Thursday, 26 November 2009


beberapa hari yang lalu, di mata kuliah komunikasi antar Budaya, dosen saya menyuruh membahas tentang orang KOrea dan agama, Dan daripada nganggur dan cuman dinikmati dosen dan saya sendiri, mending di posting aja, kan? hoho…

Korea as one of East Asian member, moreover as one of Asian country, it does believe about myths, legends or other similar stuffs. Korea has a unique blending of religion. Traditional Buddhism, Shamanism, Taoism and Confucianism from the past time, and at present Christianity gaining more popularity among Koreans. But also Islam, Hindu and even Jew reached Korea. Koreans, their religious outlook has not been conditioned by a single, exclusive faith but by a combination of indigenous beliefs and creeds imported into Korea.
Shamanism, a belief which believes in a world inhabited by spirits is probably the oldest form of Korean religious life, dating back to prehistoric times. There is a rather unorganized pantheon of literally millions of gods, spirits, and ghosts, ranging from the “god generals” who rule the different quarters of heaven to mountain spirits (sansin). This pantheon also includes gods who inhabit trees, sacred caves, and stones, as well as earth spirits, gods of households and villages, mischievous goblins, and the ghosts of persons who in many cases met violent or tragic ends. These spirits are said to have the power to influence or to change the fortunes of living men and women.
Taoism is philosophical and religious traditions and concepts. These traditions have influenced East Asia for over two thousand years and some have spread to the West. Taoist propriety and ethics emphasizes on Compassion, Moderation, Humility, Nature, Health, Longevity, Wu wei (an important concept of Taoism , that involves knowing when to act and when not to act) Liberty, Immortality. Tao originally comes from word ‘Dao’ which means unshaped and unseen, but the core of all that happened and created in this world. Tao forms as a living particle and as base of the Taoism. That explains why Taoism related on Nature. Tao is calm just like water and eternal. A human can reach an eternity if he practice the Taoism which later transform into a God to live eternally. Moreover, Tao teaches about yin and yang.
When Buddhism was originally introduced to Korea from China in 372, or about 800 years after the death of the historical Buddha, Shamanism was the indigenous religion. As it was not seen to conflict with the rites of nature worship, it was allowed to blend in with Shamanism. Thus, the mountains that were believed to be the residence of spirits in pre-Buddhist times became the sites of Buddhist temples. Shamanism three major believe in spirit is Mountain God (sansin), Toksong (the hermit/recluse) and chilsong (the seven stars), and Buddhism accepted these as well till today. As it is reflected by an existence of shrines beside Buddhist temples. The blending of Shamanism and Buddhism casually called Korean Buddhism.
Confucianism is also a big influence in Korean daily living. Most of Korean daily gesture, base of thought and activities stick on Confucianism. Confucianism is a Chinese etiquette and philosophical thought which stand on “Filial piety”. Filial piety is considered among the greatest of virtues and must be shown towards both the living and the dead (including even remote ancestors). The term “filial” (meaning “of a child”) characterizes the respect that a child, originally a son, should show to his parents. This relationship was extended by analogy to a series of five relationships :
1. Ruler to Subject
2. Father to Son
3. Husband to Wife
4. Elder Brother to Younger Brother
5. Friend to Friend (the participants in this relationship being equal to one another)

Although Christianity mostly known enter Korean soil in 1794, a decade after the return of a Korean diplomat Yi Gwang-Jeong from his visit to Beijing, actually the first Korean Christian is a Korean girl who later known as Julia Ota-a. She was taken by Konishi Yukinaga, who was one of the commanders of the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s. A decade later, however, Yi Gwang-Jeong returned from Beijing carrying the world atlas and several theological books written by Matteo Ricci –a Jesuit missionary in China-. Before 1948 Pyongyang was an important Christian centre. Since Confucian influence in Northern part of Korea was not as strong in Southern part. But when communism regime establishment started in north, the Christians had to flee across the border or faced persecution.
How Christianity helps democracy in Korea
Generally, Christianity gives a positive impact in Korea growing phases. Social changing, economic success and even contributed in Korea independence from Japan colonialism. One of the most important factors why Christianity widely accepted by most of the Koreans was the identification that many Christians forged with the cause of Korean Nationalism during the Japanese Colonialism in 1905 to 1945. Moreover, many Korean Christians believe that their values have had a significant positive effect on various social relationships. Traditional Korean society was hierarchically arranged according to Confucian principles under the semi-divine emperor. Like a women social status lay under the men. Christian values also favoured the social emancipation of women and children. The church permitted the remarriage of widows (not traditionally allowed in East Asian societies). These changes were judged as favourable by many Koreans, who associated them with Christianity, and many became Christians as a result.

Are Koreans open minded with a new religion? Does harmony help the believes grow?
In my opinion Koreans are not as open minded as the Europeans. There were some historical fact that support this opinion. Ch’ondogyo, generally regarded as the first of Korea’s “new religions,” is another important religious tradition. It is a synthesis of Confucian, Buddhist, shamanistic, Daoist, and Catholic influences. established by Choe Je-u, a man of Yang-ban background who claimed to have experienced a mystic encounter with God, who told him to preach to all the world. Ch’oe was executed by the government as a heretic in 1863, but not before he had acquired a number of followers and had committed his ideas to writing. Same things was happened when the first coming of Christianity. Persecution has been shown historically to strengthen the faith of believers and increase the influence of the church. Many were martyred, the most famous was Andrew Kim Taegon who was the first Korean-born Roman Catholic Church priest, who was beheaded in 1846 at the age of 25 for his practice of a foreign religion. It is not strange, since the deeply-rooted traditional religions of Shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism held strong for many centuries, and Christianity was challenge in such a meaningful way. Even though today Koreans as not extreme as in the past times, a new religion is not easily acceptable. They do understand that nowadays there are foreigners and live among the diversity. But they don’t directly accept such a new thing.
Korea and Indonesia general outlook depend on religion view
Korea in case that traditional religions such as Shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism was strongly held by the peoples. However, until today the old religions essence still influence various live aspect. Shamanism and Confucianism are the vigorous one. Buddhism is inclining to the red thread for shamanism and Confucianism. Because of the strong power of the two above, even though modern people hold a modern religion like Christianity, practically the still do the old religion ritual. This is what called syncretism. It can be seen in cultural spot. Culturally, the arts still maintain major traditions: Korean pottery, Korean tea ceremony, Korean gardens, Korean flower arrangement which following the Confucian aesthetics. Also in numerous ceremonies that should be held along one’s life. The most important ceremonies of Korean Confucianism were those that celebrated the coming of age, marriage, death, as well as the anniversary of the death of the ancestors. Funerals had the greatest impact on the lives of ordinary people. Although Confucianism is no longer the ruling ideology, its influence on the contemporary Korean society is not difficult to find. Bowing twice in front of the portrait of someone dying is one of the Confucian thought.
Indonesia, a bit similar but different with the Korea. Indonesian also have the syncretisation. Javanese life is the easiest one to find. Most Javanese hold Islam as major religion, but still the old fashioned ceremonies should be held for the good opportunity and fortune coming. Indonesian also belief on spirits and magic and absence world. And dukun –the same position as mudang is exist too- still trusted by some people. But the difference is, since Indonesia major religion is Islam, sometime the government law was combined with Islam law. Actually Indonesia accept 5 different religion, but Islam rules are generated to public ruling. In example the alcohol drink should not sold freely, just because Muslims don’t drink alcohol. In general Indonesian life concept are based on Islam and eastern culture view. Respect to the older are important, but today it almost fade. It means, today that stuff is not as strong as the Korean do.


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