Buddhism in the People’s Republic

The Mahayana Tradition in Contemporary China

A warm welcome to Buddhism in the Peoples Republic, a special project by Buddhistdoor Global that turns an illuminating spotlight on the many faces, practices, and schools of Mahayana Buddhism in contemporary China.

This ambitious undertaking is a unique, year-long initiative that takes an in-depth look at one of the great living civilizational loci of the Buddhist tradition. We aim to introduce, examine, and discuss the ways in which this ancient spiritual tradition is expressed and practiced in modern-day China, and to consider its implications for the future of one of the most rapidly evolving societies in the world.
Buddhism was first introduced to Han dynasty China by traveling monks and scholars from India during the first century, and for the past two millennia it has been a key factor defining Chinese society, thought, and culture—its far-reaching influence helping to shape and inform virtually every aspect of life, from art, literature, philosophy, politics, and social mores to medicine, science, and material culture.
Since the 1980s, following the easing of state restrictions on religious practices, Buddhism has experienced a vibrant revival throughout the Chinese cultural sphere. That awakening has gathered momentum to the present day, and continues to play an important role in transforming the rich internal landscape of Chinese society.
Through this new project, Buddhistdoor Global’s editorial team and expert contributors aim to provide a concise, insightful, and informative overview of the history of contemporary Chinese Buddhism, and the modern practices and influences that are shaping the changing face of modern China.
We hope you enjoy your visits here. Please explore our articles below, discuss this project with your friends, and share your thoughts and feedback with the Buddhistdoor community.
Be sure to bookmark this page so that you can stay up to date with the latest activity and content about Buddhism in the Peoples Republic!

Traversing China for the Forgotten Pure Land of Maitreya Buddha

Belief in the Buddha of our future age, Maitreya, has been a staple of Chinese Buddhist thought and art for centuries. Spanning diverse regions and time periods in China, Jingjing Li examines how Buddhist thinkers and leaders saw Maitreyas influence on Chinese eschatology and as the herald of a renewed age of reverence for the Dharma. 

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Going Native: The History of Buddhism in China

Dive into the story of how Buddhism, an Indic religion with radically different views about the meaning of life (and the life to come), became a "native" Chinese movement. For more than two millennia, Buddhism has accompanied China through various historical junctures and trends that have shaped what we know as China today. 

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 Contemporary Buddhism 

Convergence and Harmony: On the Schools of Chinese Buddhism

Dharma Master Jingzong examines the development and evolution of Mahayana Buddhism in China as the various schools flourished through harmonious co-existence​.

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Book Review—The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao

Buddhistdoor’s Senior Writer Raymond Lam reviews Ian Johnson's The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao, one of the most accessible English language works on modern religion in China.

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Buddhism in China: Crisis and Hope

The eminent Master Jingzong provides a candid analysis of the contemporary face of Buddhism in China and some of the biggest challenges facing the spiritual tradition today, offering incisive observations and suggestions to bring about a modern transformation of Chinese Buddhism led by the teachings of the Pure Land school. 

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Buddhism in China Today: An Adaptable Present, a Hopeful Future

Here we explore the mutifaceted context of Buddhism in contemporary China. Chinese Buddhism operates in a unique space in the officially atheist country, with the government working with non-Communist movements and the gradually resurging traditional faiths to help steer the future of China. ​

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 Chan Buddhism 
The Cypress in the Courtyard: An Interview with Venerable Ming Hai​

As vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China and abbot of Bai Lin Temple, Venerable Ming Hai understands that much needs to be done in terms of propagating the Dharma, especially while Buddhism is undergoing something of a renaissance in China and the general public is showing an unprecedented level of interest in Chan Buddhism. 

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 Buddhist Studies 

Into the 21st Century: The Educational Modernization of Chinese Buddhism​

Ven. Rongdao Lai, Assistant Professor in the School of Religion at the University of Southern California, traces the educational modernization of Buddhist in China back to it’s early 20th century roots and discusses the political narrative of Buddhist modernization.

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“Many Have Gradually Realized that Buddhism is not a Superstition” – Dr. He Huanhuan Discusses Buddhist Studies in China

Dr. He Huanhuan is the youngest religious studies professor to be tenured at Zhejiang University, where she founded the Buddhist Resources and Research Center. Read more about her personal journey in the Chinese Buddhist academia and her hopes for the future of the field.

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 Related News 

Related News Reports from Buddhistdoor Global

Explore our news section for a broad selection of reports on events and developments related to Buddhism across mainland China and the Greater China region. 

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