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Buddhism in Taiwan

Religion and the State, 16601990

Charles Brewer Jones

Publication Year: 1999

Buddhism in Taiwan is the first work in a Western language to examine the institutional and political history of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan. Tracing Buddhism's development on the island from Qing times through the late 1980s, it seeks to shed light on the ways in which changing social circumstances have impacted Buddhist thought and practice. It looks in particular at a number of significant changes that modernization has brought: the decline in clerical ordinations, the increasing prominence of nuns within the monastic order, the enhanced role of the laity, alterations in the content of lay precepts, the abandonment of funerals as a major source of income, the monastic order's loss of special recognition from the government, and the founding of large, international organizations. Charles Jones begins his survey with the earliest mention of Buddhism in Taiwan in historical records from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and continues through the formation of pan-Taiwan Buddhist organizations during the Japanese occupation (1895-1945). A review of the role of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China (BAROC) follows, and the volume concludes with the rise of large independent Buddhist movements that fully emerged after the end of martial law and the removal of restrictions of civic organizations in the late 1980s. Jones provides a careful and balanced review of primary and secondary sources and translations of government and Buddhist documents, extensive bibliographies of major figures, detailed histories of prominent temples, and an exhaustive summary of recent Taiwanese scholarship. Buddhism in Taiwan promises to be a classic in the field of modern Chinese Buddhism. Scholars of the religion, history, political science, sociology, and anthropology of Taiwan will find its systematic and thorough approach stimulating as well as highly informative.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Although I cannot list all of the people whose time and assistance made this study possible, a few stand out as having given crucial help at several points. I wish to thank Prof. Chu Hai-yüan of the Ethnology Institute of the Academia Sinica, whose sponsorship enabled me to reside in Taiwan from 1993 to 1994. Two of my classmates at the ...

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Notes on Romanization and Pronunciation

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pp. ix-x

The scholar whose research area is Taiwan faces a real dilemma when choosing a romanization system. For the past several decades, Western sinologists have cut their linguistic teeth on the pinyin system that is the standard on the mainland and in international journalism. However, the ROC government on Taiwan has only recently acknowledged that this ...


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pp. xi

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pp. xiii-xvii

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, ...

PART: I The Ming and Qing Dynasty (1660–1895)

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Chapter 1. The Qing-Dynasty Period

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pp. 3-30

The history of Buddhism in Taiwan begins with the arrival of the Chinese people. There is no way to tell exactly when the first Han Chinese settlers migrated to Taiwan, but government records indicate that there was a Chinese presence on the island well before the Dutch colonists arrived in 1624. The 1971 Gazetteer goes on to state that there ...

PART II: The Japanese Colonial Period (1895–1945)

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Chaper 2. The Early Japanese Period

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pp. 33-63

When China ceded Taiwan to Japan at the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, its government evidently did not feel that it was losing anything valuable. Li Hongzhang (1823–1901), the Qing official who signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki on behalf of the Chinese court and gave Taiwan away, later wrote in his Memoirs: ...

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Chapter 3. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes During the Late Japanese Period

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pp. 64-94

The foregoing discussion of the major lineages and eminent monks of the Japanese period should help the reader understand the formation of the Buddhist organizations and associations that began to appear about twenty years after Japan took possession of the island. First, the reader is now familiar with the most important figures in the Buddhist world ...

PART III: From Retrocession to the Modern Period (1945–1990)

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Chapter 4. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

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pp. 97-136

The Japanese colonial era in Taiwan ended in 1945, when, as part of its terms of surrender, Japan returned the island to Chinese rule. The people and government refer to this event as guangfu, “the return of the light.” The Taiwanese, remembering their second-class status under Japanese rule and the excesses of the Japanization Movement, rejoiced ...

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Chapter 5. The Buddhist Association of the Republic of China

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pp. 137-177

In the last chapter, we saw how Buddhism was organized in Taiwan in the period immediately following Retrocession, when Taiwan resumed its place as a province of China. Buddhist organizations on Taiwan at that time operated at the provincial, not the national, level. We also looked at the human side of the retreat to Taiwan, concentrating on the ...

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Chapter 6. The Period of Pluralization

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pp. 178-218

For the first two decades after Retrocession, the BAROC almost completely monopolized the field of Buddhist organizations. This is no longer the case. The World Directory of Buddhist Organizations, updated annually and published by the Dharma-Wheel Publishing Group (Falun Zazhi She), has seventeen entries under the rubric “Nationwide ...

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Chapter 7. Conclusions

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pp. 219-224

One of the projects that I had originally envisioned as an integral part of this study was to see if there was any intrinsic value in writing a regional history of Chinese Buddhism such as this. What would such a study reveal? Would it demonstrate any significant regional variations in Chinese Buddhism such that Western scholars would have to question ...


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pp. 225-234

Glossary of Chinese Characters

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pp. 235-245


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pp. 246-255


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pp. 256-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780824861704
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824820619

Publication Year: 1999