[Vol. 20 No. 2] ENGAGING THE URBAN BUDDHIST LAITY: THE ‘BUDDHIST SOLIDARITY FOR REFORM’ ORGANIZATION IN SOUTH KOREA
|Title||ENGAGING THE URBAN BUDDHIST LAITY: THE ‘BUDDHIST SOLIDARITY FOR REFORM’ ORGANIZATION IN SOUTH KOREA|
Santosh K. Gupta
Vol. 20, No. 2
pp. 563~590 (all 28 pages)
Lay Buddhism, engaged Buddhism, reformation, social welfare, social base, social networking, urban laity, Buddhist Solidarity for Reform (BSR)
During the Japanese colonial period and after the arrival of Korean independence, Korean Buddhism experienced a noticeable revival and rise of Buddhist organizations and NGOs. This article aims to examine the characteristics of lay Buddhist communities, with special reference to the ‘Buddhist Solidarity for Reform’ (BSR) organization in contemporary South Korea, which is actively engaging the laity by defining the role of modern Buddhism. This leading organization began as a distinct community movement confined to the urban masses and based on Buddhist beliefs. The group seeks reform of monastic Buddhism and calls for deeper participation of the laity in Buddhist activities. The BSR represents the elite urban class and primarily functions as a moderator for socially engaged Buddhism. This organization not only deals with community matters but also serves to buttress promotion of Buddhist practices in everyday life. The BSR functions completely independently and is critical toward the monastic-centric Buddhist orders of South Korea. Describing historical shifts in the lay Buddhist movements, this study analyzes how the lay Buddhist organizations are raising their voices, furthering social agendas for the urban laity and expanding their social bases by forming religious social networks.