The Figure of Baozhi (418-524): A Model for the Buddhist Historiography of the Koryò Dynasty?






Yannick Brunteon, Maître de conférences, Université Paris Diderot

From: Journal of Korean ReligionsVolume 3, Number 2, October, 2012
pp. 117-151 | 10.1353/jkr.2012.0019


(Publication : 24/05/2013 –Projet MUSE)

The present paper represents the first step of an appraisal of the influence, in the Korean historiographic tradition, of the archetypal model of Baozhi as a textual and religious paradigm. It shows that, even if the references in Korean sources to Baozhi, the Liang Dhyāna master, are scant (« literary motif » in literati works, Biographies of the monks Wŏnhyo, Yangji and Podŏk in the Samguk yusa, legends of the founding of the Haein and Kyŏnam Temples as transmitted by the Naong School), the fact remains that he had an indelible influence on the pre-modern Buddhist historiography of Korea. In the written culture of Koryŏ and Chosŏn, the paradigmatic figure of Baozhi generally functioned in the same way as in China. However, it would seem that each period selectively adopted one or another of the archetypal functions that characterized the monk, influenced by the construction Baozhi’s myth in China, but also depending upon the political and social position of Buddhism on the Korean peninsula. During the Koryŏ period, Baozhi’s influence was the strongest as one of the models that went into the development of the myth of Tosŏn (the monk-prophet legitimizing the establishment of the dynasty and initiator of Buddhist construction).

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