinese words already introduced by his predecessors he did not alter, and in introducing new terms required in the translation of the Mahayana literature, the 大乘 Tasheng or greater development, he uses SH for SH and usually B for V. Thus the city Shravasti was in Pali Savatthi and in Chinese Sha-ba-ti. Probably Kumaradjiva himself speaking in the Cashmere dialect of Sanscrit called it Shabati.
Among the most important texts translated by Kumārajīva are the Diamond Sutra, Amitabha Sutra, Lotus Sutra, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa which was a commentary (attributed to Nagarjuna) on the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.
Kumarajiva had four main disciples: 道生 Daosheng, 僧肇 Sengzhao, 道融 Daorong, and 僧叡 Sengrui.
I brought most of articles from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia in order to undestand pre-Korean Buddhism which was spread out in Northern China. It is important background for adoption of Buddhism in Korean peninsular for the first time.
Dr. Lee Chi-ran
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