Buddhism in Korea

1st Century CE:

  • Korea's early development is intimately tied to its relations with China (keeping in mind that the process of development is interactive)
  • Earliest form of religion in Korea is called Shamanism
  • Chinese colonies spring up in Korea
  • Buddhism is transmitted to Korea during the Three Kingdoms Period (c.370-670CE)

372-384 CE:

  • Monk Shun-tao from china introduces Buddhism to Korea
  • Monk Malanada spreads Buddhism farther in 384 CE
  • The first Buddhist monastery erected on Korean soil (c.376)
  • Broad regional reception and acceptance of Buddhism under the Seradian monk Maranani'a (c.384-onward)

528 CE:

  • Monk Ichadon was martyred, and therefore this is the "official" date of introduction
  • The last of the Three Kingdoms, that of Silla, embraces Buddhism

6th and 7th Centuries CE:

  • In conquering the other two kingdoms, that of Koguryo and Paekehe, Silla found it politically advantageous to support the spread of Buddhism
  • Korean monks are sent to China to bring back Buddhist teachings
  • The scholastic schools of Chinese Buddhism were introduced into Korea
  • Ideologies were consolidated and new schools were organized
  • Pomnany brings Ch'an (in Korean: "Son") school of Budddhism, taught by Tao-hsin, the fourth patriarch of the Chinese Ch'an school, back to Korea

935-1392 CE:

  • Called Koryo Period
  • Buddhism reaches its peak importance at this time in Korea
  • The Koryo School of Buddhism inspires a reconciliation between the Son and scholastic schools
  • The unification of these two schools would occupy numerous religious figures over the next centuries

14th and 15th Centuries CE:

  • Yi dynasty in power (c.1392)
  • Kings were hostile toward Buddhists