Saturday, May 26, 2012

Seeking the core of Korean Buddhism

For Sem Vermeersch, associate professor of religious studies at Seoul National University, this year means a lot. 

The Belgian scholar, one of the leading academics in Korean studies, has been studying ancient Korean Buddhism for 20 years, particularly during the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392) which was strongly attached to the political system of the time. 

Speaking with The Korea Herald at his office at Kyujanggak, a former royal library of Joseon at SNU that currently houses an extensive collection of Korean historical documents, the humble scholar says he has a long way to go.

“There is a Chinese saying that learning is like pedaling against the stream. This means that once you stop learning because you think you have achieved a lot, you will go back to the starting line,” Vermeersch said.

Fluent in several languages including English, Chinese and Korean, the professor has been opening the eyes of both Korean and foreign students to the fascinating world of Buddhism in medieval Korea and has contributed to developing the subject at an international level. The professor has been coordinating academic exchanges among scholars around the world on Korean studies for years. 

He has published a number of studies and books in English that offer a deeper understanding of Korean history and culture for international audiences. Vermeersch is also the author of “The Power of the Buddhas: The Politics of Buddhism During the Koryo Dynasty” published by Harvard University Asia Center...

Read the full article from Korea Herald here

Buy "The Power of the Buddhas" from Amazon. 

No comments:

Post a Comment