Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State, 1660-1990

Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State, 1660-1990

Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State, 1660-1990

Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State, 1660-1990

Synopsis

The first work in a Western language to examine the institutional and political history of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan.

Excerpt

This book primarily concerns the institutional and political aspects of the history of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan from the mid-1600s to the late 1980s. Because the study of religion in Taiwan has been the province of anthropology and sociology in the past, it is important to state that this study is not based on either of these two disciplines, although it certainly makes occasional use of their results, particularly those drawing on historical source materials. As a study of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan, this book also omits a few recent developments such as the small but growing presence of Theravāda Buddhism, and the current popularity of Tibetan esoteric Buddhism with its concomitant influx of Tibetan masters. More significantly than either of these two omissions, however, this study does not purport to examine in any depth the activities of Japanese Buddhists during the fifty-year period when Taiwan was a part of the Japanese empire, except as these activities affected the lives of the Chinese Buddhist population.

Stated positively, the primary focus of this study is the history of Chinese Buddhism as an organized religion in Taiwan; and consequently it deals with the following: the transmission of Buddhism and its cousin zhaijiao (vegetarian religion) to the island; the development of institutions that were or are islandwide in scope and function; biographies of significant figures; doctrinal negotiations that have helped shape the identity of Taiwan Buddhism; Buddhism's interactions . . .

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