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The Simultaneity of Compliance and Resistance (既顺从又抗爭:佛教、虛雲與五十年代的中共政权)

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Buddhism, Xuyun, and the Early Communist Regime

To examine the history of Chinese Buddhism in the early Communist regime, I propose to study Xuyun (虛雲, 1840–1958), one of the pre-eminent monks in modern China. I will delineate the ways in which Xuyun brought his religion in line with Marxist politics. To help Buddhism secure a place in the early People’s Republic of China, he took part in the construction of a new Buddhism compatible with socialist ideology. However, I would venture to conceptualize as resistance some of Xuyun’s efforts to preserve Buddhism. This article examines his resistance at two levels. First, while working hard to prove the value of Buddhism to the state, Xuyun mounted what can be regarded as rightful resistance. When possible, he confronted policies and authorities that hurt the sangha, but did so without challenging the legitimacy of the CCP. Second, in the 1950s, Xuyun strove to instruct Chinese Buddhists in self-cultivation. As he shared his experience and knowledge about spiritual practice with fellow Buddhists, he showed them, especially monastics, how to uphold Buddhist ideals in a political context marked by hostility towards religions.為了探究五十年代中共政權下的佛教歷史,本文探討現代中國最傑出的法師之一,虛雲法師 (1840–1958) 如何調整自己的宗教来適應馬克思主義政權。為了使佛教能夠在新中國成立之初生存,虛雲法師參與了構建與社會主義意識形態相適應的新佛教。但是,本文進一步嘗試把虛雲法師保存佛教的一些努力定義為抗爭,細究他在如下兩個方面的反抗:首先,在向國家證明佛教價值的同時,虛雲始終在正當性的名義下進行抗爭。在不挑戰中共政權合法性的前提下,他試圖抵抗對僧團不利的政策和政治權威。其次,虛雲法師在50年代堅持延續佛教、特别是禪宗的修行傳統。他希望佛門弟子,尤其是僧人,能在反宗教的政治氣候下繼續延續佛教的理念—这,對虛雲而言,是更重要的抗爭。

Affiliations: 1: Oregon State University


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