Guest Lecture: Educational Modernization in Chinese Buddhism: A Century of Transformation

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Educational Modernization in Chinese Buddhism: A Century of Transformation

The Glorisun Global Network for Buddhist Studies, with administrative support from FROGBEAR, proudly presents a lecture by Dr. Rongdao Lai (University of Southern California)

When: 1:30 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

Venue: Asian Centre, Room 604






Monastic education is one of the most important projects in the modernization of Chinese Buddhism. This talk begins by exploring several paradigm shifts associated with Buddhist educational modernization that began in the 1920s, a period of fervent growth and significant changes. I argue that the reimagining of a national Buddhist community and reinterpretation of orthodoxy produced a distinctly Buddhist citizenship discourse, which became the basis for Buddhist engagement with the nation-state in terms of property rights, political participation, and wartime activism. These changes proved to be essential in inspiring and shaping the discourse and conceptualization of education within the tradition. The second part of the talk offers some observations and reflections on the current state of Buddhist education in mainland China and Taiwan.

About the Speaker

Rongdao Lai is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California. She received her PhD in Religious Studies from McGill University in 2014. Her research focuses primarily on the changing landscape in modern Chinese Buddhism and identity production. She has recently completed a manuscript, based on her doctoral dissertation, on modern Buddhist education and citizenship in China. Her other on-going projects include lineage networks and transnational movements in Chinese Buddhism, and monastic economy in postwar Hong Kong. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore (2016) and a research fellow in the ACLS Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies (2017).


This guest lecture is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is preferred.

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