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South Korea Table of Contents

South Korea

Daoism and Buddhism


Eighth-century granite Buddha, Sokkuram Grotto, near Kyongju
Courtesy Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Washington

Daoism, which focuses on the individual in nature rather than the individual in society, and Buddhism entered Korea from China during the Three Kingdoms period (fourth to seventh centuries A.D.). Daoist motifs are seen in the paintings on the walls of Koguryo tombs. Buddhism was the dominant religious and cultural influence during the Silla (A.D. 668-935) and Koryo (918-1392) dynasties. Confucianism also was brought to Korea from China in early centuries, but it occupied a subordinate position until the establishment of the Choson Dynasty and the persecution of Buddhism carried out by the early Choson Dynasty kings (see Social Structure and Values , this ch.).

Data as of June 1990