With well over a 100 million adherents, Buddhism emerged from near-annihilation during
the Cultural Revolution to become the largest religion in China today. Despite this,
Buddhism’s rise has received relatively little scholarly attention. The present volume, with
contributions by leading scholars in sociology, anthropology, political science, and
religious studies, explores the evolution of Chinese Buddhism in the post-Mao period with
a depth not seen before in a single study. Chapters critically analyze the effects of state
policies on the evolution of Buddhist institutions; the challenge of rebuilding temples under
the watchful eye of the state; efforts to rebuild monastic lineages and schools left broken
in the aftermath of Mao’s rule; and the development of new lay Buddhist spaces, both at
temple sites and online.
Through its multidisciplinary perspectives, the book provides both an extensive overview
of the social and political conditions under which Buddhism has grown as well as
discussions of the individual projects of both monastic and lay entrepreneurs who
dynamically and creatively carve out spaces for Buddhist growth in contemporary Chinese
society. As a wide-ranging study that illuminates many facets of China’s Buddhist revival,
Buddhism after Mao will be required reading for scholars of Chinese Buddhism and of
Buddhism and modernity more broadly. Its detailed case studies examining the
intersections among religion, state, and contemporary Chinese society will be welcomed
by sociologists and anthropologists of China, political scientists focusing on the role of
religion in state formation in Asian societies, and all those interested in the relationship
between religion and social change.
Ji Zhe is professor of sociology at the Centre d’Études Interdisciplinaires sur le
Bouddhisme, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris.
Gareth Fisher is associate professor of religion and anthropology at Syracuse
André Laliberté is professor of comparative politics at the School of Political Studies at
the University of Ottawa, Canada.
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