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Title: Indigenization of Tibetan Buddhism in Twentieth-Century China
Authors: Wu, Wei
Advisors: Teiser, Stephen F.
Contributors: Religion Department
Subjects: Religion
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the indigenization of Tibetan Buddhism from the 1910s to the 1950s, focusing on the rise of a Tibetan lineage founded by Nenghai (1886–1967) in Sichuan province. The study explores the cross-cultural religious transmission in a social context in which Chinese Buddhists were challenged by nationalist ideology and religious reform. Previous scholarship has uncovered the spread of Tibetan Buddhism and the roles of Tibetan Buddhists in the making of a modern Chinese state. The study looks at the specifics of the doctrines, praxis, and institutional formations in Nenghai’s lineage, adding a new perspective by arguing for a creative synthesis of Tibetan and Chinese elements. The dissertation also uses a variety of primary sources to investigate the forces shaping the transmission, with an emphasis on the discourses generated by different interest groups (clergy, laity, scholars, and political leaders) throughout the period. The dissertation shows that indigenization of Tibetan Buddhism in China Proper involved a dialectical process of translation and interpretation. Chinese Buddhists’ prior knowledge of Buddhism and vision of Buddhism in the modern world preconditioned their reception of Tibetan Buddhism. While highlighting the common ground of different teachings to argue for compatibility, advocates promoted certain Tibetan thought and practice as distinctive inspiration. They were particularly drawn to the highly-developed tantric and commentary traditions in Tibetan Buddhism, seeing them as sources making up for insufficiencies in Chinese Buddhism. The study finds that their interpretations not only exhibited syncretism to varying degrees, but also reflected tensions in the local context.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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