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In: Buddhist Apologetics in East Asia
In: Buddhist Apologetics in East Asia
Countering the Neo-Confucian Critiques in the Hufa lun and the Yusŏk chirŭi non
Author: Uri Kaplan
While the Neo-Confucian critique of Buddhism is fairly well-known, little attention has been given to the Buddhist reactions to this harangue. The fact is, however, that over a dozen apologetic essays have been written by Buddhists in China, Korea, and Japan in response to the Neo-Confucians. Buddhist Apologetics in East Asia offers an introduction to this Buddhist literary genre. It centers on full translations of two dominant apologetic works—the Hufa lun (護法論), written by a Buddhist politician in twelfth-century China, and the Yusŏk chirŭi non (儒釋質疑論), authored by an anonymous monk in fifteenth-century Korea. Put together, these two texts demonstrate the wide variety of polemical strategies and the cross-national intertextuality of East Asian Buddhist apologetics.
Author: Uri Kaplan


The impact of Kang Youwei’s Confucius-church movement has not been limited to China proper. Korean intellectuals in the early 20th century had been in contact with Kang and his students, set up affiliated institutions in their homeland, and authored creative manifestos on the reformation of Confucianism. This article surveys the reform proposals of four representative Korean Confucians and analyzes their support of, and negotiations with, Kang’s Confucius religion. It illustrates how some Korean reformers chose to adopt only Kang’s “state-protecting Confucianism” or join the movement in form but not in content, while others embraced his vision more fully, depicting their own perennial versions of the Great Unity, and developing original formats of Confucian religious practice. These proposals highlight the remarkable ways in which Protestantism served as a central model for the Confucian religious reforms of the early 20th century.

In: Numen