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The Chikchi and Its Positions in Fourteenth-Century Korea

  • kim, jongmyung
Publication Date
Mar 13, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/rel11030126
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The purpose of this paper is to examine the historical and ideological positions of the Chikchi, a Korean Zen text. Originally composed of two fascicles, the book was published with metal type in 1377 and in woodblock print in 1378. The metal type print only remains. in its second fascicle, which is currently preserved in the La Bibliotheque nationale de France, registered in the Memory of the World by the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World list. However, the woodblock print remains in two fascicles, including the teachings of Buddhas, recorded sayings, enlightened verses, and transmission records of more than one hundred patriarchs and masters of India, China, and Korea. The role of the Chikchi shines more in modern times. As a rare book in Korea and as the oldest extant book printed with metal type in the world, it has a great significance in the world history of printing culture. The Chikchi also has originality in terms of soteriology, ideological flexibility, an open interpretation of Buddhist teachings, and an integration with Confucianism, thus suggesting its possible contribution to a better understanding of the characteristics of Korean Buddhism in particular and, by extension, East Asian Buddhism in general.

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