Re-thinking Married Bhikṣu : examination of Bhikṣu ordinations and clerical marriage in 1920s Korean Buddhism
Re-thinking Married Bhikṣu : examination of Bhikṣu ordinations and clerical marriage in 1920s Korean Buddhism / Park Jeongun
p. 131-163 ; 23 cm
수록자료: Seoul journal of Korean studies. Institute of Korean Studies, Seoul National University. Vol.30 no.2(2017 December), p. 131-163 30:2<131 ISSN 1225-0201 저자: Park Jeong, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
One of the most controversial issues to arise during the colonial period in Korea was the rise of clerical marriage and meat-eating among Korean monks. Given that sexual congress and meat dishes were prohibited in bhiks.u and bodhisattva precepts respectively, any examination of the issue of clerical marriage and meat-eating requires a careful exploration of the ways in which Korean monks understood and practiced bhikṣu and bodhisattva precepts not only in the colonial period but also in the late Chosŏn period. The Choso˘n period saw a weakening of the bhiks.u ordination tradition, whose ordination lineage was broken until the monk Taeŭn and the monk Manha established their own lineages by bestowing bhiks.u precepts in the eighteenth and the late nineteenth centuries, respectively. According to the Tongsa yŏlchŏn 東師列傳 (Biographies of Korean monks) written by the monk Po˘mhae in 1894, the number of bhiks.u and bodhisattva ordinations gradually increased in the nineteenth century. Because the government had overturned Buddhist institutions such as the monk examinations and certificates, monks had to secure their clerical identity by taking precepts from renowned preceptors, such as Ch’oŏi and Pŏmhae. The early Japanese colonial period also witnessed the rise of bhiks.u and bodhisattva ordinations in major Korean monasteries in part because the head-branch temple laws, a set of monastic laws, now specified that bhiks.u and bodhisattva ordinations were requirements for higher clerical positions, such as head monk or branch temple abbot. However, an examination of two cases of head temple elections, one in the T’ongdosa parish and one in the Magoksa parish, reveals that, though these requirements were in place, the way that monks understood the status of bhiks.u as it pertained to clerical marriage led to a rise in the number of bhikṣu ordinations that was surprisingly contemporaneous with the increase of clerical marriage during the colonial period.