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Wonhyo (617-686) : a critic of sectarian doctrinal classifications



Mun, Chanju










Most of Korean Buddhist scholars are interested in proving the greatness and uniqueness of Wonhyo 元曉 (617-686) in Korean Buddhist context. However, I discussed Wonhyo’s panjiao 判敎 (Doctrinal Classification) system in the broader context of East Asian Buddhism rather than in the narrower context of Korean Buddhism. By the use of digitized texts, I comprehensively investigated that by following previous Chinese ecumenical panjiao systems, Wonhyo criticized previous and contemporary sectarian panjiao systems. Even though his own panjiao system is not found out in his extant works but is introduced and commented on it by later Huayan scholars, I discussed  his criticism of previous sectarian panjiao systems in his extant works in this article. When Xuanzang玄奘 (602-664) introduced some controversial issues of Yogācāra Buddhism to China, he and his followers established Yogācāra sectarian panjiao system. As a reaction against new Yogācāra sectarian panjiao systems, by adopting previous Dilun sectarian panjiao systems, Huayan panjiao systemizers devised other sectarian panjiao systems of Huayan Buddhism. However, as an ecumenical panjiao systemizer, Wonhyo refuted the previous sectarian panjiao systems of the Dilun School and the Nirvāṇa School and the contemporary sectarian panjiao systems of new Yogācāra Buddhism and Huayan Buddhism. By criticizing those sectarian panjiao systems, he strongly advocated ecumenical panjiao systems in his three extant works, Yeolban jongyo 涅槃宗要 (Essentials of the Nirvāṇa Sūtra), Daehyedo gyeong jongyo 大慧度經宗要 (Essentials of the Wisdom Sūtra) and Beophwa jongyo 法華宗要 (Essentials of the Lotus Sūtra).

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