Buddhist Revival in China: Values of the Development of Mount Wutai

  • Author / Creator
  • In China, the Chinese Communist Party (中國共產黨CCP) has created a complicated administrative system to control religion. The CCP severely regulated and almost eradicated a number of religious groups during the Cultural Revolution (文化大革命). In the early 1980s, however, religion was allowed to slowly revive under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平). The CCP adopted a series of moderate policies on religious affairs and began to exploit the secular values of religion, including Buddhism and Buddhist sacred sites, to serve the Party-state. This thesis explores the Chinese government’s approach to the management of religion through the case of Mount Wutai (五臺山), a traditional Buddhist sacred mountain in China. Historically Mont Wutai was an important site for Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhists. Today the Buddhist monasteries are the site of active religious communities, but Mount Wutai also is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a destination for tourists. The thesis explores the ways that Mount Wutai has developed since 1980s under the influence of both Buddhist revivalism and politically-motivated secularization. The thesis demonstrates that the political environment has changed precisely because the government now recognizes Mount Wutai’s secular values, and investigates the development of Mount Wutai in light of its economic and political values to the government, the local community, and the local Buddhist community.

  • 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
    • Young-Leslie, Heather (Anthropology)
    • Supernant, Kisha (Anthropology)
    • Dunch, Ryan (History and Classics)