Localization, Globalization and Glocalization: Paradigm Shifts in the Study of Transmission and Transformation of Buddhism in Asia and Beyond

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024 | Viewed by 2164

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z2, Canada
Interests: East Asian Buddhism

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Guest Editor
College of Foreign Languages, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Interests: Buddhist studies
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Contact between the East and West started as early as antiquity. Alexander the Great, for instance, brought the Greek culture to India, where Greek aesthetics would heavily influence Buddhist—especially Gandhāran Buddhist—art. Similarly, Roman coins circulated the Chinese capital Xi’an as early as the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD), while Christianity already spread to China by the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Within Asia, intense cultural exchanges took place constantly, including the spread of Buddhism to China in the first century CE. Accompanying cultural exchanges are also conflicts. Encounters between Eastern and Western civilizations were especially combustible due to their vast political, economical, linguistic, and cultural differences. However, conflict is far from the normal mode of intercivilizational interaction. To the contrary, the advancement of human civilization is deeply indebted to the exchange and merging of cultures.

At this critical juncture of our own time when globalization faces an unprecedented crisis, history can serve as a mirror, helping us to understand the nature of intercivilizational conflict and cooperation. In particular, the history of the spread of Buddhism from India to China, its subsequent appropriation by Chinese culture, and the transmission of the Sinicized form of Buddhism to the rest of East Asia in particular reveals the mechanism of cross-cultural interactions.

From the perspective of global history, when the teachings of Buddhism first arrived in the heartland of China around the first century CE, East Asia had just started what would become an ongoing exchange with Central and South Asia. Influence from the Han Empire had already spread to Central Asia, and as a result, at least two civilizations communicated with one another through various channels, allowing for diverse cultural interactions and fusion. Buddhism, in this context, was one of many players to participate in this rich cultural dynamic. For these reasons, we propose the following (non-exclusive) themes for this Special Issue:

  1. Conflicts and Conciliations: Patterns of Intercultural/Intercivilisational Interactions as Seen from Buddhism’s Crossborder and Transcultural Transformation;
  2. Indigenization and Globalization of Buddhism as Part of World History;
  3. Sinification and Globalization of Buddhism and Reconstruction of Sacred Spaces in Asia;
  4. Case Studies Showing Glocalization as a More Dynamic Approach for the Study of Transcultural Transmission of Buddhism;
  5. Buddhism’s Transborder Transmission and the Formation and Transformation of Pan-Asian Textual Communities;
  6. Buddhism’s Transborder Transmission and Commercial Networks in Asia;
  7. Buddhism’s Transborder Transmission and Geopolitical Reshaping in Asia.

Prof. Dr. Jinhua Chen
Prof. Dr. Ru Zhan
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • localization
  • globalization
  • glocalization
  • world history
  • Buddhism’s transborder transmission
  • sinification of Buddhism

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 374 KiB  
Article
The Making of a Monk: The Training of Śrāmaṇera (Novice Monks) in Dunhuang with a Focus on Scriptural Study
by Shoucheng Shen and Shaowei Wu
Religions 2024, 15(6), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060635 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 278
Abstract
Monastic life begins with the ordination of novice monks, who start their formal training at this stage. The education of a novice involves both general cultural studies and specialized Buddhist training. However, the focus during the novice stage is predominantly on Buddhist education, [...] Read more.
Monastic life begins with the ordination of novice monks, who start their formal training at this stage. The education of a novice involves both general cultural studies and specialized Buddhist training. However, the focus during the novice stage is predominantly on Buddhist education, which encompasses learning monastic discipline and studying Buddhist scriptures. The Dunhuang manuscripts offer a wealth of information, providing valuable insights into the training and education of novice monks in Dunhuang during the periods of Tibetan Occupation (787–848) and Guiyi Army (851–1036). Full article
13 pages, 649 KiB  
Article
Sacred Resurgence: Revitalizing Buddhist Temples in Modern China
by Yifeng Liu
Religions 2024, 15(5), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050627 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
This paper examines the construction and maintenance of Chinese Han Buddhist temples in modern China against the backdrop of societal transformation. Initially, it analyzes the profound impact of social changes since the mid-19th century on Buddhist monasteries, including political turmoil, economic development, and [...] Read more.
This paper examines the construction and maintenance of Chinese Han Buddhist temples in modern China against the backdrop of societal transformation. Initially, it analyzes the profound impact of social changes since the mid-19th century on Buddhist monasteries, including political turmoil, economic development, and urbanization. Furthermore, the paper explores how temples were reconstructed and revitalized within this historical context, highlighting the monastic community’s unwavering commitment to protecting the Dharma and ensuring its enduring presence. Additionally, this paper also explores the role of charismatic monks in enhancing the sanctity of temples and the influence of Buddhist institutional frameworks on the dynamics of state and society. The study employs a multifaceted analysis to understand the complex interplay between temple construction, economic development, and the cultural heritage of Buddhism in China. Full article
15 pages, 725 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Literacy Rate of Buddhist Sangha in the Tang Dynasty
by Shaowei Wu
Religions 2024, 15(3), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030306 - 29 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 875
Abstract
The Buddhist sangha played a crucial role in ancient China, exerting significant influence on its society through religious identity and cultural knowledge. However, not all members of the monastic community were literate. The Tang Dynasty introduced an examination system that assessed monks’ proficiency [...] Read more.
The Buddhist sangha played a crucial role in ancient China, exerting significant influence on its society through religious identity and cultural knowledge. However, not all members of the monastic community were literate. The Tang Dynasty introduced an examination system that assessed monks’ proficiency in reciting Buddhist scriptures, determining their eligibility for ordination. Simultaneously, efforts to remove unqualified monks and nuns provided an opportunity to estimate the literacy rate within the monastic community. A statistical analysis of the literacy rate offers a novel perspective for understanding the evolution of Buddhism, the intricate relationship between religion and politics, and the role of the monastic community in local society during the Tang Dynasty. Full article
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