Monks, Rulers, and Literati

Monks, Rulers, and Literati : The Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism

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Description

The Chan (Zen in Japanese) school of Chinese Buddhism began when, in the seventh century, a small religious community gathered around a Buddhist monk named Hongren. Over the centuries, Chan Buddhism grew from an obscure movement to an officially recognized and eventually dominant form of Buddhism in China and throughout East Asia. In this book Albert Welter presents, for the first time in a comprehensive fashion in a Western work, the story of the rise of Chan, a story which has been obscured by myths about Zen. Zen apologists in the twentieth century, Welter argues, sold the world on the story of Zen as a transcendental spiritualism untainted by political and institutional involvements. In fact, Welter shows that the opposite is true: relationships between Chan monks and political rulers were crucial to Chan's success. The book concentrates on an important but neglected period of Chan history, the 10th and 11th centuries, when monks and rulers created the so-called Chan "golden age" and the classic principles of Chan identity.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 160 x 236.2 x 30.5mm | 612.36g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 3 maps, 20 line drawings, tables
  • 0195175212
  • 9780195175219
  • 1,985,115

Review quote

Welter's Monks, Rulers, and Literati is a much needed and very readable work that presents a rich and multifaceted picture of the development of Chan and significantly advances our understanding of it. It is a must-read for every scholar interested in Chinese Buddhism. I will also be highly useful in graduate seminars and even in upper-level undergraduate courses. * Journal of Chinese Religions *show more

About Albert Welter

Albert Welter is Professor of Asian Religions at the University of Winnipeg in Canada. He is the author of The Meaning of Myriad Good Deeds: A Study of Yung-Ming Yen-Shou and the Wan-Shan T'ung-Kuei Chi (1994).show more

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