Ambitions and Negotiations: The Growing Role of Laity in Twentieth-century Chinese Buddhism

Eyal Aviv

Abstract


This article highlights the growing role of laity in 20th century Chinese Buddhism.  Like other Buddhist traditions in Asia, Chinese Buddhists were affected by the changes brought about by modernization. While lay Buddhists have played an important role throughout Chinese Buddhist history, during the modern period they assumed prerogatives that had been traditionally limited to monastics.

The article explores three exemplary cases: a Tantric priest (Wáng Hóngyuàn), a scholar (Oūyáng Jìngwú) and a political leader (Zhào Púchū). The article examines the reaction of the Sangha to these lay Buddhists and their lasting impact on Modern Buddhism in China.


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