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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 6.2 (2023): 65–110;
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Local Society)

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A Buddhist Christian Encounter in Late Ming Dynasty: New Insights from the Chengdu Conflict of 1643–1644

Thierry MEYNARD 梅謙立
Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou

Abstract: The Buddhist-Christian encounter in the late Ming has left an important body of literature which has been the object of scholarly attention in the last decades. This paper investigates a very little-known document, never published, about a short but violent conflict in 1643–1644 in Chengdu. The manuscript, written by a direct witness and actor in the conflict, the Portuguese Jesuit Gabriel de Magalhães, contains a half-dozen original documents translated into Portuguese. Based on those documents and other sources, we attempt to reconstruct the course of the events, and to elucidate the root cause of the conflict. As we shall show, the conflict in Chengdu is a prolongation of the anti-Christian campaign launched by the abbot Miyun Yuanwu in 1632 in Zhejiang, but it was greatly exacerbated by the political crisis felt by the saṃgha in Chengdu in the final year of the Ming.

Keywords: Sichuan, Buddhism, Miyun Yuanwu 密雲圓悟 (1566–1642), Poshan Haiming, Jesuits


About the Author: Thierry Meynard S.J., is professor and Ph.D. director at the philosophy department of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, where he teaches Western Philosophy and Latin Classics. He is the vice-director of the Archive for the Introduction of Western Knowledge, at Sun Yat-Sen University. He recently co-edited with Philippe Major, The Dao Companion to Liang Shuming’s Philosophy (Springer, 2023), and with Daniel Canaris, From Confucius to Zhu Xi: The First Treatise on God in François Noël’s Chinese Philosophy (Brepols, 2013), and A Brief Response on the Controversies over Shangdi, Tianshen and Linghun, by Niccolò Longobardo (Palgrave, 2021).


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.