Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The anti-individualism of Korean Spirituality

Ive written before about how Western culture seems to be unique in the world in its promotion of individuality and independent thought. There is much literature on how Asian societies are much more sensitive to context and relationships than Western Ones. Don Bakers book on Korean Spirituality (see book list for link) is an easy read and helped me immensely to clarify some of the spiritual reasons why this might be.

He talks about how the Korean concept of evil is better translated as a feeling or state of disharmony. Begging the question of disharmony with what, Baker replies, disharmony with other people and spirits. So at a very fundamental level Koreans traditionally have believed that avoiding evil requires one to be aware of, and get along with, those around them. Being in harmony with a group, rather than with a God or with some religious book, is the ultimate goal.

Though certainly only one piece of the puzzle, it is a good insight.


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