The Spiritual Land Rush: Merit and Morality in New Chinese Buddhist Temple Construction

  title={The Spiritual Land Rush: Merit and Morality in New Chinese Buddhist Temple Construction},
  author={Gareth Fisher},
  journal={The Journal of Asian Studies},
  pages={143 - 170}
  • Gareth Fisher
  • Published 1 February 2008
  • Sociology
  • The Journal of Asian Studies
This article explores factors contributing to a boom in Buddhist temple construction in contemporary mainland China. In contrast to recent studies focusing on struggles between religious believers and the state over the revival of local temples and churches, this article examines the culture of merit making and morality building that leads clergy and lay practitioners to form translocal networks with the aim of constructing temples in rural areas where they have few or any cultural ties. The… 
Between Spiritual Economy and Religious Commodification: Negotiating Temple Autonomy in Contemporary China
Abstract This research investigates the contentious use of temple assets amid widespread local state-led religious commodification in contemporary China. Based on a comparative analysis of 22
Buddha Versus Jesus: The Transnationalism of Traditional Religions
  • Ray Wang
  • Political Science
    Resistance Under Communist China
  • 2019
This chapter introduces transnational religious advocacy networks’ role in promoting greater space for activism in China, in the context of Buddhism and Taoism. Similar to how Christians would be
Local History through Popular Religion: Place, People and Their Narratives in Taiwan
Abstract This paper explores how popular religion can offer a different interpretation of history than the macro politico-economic perspective. It draws on ethnography from rural Taiwan to discuss
Religion as Financial Asset: State Investments in Chinese Buddhism
This study uncovers reasons why Buddhist sites in China since the time of Mao have received government patronage, and it argues that economic development at Buddhist sacred sites has resulted in
In the Footsteps of the Tourists: Buddhist Revival at Museum/Temple Sites in Beijing
Only a fraction of the Buddhist temples in Beijing that once housed monastics now function as places for religious activity. Some were demolished while others were converted to schools, government
Buddhist Revival under State Watch
The Chinese Communist Party has shown tolerance, if not direct support, for the growth of Buddhism over the last few decades. Three explanations for this lenient attitude are explored in this
Two Sides of a Mountain: The Modern Transformation of Maoshan
The reconstruction of the Maoshan temple complex in Jiangsu province is examined, raising questions about potential gender-based differences in Chinese religion and the ability of China’s traditional religions to compete in a new, dynamic religious landscape.
Everyday religiosity in the state sphere: Folk beliefs and practices in a Chinese state-run orphanage
The religious sector in contemporary China is often portrayed as resisting or negotiating with an interventionist state in order to survive or protect its autonomy. This article, however, shows how
Buddhist and Protestant Philanthropies in Contemporary Southeast China: Negotiating the “Grey Zone”
After a near-complete standstill of public religious activities in most parts of China between 1958 and 1978, a widespread “religious revival” since the 1980s has seen the rebuilding of religious
Lay Buddhists and Moral Activism in Contemporary China (当代中国的佛教居士与道德能动主义)
The last few decades have seen the rise of grassroots groups of lay Buddhists in post-Mao China who, through the composition, exchange, and discussion of Buddhist-themed media, foster moral


Praying for Power: Buddhism and the Formation of Gentry Society in Late-Ming China
In 17th and 18th century China, Buddhists and Confucians alike flooded local Buddhist monasteries with donations As gentry numbers grew faster than the imperial bureaucracy, traditional Confucian
The article examines the globalization of China's Buddhism. Such new modern values as science and progress, along with competition from Christianity stimulated a modern reform of Buddhism in China in
Buddhism in Taiwan. Religion and the State 1660-1990 (cf. Arch. supra. Vincent Goossaert)). Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press, 1999, xvii + 259 p. (bibliogr., glossaire, index, caractères chinois en liste finale)
Examines the institutional and political history of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan. The text seeks to shed light on the ways in which changing social circumstances have impacted Buddhist thought and
The Sacred Village: Social Change and Religious LIfe in Rural North China
Until recently, few villagers of rural North China ventured far from their homes. Their intensely local view of the world included knowledge of the immanent sacred realm, which derived from stories
China's Religious Freedom Policy: The Art of Managing Religious Activity
This article examines how the policy of “religious freedom” has been used to enable the CCP to retain institutional and ideological control over the religious sector of Chinese society. In
The Renewal of Buddhism in China : Chu-Hung and the Late Ming Synthesis
Students of the History of Religions (Religionswissenschaft), whose audacious object is the "understanding" of the nature of humankind's religious experience as unfolded in history, are constantly
The Flourishing of Religion in Post‐Mao China and the Anthropological Category of Religion
In his provocative critique of Geertz's 1966 definition of religion, Talal Asad (1993) suggests that the very project of defining the category of religion is rooted in the historical rise of Western
Religious Festivities, Communal Rivalry, and Restructuring of Authority Relations in Rural Chaozhou, Southeast China
The fifth day of the Lunar New Year marks the beginning of six weeks of religious festivities in the rural area of Chaozhou, a distinct dialect region in Southeast China. Scheduled on separate dates,
God Aboveground: Catholic Church, Postsocialist State, and Transnational Processes in a Chinese Village
This ethnographic study of a Chinese Catholic village reveals how the rapid penetration of transnational processes into the People's Republic of China during the post-Mao period has redefined and
Popular Religion in China: The Imperial Metaphor
The institution of local festivals and temples is not as well known as that of ancestor worship, but it is just as much a universal fact of Chinese life. Its content is an imperial metaphor, which