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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book Buddhism in China: Collected Papers of Erik Zürcher. The main theme of Zürcher's research was cultural interaction, which in the case of Buddhism meant the ways in which this foreign religion found, or forged, a home in China. The book presents critical investigations of Chinese Buddhism from a historically grounded perspective, sets the stage for Zürcher's philological investigations of the grammar and vocabulary of the earliest Chinese translations which he hypothesized and preserved elements of vernacular usage. It deals with the translation and language of Buddhist scriptures in China, Buddhist interactions with Daoist traditions, the activities of Buddhists below elite social levels and continued interactions with Central Asia and the West. The book also explores the position of religious women in earlier Chinese Buddhism, focuses on rites of repentance and contrition in Buddhism, and describes Christian confession in seventeenth-century China.

Keywords: Buddhist scriptures; Central Asia; Chinese Buddhism; Daoist traditions; Erik Zürcher; Imperial China; religious women; seventeenth-century China



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