Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Chinese state policies on Buddhism between the 19th and 20th century

This research project focuses on the interaction of Buddhist institutions, Chinese central and local governments, and local gentry in the 'transforming temples into schools' movement.

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Supervisor: Barend ter Haar

My research project focuses on the interaction of Buddhist institutions, Chinese central and local governments, and local gentry in the 'transforming temples into schools' movement, which started in late imperial China and continued at the beginning of the Republican era. The social and politial reforms made Chinese Buddhism a vulnerable target. In the early Republican period we also see the first state policies that guaranteed freedom of religion for the first time. Some Buddhist institutions and monks initiated reforms in order to protect Buddhism and make use of their changed legal position, which shaped Chinese Buddhism to a great extent. Although understood in their basic influence, the social, political and Buddhist reforms and their interconnections have barely begun to be noticed and described in details. This research will offer a more comprehensive and detailed survey, and ask or answer some interesting questions in this domain.

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