Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea

ISBN : 9780190090975

Jack Meng-Tat Chia
288 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2020
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Chinese Buddhists have never remained stationary. They have always been on the move. In Monks in Motion, Jack Meng-Tat Chia explores why Buddhist monks migrated from China to Southeast Asia, and how they participated in transregional Buddhist networks across the South China Sea. This book tells the story of three prominent monks Chuk Mor (1913-2002), Yen Pei (1917-1996), and Ashin Jinarakkhita (1923-2002) and examines the connected history of Buddhist communities in China and maritime Southeast Asia in the twentieth century. Monks in Motion is the first book to offer a history of what Chia terms "South China Sea Buddhism," referring to a Buddhism that emerged from a swirl of correspondence networks, forced exiles, voluntary visits, evangelizing missions, institution-building campaigns, and the organizational efforts of countless Chinese and Chinese diasporic Buddhist monks. Drawing on multilingual research conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Chia challenges the conventional categories of "Chinese Buddhism" and "Southeast Asian Buddhism" by focusing on the lesser-known-yet no less significant-Chinese Buddhist communities of maritime Southeast Asia. By crossing the artificial spatial frontier between China and Southeast Asia, Monks in Motion breaks new ground, bringing Southeast Asia into the study of Chinese Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism into the study of Southeast Asia.


List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
A Note on Translation and Transliteration
Introduction: Toward a History of South China Sea Buddhism
1. Migrants, Monks, and Monasteries
2. Chuk Mor: Scripting Malaysia's Chinese Buddhism
3. Yen Pei: Humanistic Buddhism in the Chinese Diaspora
4. Ashin Jinarakkhita: Neither Mahayana Nor Theravada
Coda: Monks in Motion
Appendix A: List of Interviewees
Appendix B: Complete Works from the Fragrance Incense Studio (Zhuanxiang huashi wenji)
Appendix C: Collected Works of Mindful Observation (Diguan quanji)
Appendix D: A Sequel to the [Collected Works of] Mindful Observation (Diguan xuji)
Appendix E: Sacred Scriptures of Indonesian Buddhism (Kitab-Kitab Suci Agama Buddha Indonesia)
Glossary of Chinese Characters

About the author: 

Jack Meng-Tat Chia is Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies at the National University of Singapore.

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