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Buddhist Funerals or Confucian Funerals?

Understanding the Cultural Differences between Korea and Vietnam

Buddhist Funerals or Confucian Funerals?

This is the first webinar in the 'Korea-Vietnam before the 20th Century Series' scheduled for Winter 2023. This series brings together scholars interested in Korean-Vietnamese in dialogue in order to develop a framework for meaningful future collaboration.

Thursday, January 26, 2023
6:00 PM (Pacific Time)

Around the 14th and the 15th centuries, Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism was transmitted to Chosŏn and Vietnam, and his seminar text Family Rituals exerted profound impacts on the cultures of the two societies. Focusing on pre-modern Chosŏn's and Vietnam's receptions of Zhu Xi's Family Rituals, this talk will show how Buddhist funerals were replaced by Confucian ones in the two societies as a result. Prior to the time between the 14th and the 15th centuries, Buddhism was the orthodox ideology in both Chosŏn and Vietnam: the Goryeo kings held on to the belief that the founding and prosperity of their kingdom was attributed to the protection of Buddhism; the Tran monarchs went further to retire from the world and established a Truc Lam zen sect. Since Buddhism believes in reincarnation, the body of the deceased is thought to have little significance as it no longer serves as the vassal of the soul, and therefore should be cremated in funerals. On the contrary, Confucianism holds that the soul would return to the body and prefers the burial in funerals. The processes in which Confucian funerals challenged and replaced the Buddhis counterparts differed in Chosŏn and Vietnam, which illustrate how these two East Asian societies differed in significant cultural aspects.   

To join the talk, please click here.


Dr. HSU Yi Ling is Associate Professor at the Department of Korean Languages and Literature, Chinese Culture University, Taiwan. She holds a Ph.D. in Korean literature from Seoul National University, Republic of Korea. Here current research focuses on book history and intellectual history in East Asia, especially the comparison of Korea and Vietnam's different ways of receipting Neo-Confucianism books from China from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Her recent publication, "Xing Li Da Quan in East Asia: A Chosŏn and Vietnam Comparison" (in Chinese, Chung Cheng Chinese Studies, 2018), tries to show that the highest value of Neo-Confucianism in Vietnam lies in the imperial examination, but the most important thing for Chosŏn scholars is metaphysical spirituality.   

Dr. Sujung Kim is associate professor of religious studies at DePauw University. She received he Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 2014 and her M.A. in Buddhist Philosophy from Korea University in 2007. While her research primarily centers on the premodern transcultural interactions between Japanese and Korean religions, her interdisciplinary research interests also include modern/contemporary Korean Buddhism.  


This series is sponsored by Academy of Korean Studies (Project: AKS-2020-C-15), James P. Geiss & Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation, UCLA’s Center for Korean Studies, Center of Southeast Asian Studies, and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. 


Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies

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