Three publications arrived at the Center with the beginning of 2012:
Faculty Publication: The Old Master: A Syncretic Reading of the Laozi from the Mawangdui A Onward (SUNY Press, 2012)
A unique translation of and commentary on the Laozi, based on the oldest edition of the work.
This unique, highly contextualized translation of the Laozi is based on the earliest known edition of the work, Text A of the Mawangdui Laozi, written before 202 BCE. No other editions are comparable to this text in its antiquity. Hongkyung Kim also incorporates the recent archaeological discovery of Laozi-related documents disentombed in 1993 in Guodian, seeing these documents as proto-materials for compilation of the Laozi and revealing clues for disentangling the work from complicated exegetical contentions. Kim makes extensive use of Chinese commentaries on the Laozi and also examines the classic Chinese texts closely associated with the formation of the work to illuminate the intellectual and historical context of Laozi’s philosophy.
Kim offers several original and thought-provoking arguments on the Laozi, including that the work was compiled during the Qin, which has traditionally been viewed as typical of Legalist states, and that the Laozi should be recognized as a syncretic text before being labeled a Daoist one.
Hongkyung Kim is Associate Professor of East Asian Thought and Religions at Stony Brook University, State University of New York.
Center's Wonhyo Publication Project: Wonhyo's Philosophy of Mind Vol. II (Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2012)
Leading East Asian Buddhist thinkers of the seventh century compared, analyzed, and finalized seminal epistemological and soteriological issues that had been under discussion in India and East Asia for centuries. Among the many doctrinal issues that came to the fore was the relationship between the Tathagatagarbha (or “Buddha-nature”) understanding of the human psyche and the view of basic karmic indeterminacy articulated by the new stream of Indian Yogacara introduced through the translations and writings of Xuanzang and his disciples. The great Silla scholiast Wonhyo (617–686), although geographically located on the periphery in the Korean peninsula, was very much at the center of the intense discussion and debate that occurred on these topics. Through the force of his writings, he became one of the most influential figures in resolving doctrinal discrepancies for East Asian Buddhism.
Although many of Wonhyo’s writings are lost, through his extant work we are able to get a solid glimpse of his profound and learned insights on the nature and function of the human mind. We can also clearly see his hermeneutical approaches and methods of argumentation, which are derived from apophatic Madhyamika analysis, the newly introduced Buddhist logic, as well as various indigenous East Asian approaches. This volume includes four of Wonhyo’s works that are especially revelatory of his treatment of the complex flow of ideas in his generation: System of the Two Hindrances (Yijang ui), Treatise on the Ten Ways of Resolving Controversies (Simmun hwajaeng non), Commentary on the Discrimination between the Middle and the Extremes (Chungbyon punbyollon so), and the Critical Discussion on Inference (P’an piryang non).
The International Association of Wonhyo Studies’ Collected Works of Wonhyo, Volume 2
Translated and Edited by A. Charles Muller and Cuong T. Nguyen
Center's Korean Studies Publication Project: The Dharma Master Chŏngsan of Won Buddhism by Professor Bongkil Chung (SUNY Press, 2012)
The first English translations of the writings of Chŏngsan (1900–62), who codified the central doctrines of Won Buddhism.
Won Buddhism emerged in early twentieth-century Korea after a long period of anti-Buddhist repression. It is a syncretic tradition, a form of Buddhism strongly influenced by the Chŏson dynasty’s Neo-Confucian ethical heritage and by Daoism. Seeking to deliver sentient beings from suffering and to create a just and ethical world, Won Buddhism stresses practical application of the dharma and service. It offers a vision of people as one family, morally perfected.
This book provides the first English translations of the writings of Chŏngsan (1900–62), the second dharma master of Won Buddhism, who codified the new religion’s central doctrines. The translations here include Chŏngsan’s discussion of Buddha-nature, described as a mind-seal and symbolized by the Irwŏnsang (a unitary circle); his synthesis of Confucian moral and political programs with Buddhist notions of emancipation from birth and death; and his expositions on realizing the ideal of all people as one family.
“Chung’s book is an important addition to the small existing oeuvre on the Won Buddhist tradition of Korea. This is an elegant, accessible, and carefully annotated translation of a seminal work.” — Robert Buswell, editor ofReligions of Korea in Practice
Bongkil Chung is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Florida International University. His books include The Scriptures of Won Buddhism: A Translation of the Wŏnbulgyo Kyojŏn with Introduction and An Introduction to Won Buddhism.