Buddhism focuses less on the issue of why evil and its incumbent suffering are present in the world and more on the question of how to respond to that evil.

This emphasis on soteriology over metaphysics is seen in the characteristic invocation of pragmatic criteria for the evaluation of doctrines and practices; the recurrent motif of the Buddha as therapist rather than theorist; and the pervasive influence of the meta-theory of upāya (expedients or stratagems). This article will examine the soteriological dimension of the broader Buddhist response to evil and explore some of the explicit examinations of the problem of a Buddhist “theodicy” in later Mahāyāna monistic ontologies, which are explored in Korean Buddhist materials: viz., if the mind is innately enlightened or inherently pure, whence do ignorance or defilements arise?