Southeast Asian vegetarian halls (zhaitang 齋堂) serve as crucial agents in the circulation and reinterpretation of Chinese indigenous scriptures associated with a popular Chinese religion, the Qinglianjiao 青蓮教 (Teaching of the Azure Lotus). This religious group was largely influenced by Buddhism, hence its vegetarian halls are widely regarded by the public and by practitioners as Buddhist. Vegetarian halls and their scriptures are, however, objects of contestation in the studies of Chinese Buddhist history in China and in Southeast Asia, due to their syncretic religious content. Nevertheless, such halls and their religious networks have generated a multidirectional flow of cultural, economic, and religious resources that remains largely unexplored; their vernacular texts (such as precious scrolls 寶卷) show how Buddhist ideas were localized, adapted, and circulated. This paper shows how: 1) scriptures of the Three Teachings (sanjiao 三教) were integrated, conceptualized, and reconciled in the local Buddhist scene; 2) the scriptures address issues pertaining to gender and religion; and 3) indigenous Buddhist scriptures were significant.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 233-284
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.