Ilkwaen Chung, Buddha and Scapegoat: René Girard and Origins of Buddhist Culture (Seoul: SFC Publications, 2013


For a detailed discussion, see my other publications Deconstructing the Buddhist Philosophy of Nothingness - René Girard and Violent Origins of Buddhist Culture – ( ) Paradoxie der weltgestaltenden Weltentsagung im Buddhismus- Ein Zugang aus der Sicht der mimetischen Theorie Rene Girards (Beiträge zur mimetischen Theorie 28), LIT Verlag, 2010.

Gegen alle oberflächlichen westlichen Thesen zum Buddhismus, die diese Religion nur als eine friedliche und harmonische Meditationshaltung zu kennen scheinen, betont der Autor mit einem enormen Fleiß, wie sehr der Buddhismus von rituellen Zusammenhängen her verstanden werden muss, die sich immer wieder auch auf mythische Quellen zurückführen lassen.
Wolfgang Palaver (Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck) Leader of the university’s interdisciplinary research program on “World Order- Religion- Violence.” He was also president of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion. Author of René Girard's Mimetic Theory (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture), translated by Gabriel Borrud (Michigan State University Press, 2013).

Ilkwaen Chung has written the most original, comprehensive treatment of Buddhism through mimetic theory to date. Everyone interested in the work of René Girard must read it.
William A Johnsen (Michigan State University) Editor, Contagion: The Journal of The Colloquium on Violence and Religion Series Editor: Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and Culture.

This book is a provocative application of the theories of René Girard to the whole length and breadth of Buddhism’s development from its roots in ancient India to its appropriation by Western practitioners and intellectuals. The author advocates a social-anthropological approach to a field that is treated all too often through classical texts and philosophical ideas. This results in a deconstruction of central Buddhist ideas such as ‘emptiness’, rooting them in the ways of life of tribal peoples in environments of violent conflict. We are faced with serious questions about Buddhism’s relationship to ethics and history. The implications of this for interreligious dialogue and the philosophical appropriation of Buddhism are profound.
John D’Arcy May, Author of Transcendence and Violence: The Encounter of Buddhist, Christian and Primal Traditions Visiting Research Fellow, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin Adjunct Professor, Centre for Interreligious Dialogue, Australian Catholic University Hon. Research Fellow, MCD University of Divinity Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology, Monash University

We romanticize the East when we view it through Western eyes. For some two hundred years now, we have sought in Buddhism, for example, a kind of religious ideal, and in the nothingness, or emptiness, we imagine it promotes, a calm tranquil domain answering the turmoil in which we feel we live. Ilkwaen Chung’s recently translated book, Deconstructing Buddhism, should be of interest. Bringing to bear René Girard’s ideas about mimetic desire, sacrificial violence, and the role of holy scripture in exposing the mechanisms organizing archaic culture, he argues that classical Buddhism is profoundly sacrificial, another religion structured around the use of violence and the development of victims to be slaughtered. Examining Girard’s ideas on the one hand in context of the French post-war philosophic and anthropologic avant guard, and venturing on the other, as he does, into a world little explored by Girardians (or most other Westerners for that matter), this book is bound to be provocative. It will no doubt interest a wide audience, anyone in fact sensitive to the ways desire, violence, and sacrificial exclusionary behaviors continue to structure intellectual and religious conceptualizations of our experience, even (and perhaps especially) those experiences we feel to be explicitly devoid of such behaviors.
Sandor Goodhart (Purdue University)

Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo (under the direction of René Girard). Executive Secretary of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (1998-2002) President of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (2003-2007).

Ilkwaen Chung has written a work of formidable scope and erudition. Now we have an in-depth interpretation of Buddhist social anthropology, philosophy and practice from the point of view of mimetic theory. In effect, Chung has re-opened the debate between Girard and the French deconstructionists in an exciting new way. In addition to Girard and various deconstructionist thinkers, he incorporates the thinking of figures like Conze, Nishida and even Whitehead. Buddhism is both the meeting point for this discussion, but also the starting point for the discussion in the future.
James L. Fredericks (Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University) A specialist in inter-religious dialogue, especially the dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity

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