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The Geopolitics of Taiwanese Buddhism

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
A Brown Bag Lecture part of the Taiwan Lecture Series, "The Geopolitics of Taiwanese Buddhism" with discussant <b>Andre Laliberte</b>, Professor of Political Studies, University of Ottawa.
The Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI) presents "The Geopolitics of Taiwanese Buddhism" a brown bag lecture, part of the Taiwan Lectures Series with discussant Andre Laliberte, Professor of Political Studies, University of Ottawa. 

The abstract of Andre Laliberte's talk is as follows:

"I argue that the increasing focus of Taiwanese Buddhist actors in Mainland China presents them with challenges to their hard-earned place in global Buddhism. I first outline the early three decades of development for Taiwanese Buddhist associations on the island and abroad, at a time when world Buddhist associations were based in Bangkok, Colombo, and Taipei. Then, I present evidence of increasing support for Taiwans own Buddhism for this world in Mainland China for the last decade, thanks to support from key actors within the CCP regime, but also Chinese Buddhist epistemic communities of scholars, officials, as well as lay and monastic believers. I will emphasize that the presence of Tzu Chi and Foguangshan in China responds to a variety of interests articulated by a number of actors in the Mainland, at a time when the regime promote Chinese Buddhism on the world stage to counter the influence of Tibetan Buddhisms soft power. The official authorization for Tzu Chi to establish in Suzhou a permanent presence in the PRC after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake; and the key role played in the organization of the World Buddhist Forum by the Chair of the Buddha Light International Association, Hsing Yun, represent high points in this institutionalization of Taiwanese Buddhism in Mainland China. The paper argues that as a result of these achievements, Taiwanese Buddhists face mounting challenges about the role of Buddhism in the deepening of Cross-Strait relations, but also about their place within an increasingly fragmented globalized Buddhism, divided between multiple centers vying for prominence, from Beijing to Delhi."

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