Innovation and Continuity in the Pure Lands: Pure Land Discourses and Practices at the Taiwanese Buddhist Order Dharma Drum Mountain
Jens Reinke (U Leipzig)
|Publication Date||July 2017|
|Publisher||Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies (New Taipei City, Taiwan)|
|Publication||Journal of Chinese and Buddhist Studies 30 (2017): 169–210.|
|Information||Full Article Online|
Historically, land notions and practices have played an important role in Chinese Buddhism. Yet very little research has been done with regard to their contemporary role. This article tries to fill this gap by examining different concepts and practices of pure land at a contemporary Taiwanese Chan Buddhist group, Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM). It is based on extensive fieldwork, examination of DDM’s publications, and the writings of the organization’s founder, Ven. Shengyan.
Pure land is at the crossing point of three distinctive discourses at DDM: (1) Modernist notions of the pure landon earth developed in the twentieth Century, (2) Amitabha-related pure land practices like nianfo, which are very popular with the laity and provide assistance in dealing with the universal problem of death, and (3) mind-only understandings that mediate the tensions between the two on a doctrinal level.
The article assesses how these discourses are negotiated and integrated by a variety of human actors who act in a particular historical context. The goal of the article is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the forces that are producing contemporary forms of Buddhist religiosity in Asia.
Keywords: Pure Land, Contemporary Chinese Buddhism, Dharma Drum Mountain, Renjian Buddhism, Taiwanese Buddhism
Jens Reinke (SFB 1199, U Leipzig, Germany)
Jens Reinke studied Chinese and religious studies in Berlin and Taipei. Currently, he is doing a PhD at the University of Leipzig (Germany). His research interests include modern and contemporary Taiwanese and Chinese Buddhism, post-war developments in Pure Land Buddhism, internationalization strategies of Chinese Buddhist groups, and interaction between different branches of Buddhism in a global context. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Chinese-speaking world, mainly in Taiwan, but also in China and among overseas Chinese communities.