Problems Approaching Ancestral Worship In The Korean Protestant Religion Essay

This paper will analyze the challenges in the Korean Protestant community covering with hereditary worship. South Korea still remains to be a strong Confucianism province, which contains rich systems of rites. However since the Protestant church rejects all patterns of hereditary worship it has become a serious jobs in the Korean Christian community. Some households within the Christian community still remains to pattern hereditary worship and others have switched to chudoyebe. The inquiry of the twenty-four hours is, is hereditary worship a wickedness to honour your parents? The paper will uncover new political orientations towards hereditary worship in the Korean content, get downing with the keyword “ hereditary worship ( jesa ) . ”

First lets find whether “ hereditary worship ” fits into the Korean ritual pattern of their ascendants. This paper will separate between the ancient patterns with the modern-day patterns. Normally, this worship is practiced eight times a twelvemonth on the decease memorialization yearss from the 4th coevals beyond his parents and the other four includes seasonal vacations.[ 1 ]Many bookmans who studied ascendant worship place there are two types of liquors ( good or benevolent ascendant and evil spirit or shade ) . These differentiations are made through the cause of their decease. For illustration bad liquors is when a individual commits self-destruction or dies in an accident and it is predicted that these liquors wonder around the universe and do harm to people. However good liquors protect their posterities and household and these deceases are normal deceases.[ 2 ]But the modern-day hereditary worship has changed in recent old ages. Confucian funerals are no longer practiced since it deals with complex phases.[ 3 ]This represents a immense transmutation in our society: constructs, values, and norms of funeral had changed which can connote our society is “ altering. ” Therefore we can besides analyze if hereditary worship had changed.

Ancestral Worship in Korea

Korea is known for its mixture of beliefs, such as up to the fourteenth century Korea was a Buddhist state up to the fourteenth century. During the Joseon dynasty ( 1392 ) the authorities adopted Korea as a Confucian authorities and even today Korea is one of the most Confucianism states in East Asia. Ancestral worship is one of the four of import Confucian rites and it is prevailing in many states around the universe. The households make regular visits to their hereditary Gravess and execute the rite. Korean households who perform these rites perform during January 1 ( sul ) , August 15 ( chusok, lunar calendar ) , Hansik Day in March.

Funeral rites in a Confucianism tradition is when a individual dies, the organic structure is brought to the household and is dressed in a clean fabric. The kids so will watch at the deathbed and is to carry through duties such as composing down the last words of their parent. Date and clip is really of import at decease, for illustration they will set the clean fabric before the late breathe. When the decease is confirmed, decorations are removed and hair is loosened and the kids weep bitterly. One of the household member will take the upper garment and travel outside confronting north and climb up on the roof and name the asleep name and reiterate the name pok which means return ( this is called KOs bok ) .[ 4 ]

When these ceremonial is over the household prepares nutrient for the courier ( saja ) who escorts the dead organic structure to the other universe ( the nutrient is prepared with three bowls of rice, veggies, soy sauce, money and three braces of straw places ) . Then the organic structure is removed from the deathbed and the organic structure is turned to the North and pollexs are tied together. The griever will set merely set one arm of upper garment ( left side if it is father and right side if it is mother ) . A individual who is experience will do a spirit called honbaek with twine and paper. These twine and paper is placed on a little box called honbaek ( spirit box ) .

Peoples believe in three liquors and seven psyches. One will vanish with the courier after decease, one will remain with the organic structure, and the other will roll around the universe. The spirit box protects this last liquors. The seven psyches are two eyes, two anterior nariss, two ears and the oral cavity. These seven psyches are attached to the organic structure after decease.

The following of import phase is “ sup ” lavation of the organic structure of the deceased. One adult male will convey warm H2O brewed with mugwort or retem and other assistants will keep the corners which was used to cover the organic structure. The organic structure will be washed with a clean piece of fabric that has been soaked in H2O.[ 5 ]When the lavation procedure is finished, finger nails and hair is cut and placed into a four little bags known as choballang, which subsequently is placed into the casket.

After the organic structure is washed, the cadaver is dressed in grave apparels and before the face is covered, a individual will put rice on the cadaver oral cavity and state a “ 100 pokes of rice ” and 2nd clip, “ a 1000 pokes of rice ” and for the last clip “ 10 thousand pokes of rice. ” After this is done, a coin in placed on the oral cavity.

The organic structure is bounded with a long fabric known as yom, where both sides are twisted so that friends and household can set money into the distorted subdivision. This organic structure is used to go through the 12 Gatess of the other universe. Then the cadaver is placed into the casket, where the organic structure is covered with coverlets ( two coverlets are used one is called the “ coverlets of Earth ” and the 2nd 1 is called “ coverlet of Eden ” ) . The asleep apparels are placed into the casket. The casket is bound with a straw rope around its upper, in-between, and lower parts.

After the casket is bound, a screen is placed in forepart of the casket and a large ruddy fabric ( the deceased name ) is hung. A little tabular array is placed where the spirit box is displayed, sometimes there are stuffs that the asleep individual utilizations.

There are five different sorts of apparels ( obok ) , The main griever wears the coat, hat, and legings which are made all from hemp. The griever needs to hold a cane made from bamboo if his male parent has died and a cane made from paulownia if the female parent deceased. When nearing the deceased, there will be three dedications of vino and two ritual bows. After this public presentation, the individual meets with the asleep household. Food and vino is served to the people who comes to see the funeral and at all times the visitant wears black vesture.

The last ceremonial is when the four work forces will transport the casket and agitate it easy up and down the four corners of the room and this is suppose to drive immorality from the room.

The first rite of dirge is held on the twenty-four hours of the entombment in forepart of the bereavement shrine. The 2nd rite and the 3rd rite follow. These rites are called samu-je. After these rites the procedure of ascendant worship follows the normal manner, viz. three dedications of a glass of vino and two bows.

After three months is selected to execute the chokoh-che or concluding rite of crying. Peoples are allowed to cry continuously and after this clip the grievers weeps merely three times a twenty-four hours when he/she dedicates repasts. The twenty-four hours after the concluding rite of crying, the rite of fond regard of the ascendant tablet ( pi-ju ) is held in instances where there is a household shrine for the ascendants at place. With the rite of the new deceased becomes an ascendant of the household. The first day of remembrance of the decease is called sosang ( little memorialization ) and the 2nd decease day of remembrance is called taesang ( big memorialization ) . When this is done decently that he will execute the rite of good luck on the one hundredth twenty-four hours after big commoration.

These methods and rites portray negativeness in the Christian community nevertheless we should cognize it besides represents a particular relationship with the household. There are three importance of hereditary worship, 1. Tradition-this is how our ascendant have lived and it ‘s a continuance of our traditions go throughing on to the following coevals. 2. Filial properness ( hyo ) – Korean system is made up with Confucian construction, for illustration younger people bow down to seniors. The Korean societal system is hierarchy with age. Therefore the term “ regard ” portrays solidly in the system. 3. Inter-family relations-the household can come together during the ritual clip and exhausted clip with their household. For illustration this would be thanksgiving in the United States, where nutrient is prepared for all households.

Re-examining the nomenclature “ hereditary worship ”

The Catholic Church started to understand the Korean civilization after 1900. A new paradigm was made towards hereditary worship. Father Thomas Anthony and Father Chang Song were nescient about memorial rites. Foreigners saw memorial ritual as an idol worship. When Korea was colonized by Japan and Koreans were forced to believe Shinto, Catholic had greater apprehensions of rites and traditions. Bowing down was a job but eating the nutrient was a job to the Christian community. Subsequently, St. Paul said, “ Now, the affair about nutrient offered to graven images. It is true, of class, that all of us have knowledge as they say. Such cognition, nevertheless, puffs a adult male up with pride ‘ but love builds up. The individual who think he knows something truly does n’t cognize as he ought to cognize. But the adult male who loves is known by him. So so adult male who loves God is known by him. So so, about eating the nutrient offered to graven images: We know that an idol base for something that does n’t be ; we know there is merely the one God. Even if there are so called ‘gods ‘ whether in Eden or on Earth, and even though there are many these ‘gods ‘ and ‘lords ‘ yet there is for us merely one God, Jesus Christ, whom all things were created and through whom we live. ” ( Paul ‘s First Letter to the Corinthians, 8:1-6 ) .[ 6 ]This is was the starting point, when Catholic community started to understand the deduction that arises when taking something particular from a civilization and resolved this job by accepting their civilization. Unless the memorial rites are resolved, Korea will be difficult state to direct missionaries.

The Catholic church accepted memorial rites ( hereditary worship ) under certain conditions and prohibited some issues sing memorial rites. They accepted 1. Bowing before the organic structure, a grave, and exposure of the decreased and a tabular array bearing the name of the deceased. 2. Incense combustion during a ritual before the organic structure. 3. Fixing repasts for the memorial rites. However they prohibited any sort of cooked or H2O soaked rice, paper money, shellfish or a pearl into the oral cavity of the dead individual. 2. Offering three braces of straw places for the underworld ushers. 3. Can non name out the name of asleep exterior for the his psyche which may be vibrating in the sky. 4. Prohibits the ideal that the dead comes to the tabular array to eat the nutrient and in conclusion intoning any supplications during the memorial rite is prohibited.[ 7 ]

The Korean Protestant came up with an option which was called chudoyebe.. It was a Christian memorial service for their household. This memorial service was to replace hereditary worship. Christians were prohibited to execute Confucian hereditary rite on the day of remembrance of inheritor ascendant ‘s decease. It would be disrespect to their parents and ascendants if nil happened. The chudoyebe was foremost introduced when Dr. J. W Heron passed off in July 1980.[ 8 ]The new Christian method to replace hereditary rite spread along the Korean Protestant. It included seven subdivisions ; anthems, opening supplication, reading from transitions, remembrance of the deceased, another anthem, soundless supplication and the supplication of dismissal.[ 9 ]Christian places were encouraged to transport out chudoyebe alternatively of practising hereditary worship. However the quandary here is, Korean Christians pattern hereditary worship harmonizing to the 2005 authorities consensus. Harmonizing to Professor Chang Won Park ‘s article on “ Between God and ascendants: hereditary pattern in Korean Protestantism ” 77.8 per centum of the Korean population pattern hereditary worship but looking in the entire Korean population, Christians make up 29 per centum. Therefore we can reason that Christian ‘s participate in hereditary patterns. The Korean Protestant community needs to admit something ‘s can non be taken off and possibly accepting the civilization and tradition might increase the Christian population.

The Catholic Church apprehension of the Korean civilization has changed over clip. Ancestral worship has defined another nomenclature to memorial rites. There were small minor alterations to suit into the Catholic Church nevertheless the civilization and traditions has non changed significantly. The Korean Protestant church besides needs to revise some parts of the memorial rites since “ Christians in Korea ” still remains to transport out memorial rites and it is impossible for the Christian population to turn without tradition and values of their civilization such as hereditary worship ( memorial rites ) .

Deductions with the Protestant Church

There are three grounds why the Protestant missionaries rejected ascendant worship. They foremost thought the spiritual forfeit to the asleep spirit was in struggle with the commanding officers. 1st Commandant provinces, ‘You shall hold no other Gods before Me, ‘ and the 2nd commanding officer provinces, ‘You shall non do for yourself a carven image — any similitude of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the H2O under the Earth. ‘

Second, even though the ascendant worship supported the dogma of the immortality of the psyche, the Protestant missionaries did non accept the thought of how the psyche could shack in a tablet in shrine, besides eat the nutrient after the worship was over, bless the deceased. The political orientation that the ascendants four coevals ‘s souls exist is the antonym of what the Christian instruction Tell. The Christian bible provinces there are two locations after decease ( heaven and snake pit ) .

Third, the belief that hereditary worship degraded adult females and accepting the first born male or boies as the inheritor to go on the household lineage created jobs. Therefore the Christian were besides prohibited to eat the nutrient or touch the nutrient during the ritual. This was besides repeated through missionaries because the bible provinces eating sacrificial nutrient is against the will of God as idolizing the graven image ( this transition is in I Corinthians 10:21, Acts 15:29 and disclosures 2:14 ) .

The missionaries and the church stately clear to forbid the hereditary worship through published piece of lands, which stated it is a signifier of devotion ; this papers was called the Nevius ‘ Mistakes of Ancestor Worship, even though the Protestant church understands filial piousness, they believed the best method was to execute good while the parents were still alive. This papers failed to turn to any alternate method to function after the parents passed off.

This caused many criticizes to the populace. In September 1, 1920 there was a written article on this issue in Dongah Daily. Refusing and forbiding ascendant worship was a societal job and it portrayed Christians that filial piousness no longer existed. Any bows below the waist was an act of ascendant worship to any sort of image. This made Korean Christians uncomfortable since they could non execute any mark of regard after their parents had passed off ( their trueness was non expressed to the 1 ‘s they loved ) .

A New Paradigm for Ancestral Worship

As the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church must admit the hereditary worship. At this clip allow ‘s name the hereditary worship as asleep commemoration rites because it can be referred to as tradition and civilization alternatively of faith. First we must discourse what is acceptable and non acceptable to the deceased commemoration rites. The bible has different transitions against the asleep commemoration rites nevertheless as mentioned many times in this paper, these tradition has existed before and after the missionaries had arrived in Korea. Therefore it is best if there was some solutions found between the Korean society and the Protestant Church.

The Korean society filial piousness is really of import, as seen in many topographic points, Korean people bow down to everyone. Get downing from birth and the age of five, the kid bows down to parents and households members. During the preschool old ages, the instructor is the higher authorization in school therefore pupils show regard to the instructors, this goes on to college. The of import thought here is everyone, who is older is respected and younger coevalss are taught to bow and demo some sort of regard. Even in the Korean church, we bow down to curates, seniors, deacons and Sunday school instructors as a mark of regard. If you deny to bow down so its shows a mark of discourtesy ; so the inquiry here is we bow down in our day-to-day life nevertheless one time our seniors pass off so that rule is taken off from us. Therefore this subdivision of the paper will discourse these thought ‘s of what non to make and what should be allowed.

First lets start with bowing down to the deceased household members, this should be allowed because it shows some mark of regard for taking attention of their kids. The Korean society spends monolithic money on their kids particularly instruction and if the deceased household are forgotten and non taken attention of after their decease how will the grandchildren remember their household members. Second, as the Catholic church provinces besides, we should let incense combustion and the phase of fixing nutrient should be allowed. It is the least that a boy or girl can make for their deceased nevertheless it should n’t be merely the boy ( inheritor ) but the whole household members. The adult females should n’t be degraded in portion of the asleep memorial rites.

The 2nd portion is what should non be done in the asleep memorial rites. Descentants should non believe in liquors, for illustration thought that the deceased will come down to eat the nutrient. The memorial rite should merely be done as a mark of regard and non for believing liquors. The whole thought of naming out the name to name the spirit, directing out couriers, bodyguards, giving them the straw places, the toll money to go through the Gatess should be all prohibited. The political orientation of liquors should be diminished and every bit mentioned before it is for fulfill filial piousness and to demo mark of regard to the parents. These can non be all the thought ‘s nevertheless the intent here is to come up with some solution for the Korean Protestant Church so that it does non do any more societal jobs or quandary ‘s life as a Korean Christian.


The Korean Protestant Church faced enormous quandary towards hereditary worship and even today, these issues are non resolved. Within Christian households, hereditary worship is still practiced and some perform chudoyebe. The Catholic Church subsequently reversed hereditary worship and accepted the Korea tradition and ritual nevertheless the Korean Protestant Church is far from making a new apprehension of Korea. If the Korean Protestant Church maintains to accept ascendant worship as a signifier of devotion so the Christian population will go on to worsen. If simple alterations and alterations were made such as asleep spirit is alive and since the bible provinces clearly that they can non pass on with the life and there is merely heaven or hell after decease. For illustration the household can non believe in any signifiers of liquors. The asleep memorial rites is a mark of regard and there can non be any belief sing liquors. It is non that simple of class but what I am seeking to acquire through is via media and apprehension of each civilization and traditions since Korea is improbable to give up hereditary rites for a really long clip. This paper has examined the background of Korean Ancestral Worship and explained why it needed to re-examine this nomenclature in the Korean context and in conclusion it explained the deductions with the Korea Protestant Church. Every civilization is different and alone and its our civilization that forms and casts our individuality. Confucianism had been in Korea for a really long clip and still holds and exists in our community. A new paradigm and apprehension is need in our multicultural environment for the Korean Protestant Church to last.

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