Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - International Propagation of Won Buddhism in Asia

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Casuarina, Lower Ground Floor

The purpose of this paper is to show ways in which propagation activities of Won Buddhism are maintained in contemporary South Asia. This research is based on two methods; one is interviews with Won Buddhist clergies, embassy officials, and Korean students studying in the research field, and the other investigation of related data produced by the Won Buddhist order. The South Asian propagation of Won Buddhism is currently underway in Nepal and Myanmar. While in Southeast Asia the propagation activities revolve around Won Buddhist temples, in South Asia international Won Buddhist NGOs such as “Samdong International” take the lead. Won Buddhist missionary work has so far taken a twofold strategy of applying medicine and education, one which Christian missionaries used in early modern Korea. For example, the Won Buddhist order has dispatched medical doctors, both Oriental and Western, produced by Wonkwang University, an affiliated university of the Won Buddhist order, and has also built schools and cultural centers. In order not to crash into the ethnicity of South Asian people, it is known that Won Buddhist missionaries take a respectful approach to the traditional culture of the missionary field. This paper will verify a hypothesis that Won Buddhism pursues indirect propagation tactics in South Asia where there is the single dominant religion of Islam while it proceeds a temple-centered propagation in Southeast Asia where multiple religions coexist.

SungSoon Kim

Korea National University of Cultural Heritage, Republic of Korea

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