“To Revitalize Buddhism and Save the Nation: Buddhist Education in Republican China” L. Rongdao Lai
Date: December 6 2012 10:00am - 11:00am Location: Albany 207
To Revitalize Buddhism and Save the Nation: Buddhist Education in Republican China (1911-1949)
L. Rongdao Lai
China’s twentieth century opened with educational reform as its most dominant discourse. There was optimism shared by government officials and intellectuals that an educated people would solve China’s myriad problems and social ills. Similarly, reformist Buddhists believed that a modern monastic education would produce a new generation of monks who would revitalize Buddhism and save the nation. Taking into consideration issues in modernity and secularism, as well as modern Chinese historiography, this talk will look at the ways in which young monks who attended these seminaries engaged in identity production. Although very small in number, these “student-monks” formed an “imagined community” which exerted a huge impact on the trajectories of modern Chinese Buddhism.