Abstract

Abstract:

The ritual of “releasing life” (fangsheng 放生), a form of Buddhist cultivation, has been widely practiced by Chinese Buddhists for at least fifteen centuries. This ritual is currently enjoying immense popularity among devotees in mainland China and within Chinese societies around the world. Yet the ubiquity of fangsheng in China has elicited sharp criticism from various societal sectors, including the government, the media, Buddhist institutions, animal advocates, and environmentalists. After outlining the main historical milestones of the practice, this article examines two lay Buddhist groups that are part of a larger fangsheng network and regularly engage in releasing life in contemporary Xiamen 廈門, Fujian 福建 province. It then describes the national Buddhist leadership’s condemnation of “indiscriminate” fangsheng rituals as well as attempts to regulate on the part of the state, which have culminated in an orchestrated campaign for “Rational Releasing of Life.” In addition, focusing on fangsheng on a local level, the article explores the steps taken by Buddhist establishment actors in Xiamen to promote this new, rational concept alongside lay groups’ apologetics in light of the growing criticism of the practice.

摘要:

放生儀式作為一種佛教修行方式,至少已被中國佛教徒實踐了1500年。在當代中國大陸以及海外華人社會的信徒中,这一儀式普遍流行。然而在中國,放生儀式的流行引發社會各階層的尖銳批評,其中包括政府、媒體、佛教機構、動物保護人士以及環保主義者。本文首先勾勒放生實踐的主要歷史發展,其次從更大的放生儀式網絡考察兩個在當代福建廈門經常舉行放生儀式的佛教居士組織。接著描述中國佛教協會對「隨意」放生儀式的譴責,以及試圖將國家推行的「合理放生」運動規範化。此外,透過聚焦於地方層面的放生,本文探討廈門的叢林寺院為推廣上述新式合理放生活動所採取的措施,以及在受到越來越多批評的環境下,居士群體對此儀式實踐所做的辯護。

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Additional Information

ISSN
2050-8999
Print ISSN
0737-769X
Pages
pp. 109-143
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-12
Open Access
No
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