Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies: E-journal, Vol 1.2, ter Haar

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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 1.2 (2018): 202–230
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Arts)

 

 

Shamans, Mediums and Chinese Buddhism: a Brief Reconnaissance

Barend J. ter HAAR
University of Hamburg
barend.ter.haar@uni-hamburg.de

Keywords: shamans, mediums, Buddhism

Abstract: In traditional China, Buddhism was not a separate religious tradition or culture practiced in isolation from the rest of Chinese religious culture. This applied not only to people outside the monastic context, but also to people within that context. Even shamanic and medium practices could take place within a Buddhist context. Shamanic is here defined as spirit travel or communication whilst the practitioner stays him- or herself, whereas a medium would be possessed and temporarily become the other spiritual being. Finally, future research should look at the way in which these practices may have influenced and/or partially replaced other forms of contact with the divine or supernatural world, such as dreams and visions.