First Enticing With Desires: A Material Approach to Fo Guang Shan and Humanistic Buddhism

  • Author / Creator
    Li, Bo
  • This study explores the little-examined dimensions of a highly influential Buddhist organization, Fo Guang Shan (佛光山), which was founded in Taiwan and established more than 200 branches on all five continents. Through ethnographic research focusing on Buddhist materiality – its aesthetic framing through material forms and modern techniques – the study argues that Buddhism as a practice of mediation is “sacred in between” (Barrie 2005). In particular, an examination of its construction of urban monastic space, aesthetic foodways, re-contextualization of musical practice and creative ritual performance, enables a tangible understanding of Humanistic Buddhist thought. As an extension of Chinese Buddhism, Fo Guang Shan’s Humanistic Buddhism should not be understood as a process of secularization. By examining the concrete forms of Fo Guang Shan’s cultural products and its various re-interpretations of traditions, we will see an active transformation initiated within the Buddhist community in response to the influences of modernity and globalization in our contemporary world.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Anthropology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • DeBernardi, Jean (Anthropology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kent, Stephen (Sociology)
    • Palmer, Andie (Anthropology)
    • Quinter, David (East Asian Studies)