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Bodhisattva Citizens: Educational Reform and Identity Production in Modern Chinese Buddhism

  • Rongdao Lai, University of Southern California
Wednesday 13 December 2017
China Seminar
Reuvensplaats 2-4
2311 BE Leiden

Monastic education was one of the most important aspects of the modernization project in Chinese Buddhism. This talk highlights several paradigm shifts in identity production that originated in the new-style Buddhist academies starting in the 1920s. The reimagining of a national Buddhist community and reinterpretation of orthodoxy produced a distinctly Buddhist citizenship discourse, which became the basis for Buddhist engagement with the nation-state in terms of property rights, political participation, and wartime activism.

Rongdao Lai is assistant professor of Religion at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses primarily on the convergence of identity and institution in modern Chinese Buddhism. She is completing a book manuscript, based on her doctoral dissertation, on Buddhist educational reform and citizenship discourse in Republican China. Her other on-going projects include lineage networks and the transnational movements of Chinese Buddhists in the twentieth century.

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