Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang
Chapter 12: Chinese Buddhism in the post-Mao era: preserving and reinventing the received tradition
Buddhist reform by Buddhists in the early twentieth century included the formation of autonomous national associations, links of monastics with academic study of Buddhism and groups of Buddhist laity, and an extension of welfare and philanthropy. All of these have been revived along with the post-Mao growth of Buddhism, but the national association is nowadays associated with the political system. This chapter illustrates all this by means of a case study of a large Buddhist temple for nuns that includes a retirement home and an institute of Buddhist studies. A biography of its abbess and founder illustrates the transmission of modern Buddhism across the Maoist divide. What have thrived are monastic temples. What have almost gone are small temples with Buddhist monks providing ritual services beyond the large temples. Welfare and education are confined to the monasteries, and philanthropy to donations.
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