Handbook on Religion in China
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Handbook on Religion in China

Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang

Informative and eye-opening, the Handbook on Religion in China provides a uniquely broad insight into the contemporary Chinese variations of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. In turn, China's own religions and transmissions of rites and systems of divination have spread beyond China, a progression that is explored in detail across 19 chapters, written by leading experts in the field.
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Chapter 12: Chinese Buddhism in the post-Mao era: preserving and reinventing the received tradition

Daniela Campo

Abstract

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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