Workshop: “When a new Generation comes up: Buddhist Leadership and Lay People in Contemporary China”
Monday, 10.01.2020 9:30 – 18:00
9:30 – 10:30 Xuan Fang 宣方 Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Religious Theory, Renmin University of China
Introductory Remarks: Power Transfer: The Rise of Chinese Buddhist Leadership in the Post-Zhao Puchu Era
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 – 12:00 Wu Yuanying 吴园英 Freie Universität, Berlin
Case Study I: Leadership transition within the Living Chan movement ― from Venerable Jinghui to his Dharma successors
12:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 – 15:00 Carsten Krause 康易清 Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, Universität Hamburg
Case Study II: Comparative Study of a New Generation of Abbots and the Legacies of Patriarchs’ Domains
15:00 – 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 – 16:30 Haiyan Hu-von-Hinüber 胡海燕 Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, and Indian and Buddhist Studies, Peking- and Shenzhen-University
Case Study III: On the Social and Religious Background of the Liuzu Monastery´s Missionary Activities and International Network with Universities under the Leadership of Abbot Dayuan
16:30 – 17:00 Coffee break
17:00 – 18:00 Zhang Jiacheng 张家成 Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Zhejiang University
Case Study IV: Master Guangquan and his Model of Spreading the Dharma by Featuring Traditional Culture and Art
Tuesday, 11.01.2020 9:00 – 12:00
9:00 – 10:00 Cao Yan 曹彦 School of Philosophy, Wuhan University
Case Study V:The Inheritance and Promotion of the Tradition by Master Mingxian
10:00 – 10:15 Coffee Break
10:15 – 11:15 Ji Zhe 汲喆 Department of Chinese Studies, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO) and Centre d’études interdisciplinaires sur le bouddhisme
Case Study VI: A New Generation of Lay Buddhist Intellectuals: The Revival of Doctrinal Studies and the Project of Canon-Reading
11:15- 12:00 Final discussion
Workshop participants and abstracts
Xuan Fang 宣方 Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Religious Theory, Renmin University of China
Presentation in Chinese: 10.02.20, 9:30 – 10:30
Power Transfer: The Rise of Chinese Buddhist Leadership in the Post-Zhao Puchu Era
From the 1950s until his death in 2000, Zhao Puchu 赵朴初 (1907-2000) served as the main leader of the Buddhist Association of China 中国佛教协会 (BAC) for a long time. After the Cultural Revolution, he led the gradual revival of Chinese Buddhism and personally arranged the succession echelon of the future Chinese Buddhist leadership (third echelon). Beginning in 1993 with the 6th Council of the BAC, post-Cultural Revolution Buddhist leaders have begun to emerge. However, due to the failure of the BAC to complete the successor’s election at Zhao's lifetime, two opponents behind him aroused a fierce competition. The elections at the seventh General Assembly of the BAC in 2002 marked the all-around rise of post-Cultural Buddhist leaders; by the eighth Great Assembly of the BAC in 2010, the post-Cultural Revolution`s generation became the mainstream of the BAC’s leadership, whereas, by the ninth in 2015, the post-Cultural Revolution’s generation almost dominated the country.
This paper selects several key figures in the leadership of the BAC since the 1990s and examines their trajectories of rising and fall. It reveals the dominant factors and the competing strategies of all parties in this long process of power transfer.
Wu Yuanying 吴园英 Freie Universität, Berlin
Presentation in English: 10.01.20, 11:00-12:00
Case Study I: Leadership transition within the Living Chan movement ― from Venerable Jinghui to his Dharma successors
At the end of the 1980s, Venerable Jinghui 净慧 (1933-2013) began restoring several monasteries and, in the early 1990s, invented an influential brand of Dharma teaching that he named Living Chan (生活禅). As a result of his engagement with Chinese Buddhism, he became a prominent example of transmitting the Dharma lineages of different traditions.
Between 1999 and 2014, Venerable Jinghui transmitted Dharma lineages from five schools (Linji 临济, Caodong 曹洞, Yunmen 云门, Weiyang 沩仰, and Fayan 法眼) two hundred times to 169 monks and nuns, partly represented (代付) in 2014 by Ven. Chuanyin 传印 (1927-) and in 2013 by Ven. Minghai 明海 (1968-). Today, Jinghui’s Dharma successors have formed a new Sangha leadership with a distinct approach to promoting Living Chan within the network of Living Chan group temples (生活禅道场). Their cooperation as a group exemplifies the possibility for a group of disciples to not only preserve traditions and invent new teachings, but also to build up a tight-knit network of branch temples.
Through case studies of Bailin Monastery 柏林寺 and Sizu Monastery 四祖寺 as well as their sub- and branch temples, this paper examines the transition of leadership within Living Chan from Jinghui to his Dharma successors. Further, it explores the challenges and opportunities of the new leadership in promoting Living Chan in the future.
Carsten Krause 康易清 Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, Universität Hamburg
Presentation in English: 10.02.2020, 14:00 – 15:00
Case Study II:
Comparative Study of a New Generation of Abbots and the Legacies of Patriarchs’ Domains (祖庭)
Buddhist monasteries have been reopened and restored under disparate circumstances at different times over the past 40 years. For monastics born in the 1960s/70s and ordained after the Cultural Revolution, taking over the leadership of those monasteries involves various challenges depending on the respective religious status and sociopolitical environment.
One common feature has been the question of how to accommodate one’s biographical background and religious career with the monastery’s legacy in order to bolster its popularity and broader legitimacy. This study focusses on a selection of monasteries which share a comparable historical background, being regarded as so-called zuting 祖庭 (“patriarch’s domain”). It discusses similarities and differences of the challenges for the new leadership to re-connect with each monastery’s legacy of the distant and near past. Further, it investigates and compares the diverse strategies of young abbots how to represent themselves and their Buddhist teachings within such a context.
The paper argues that, on the one side, compared to the decades before, a stronger sense of revival and search for unique characteristics to be revitalised has emerged. On the other side, being inspired by a continuous modernisation process, as well as challenged by heterogeneous sociopolitical developments, the new generation of abbots seems to keep a deliberate distance to the past and to strive for the invention and retraditionalization of new brands.
Haiyan Hu-von-Hinüber 胡海燕 Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, and Indian and Buddhist Studies, Peking- and Shenzhen-University
Presentation in English: 10.01.20, 15:30-16:30
Case Study III:
On the Social and Religious Background of the Liuzu Monastery´s Missionary Activities and International Network with Universities under the Leadership of Abbot Dayuan
六祖寺大愿方丈率领下的国际弘法以及与高校的合作 – 社会与宗教背景的案例分析
Among the monks who have been ordained after the Cultural Revolution, at the age of 24, venerable Dayuan was one of the youngest monastics to become an abbot in 1995 for leading the Renrui Monastery 仁瑞寺. As is the case with many others of his generation, his religious career can be characterised by the inspiration from old masters of different Buddhist traditions. In contrast to his predecessors, however, he was one of the first Buddhist leaders that had been trained in business management before he became a monk. After having rebuilt and revived several monasteries, master Dayuan became the abbot of the Liuzu Monastery 六祖寺 in 2005, which he developed into the basis of his nationwide network of affiliated monasteries. Instead of focusing on the teaching of only one Buddhist school, master Dayuan pursues the strategy of diversified teaching with a global Buddhist vision.
This case study investigates the social and religious background of the Liuzu Monastery´s missionary activities. It traces the development of master Dayuan’s leadership from the early stage to his project of Buddhist globalisation on the basis of an international network, especially with universities and scholars worldwide. Since master Dayuan is playing a pioneering role among Buddhist leaders of Mainland China in spreading Chinese Buddhism abroad, the study is going to explore the challenges and opportunities, as well as the relevance of master Dayuan’s experience for his contemporaries.
Zhang Jiacheng 张家成 Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Zhejiang University
Presentation in Chinese: 10.01.20, 17:00-18:00
Case Study IV:
Master Guangquan and his Model of Spreading the Dharma by Featuring Traditional Culture and Art
Since founding Hangzhou Buddhist Academy, serving as president of Hangzhou Buddhist Association and abbot of Lingyin Monastery 灵隐寺, Master Guangquan 光泉 (1961-) has been involved in Buddhist education, charity, art, academic research, and foreign exchanges. He has made unremitting efforts and achieved remarkable results, leading the Buddhist world in Hangzhou to the forefront of contemporary Chinese Buddhism.Reflecting the Buddhist career of Ven. Guangquan as one of the most influential leaders among the new generation of Buddhist abbots in contemporary China, this paper examines the missionary activities and the key to the success of Ven. Guangquan and his monastic community. It will identify the characteristics of a specific model to promote the Dharma which primarily consists of featuring traditional culture and art.
First of all, it ties in and continues with the integrative spirit and tradition of Buddhist culture of the Lingyin Monastery. Further, against the sociocultural background of a revival of traditional culture in contemporary China and the ongoing efforts of the Buddhist Association of China to promote a “humanistic Buddhism” (人间佛教), it is quite a successful example of how Buddhism serves as a carrier for contributing to the renaissance of Chinese traditional culture. In addition, the formation of this model to spread the Dharma is also related to the way how Ven. Guangquan, a Hangzhou native, appreciates traditional culture while being an open-minded and reflective personality – characterising him as a "learning type" (“学习型”) monk.
Based on those factors, Ven. Guangquan and his monastic community’s "regionalised and internationalised" (“区域化、国际化”) strategy of the development of Buddhist culture (“based on the local, facing the world” “立足本土、面向世界”) coincides with the zeitgeist in contemporary China and strives for the smooth unfolding of activities to spread the Dharma.
Cao Yan 曹彦 School of Philosophy, Wuhan University
Presentation in Chinese: 11.01.20, 9:00-10:00
Case Study V:
The Inheritance and Promotion of the Tradition by Master Mingxian
Among the monks born in the 1970s, Ven. Mingxian明贤 (1973-) is one of the most influential Buddhist representatives in the religious, secular and political circles. The reason for his success is that he is widely recognized as a monastic who inherits the traditional Chinese Chan (中国禅) and strives for its practice in an authentic manner. At the same time, he is assessed as the future hope of Chinese Buddhism and a large number of like-minded people gathered around him.
In terms of inheriting the Buddhist tradition, Ven. Mingxian started with his Buddhist career at Zhenru Monastery 真如寺 in Yunju Mountain 云居山 after graduating from high school in 1992. He studied Chan diligently and borrowed the Buddhist scriptures for self-study. When Ven. Yicheng 一诚 (1926-2017) revived Jiangxi Buddhist College 江西佛学院 in 2000, Ven. Mingxian became the Director of the Undergraduate Teaching Office while working on his master's degree. In the 2006 China-India Friendship Year, after layers of screening, he and Ven. Huizai 慧在of Fo Guang Shan 佛光山 in Taiwan re-embarked on the westbound journey of Xuanzang 玄奘 (602-664). It was reported by CCTV, Guangdong Satellite TV and other media.
On his way to Buddhist leadership, having achieved the rare opportunity to become the inheritor of five Chan Sects, Ven. Mingxian has become a rising star among the monastic community. For the Buddhist laity, he has established Beihai Chan Academy 北海禅院 and opened a summer camp in the Tibetan Buddhist area of Qinghai Lake, where many students from Beijing University and Qinghua University have attended the camp and practiced Chan. Going with the time, he also designed and released the Chanlin App (禅林软件) to promote Chan to the public. However, in order to defend the orthodoxy of Chinese Buddhism, he is writing articles and publishing opinions on current issues including a serious criticism of Japanese sayings of "Mahayana not being taught by the Buddha" (大乘非佛说). Preserving Buddhist tradition also includes the worship of his master, Ven. Miguang 弥光 (1912-2008), as the place where his master’s immortal body is located has become a formal religious site, and the Wuhan Municipal Government has also granted 50 acres of land for the expansion of Shiguanyin Monastery 石观音寺.
This paper examines how Ven. Mingxian has become an influential monk by combining the revival and preservation of Buddhist tradition with innovative methods of spreading the Dharma. It argues that his success is based on his personal experience of Buddhist practice while at the same time he dares to be exposed to the public, with the result that his leadership is not only given by the government, but also mainly by adherents.
Ji Zhe 汲喆 Department of Chinese Studies, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO) and Centre d’études interdisciplinaires sur le bouddhisme
Presentation in English or Chinese: 11.01.20, 10:15-11:15
Case Study VI:
A New Generation of Lay Buddhist Intellectuals: The Revival of Doctrinal Studies and the Project of Canon-Reading
Some scholars who received higher education in the 1980s and 1990s were the first batch of Buddhists in China after 1949 who not only obtained a valid academic status but also freely and openly believed in religion. With the beginning of the twenty-first century, these Buddhist scholars have gained sufficient social capital and formed a close cooperative relationship with a new generation of leaders within the Buddhist sangha. In this context, distancing from "Buddhist Studies" influenced by modern western scholarship, they proposed a concept of "Content Studies" (义学), that is, "the hermeneutical Studies of Buddhist religion based on Buddhist teaching itself." From this standpoint, they criticised the Buddhist Studies of previous generations of scholars and launched a mass reading campaign to try to reconstruct the sacredness, integrity, and orthodoxy of the Dharma.