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치유와 심학 19세기 조선 삼성의 강필을 중심으로 : Healing and Mind Practice Spirit Writing of Three Deities in 19th century Joseon

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종교와 문화 No.43, pp.1-60
This article aims to explore practices and ideas of healing centered on the Gwanwang shrine in Seoul in the late 19th century, when Joseon Korea suffered from recurring wars, drought, floods, and epidemics. First, it traces how the Daoist time-concept of cosmic cycle, geob-un/jieyun 劫運 (turning of kalpa), evolved into a general concept in vernacular Chinese novels, historical records, and official documents from around the 17th-18th centuries in China and Korea. Belief in the eschatological catastrophe at the end of kalpa fueled an increase in publication and circulation of Three Deities scriptures (Gwanje/Guandi 關帝, Munje/Wendi 文帝, and Yeojo/Lüzu 呂祖), which have a common narrative of deliverance from the destructive transition through the Enlightenment of humanity. Confronted with epidemic diseases like cholera and smallpox, spirit writing of Three Deities provided specific salvific methods, ranging from herbal medicine to talismanic healing and exorcism. Investigation of medical books of the time reveals those remedies belong to everyday life knowledge and common medical-magical practices. Further, it calls into question the classification of such ideas and practices as Daoist, because its theoretical basis was identified with Mind Practice or simhak/xinxue 心學, a way of unifying the Three Teachings―Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism. The spirit-written texts emphasized that human goodness is the elixir of salvation. This research suggests the intellectual changes that occurred in the late 19th century cannot be reduced to the singular framework of transition from superstition to science. Instead, it illuminates the quest to transform the bodies and minds of the entire Joseon community under the theme of Enlightenment.
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