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Ensouling the Nation through Fiction: Liang Qichao’s Applied Buddhism

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Liang Qichao’s applied Buddhism played an important role in his political imagination and his social advocacy of building a modern China. Undertaking a case study of his political fiction, this article makes three interconnected arguments. First, the nationalism expressed in Liang’s promotion of political fiction was a type of Romantic nationalism originating from Europe but exercised in the context of the late Qing and early Republican China. Second, Liang’s applied Buddhism was an integral part of Chinese Buddhist secularization, which was not intended to separate religion from the state as in the case of its European counterpart but was directed toward the dissemination of Buddhist values into the broader popular realm of the Chinese society. Third, Liang’s applied Buddhism deserves retroactive recognition as one of the precursors of contemporary socially engaged Buddhism.以小说赋魂予国家:梁启超的应用佛学摘要梁启超的应用佛学在他对构建现代中国的政治想象和社会倡导中起到了重要的作用。本文以梁启超的政治小说为个案提出三个相互关联的论点。第一,梁启超在他倡导政治小说的过程中所表达的民族主义是一种源于欧洲的浪漫民族主义,但是在晚清民初的语境下被推动;第二,梁启超的应用佛学是当时汉传佛教世俗化的一部分,其目的并不像欧洲政教分离式的世俗化,而是致力于把佛教价值观普及到中国社会里;第三,梁启超的应用佛学应该被追认为当代左翼佛教的前驱之一。

Affiliations: 1: Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, Yunnan Minzu University Kunming, China,


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