Modern Korean Bhikkhunī’s Conference: Ven. Samu Archive (1941–2022)

Dates: May 13–14, 2023

Venue: Yale University



This conference stems from the meticulous transcription of over two thousand pages of interviews recently made accessible from the archive of the late Ven. Samu (1941–2022), a contemporary Korean Buddhist monk with scholarly inclinations. Ven. Samu dedicated over two decades to interviewing monastics and lay individuals who lived during the colonial and postcolonial eras. Upon his retirement, he generously gifted these invaluable recordings, along with other primary sources, to Professor Eunsu Cho of Seoul National University. Professor Cho, in turn, assembled a team of scholars to delve into these materials, which now stand as the most comprehensive personal accounts of Buddhist monastics and their families to date. For the past year, a collaborative team of scholars from Korea and the United States has regularly engaged in virtual discussions, studying and analyzing these interviews. This conference marks the first occasion for the team to convene in person, providing an opportunity to collectively share their research findings and engage in collaborative brainstorming sessions. The primary objectives include exploring possibilities for publishing an edited book project and strategizing the digitization of these invaluable sources.