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Research and Commentaries on Buddhism by Norwegian Missionary Karl Ludvig Reichelt
Keywords: Karl Ludvig Reichelt, Buddhist research, Christian Centre, religious dialogues
Abstract: During the Republic of China period, the Norwegian missionary Karl Ludvig Reichelt 艾香德 (1877–1952) and his family were sent to China by the Norwegian Missionary Society (Nuowei wai bang chuan jiaohui 挪威外邦傳教會). Influenced by the period’s revival of Buddhist culture, and especially the lay Buddhism, Reichelt gradually realised that ‘without studying Buddhism, one hasn’t the means to evangelise’. As a result, he diligently studied and came to an understanding of Buddhism. He even established ‘Christian Centres’ (Jidujiao conglin 基督教叢林) in Nanjing and later Hong Kong in order to spread Christianity throughout China by a Buddhist-inspired method. He also launched the ‘Religious Unity Movement’ (Zongjiao lianhe yundong 宗教聯合運動), which promoted mutual understanding and dialogue between religions. The Buddhism-inspired methods used by Reichelt to disseminate Christianity have always led to a great deal of controversy, but it cannot be disputed that he advanced understanding between European and Eastern cultures and fostered interactions between Buddhism and Christianity. The religious dialogues he fostered have had a positive impact that continues to this day.