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Buddhism, Meditation, and the Happiness Crisis in South Korea: In Pursuit of Emptiness or Happiness?

Mark A. NathanĀ | University at Buffalo

This presentation explores the relatively recent trend within Korean Buddhism and Korean society more broadly of the popularization of meditational practices. From the creation of urban lay Buddhist meditation centers to the utilization of prison cells transformed into spaces of introspection, ordinary people have many options for pursuing meditation. What are the implications for Korean Buddhism in light of the happiness crisis? With respect to lay meditation, how should happiness be regarded when it becomes the goal of the practice rather than a religious awakening?