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The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture

John Kieschnick

19 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0691096767 / ISBN 13: 9780691096766
Published by Princeton University Press
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Paperback. 360 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.0in. x 0.9in.From the first century, when Buddhism entered China, the foreign religion shaped Chinese philosophy, beliefs, and ritual. At the same time, Buddhism had a profound effect on the material world of the Chinese. This wide-ranging study shows that Buddhism brought with it a vast array of objects big and small--relics treasured as parts of the body of the Buddha, prayer beads, and monastic clothing--as well as new ideas about what objects could do and how they should be treated. Kieschnick argues that even some everyday objects not ordinarily associated with Buddhism--bridges, tea, and the chair--on closer inspection turn out to have been intimately tied to Buddhist ideas and practices. Long after Buddhism ceased to be a major force in India, it continued to influence the development of material culture in China, as it does to the present day. At first glance, this seems surprising. Many Buddhist scriptures and thinkers rejected the material world or even denied its existence with great enthusiasm and sophistication. Others, however, from Buddhist philosophers to ordinary devotees, embraced objects as a means of expressing religious sentiments and doctrines. What was a sad sign of compromise and decline for some was seen as strength and versatility by others. Yielding rich insights through its innovative analysis of particular types of objects, this briskly written book is the first to systematically examine the ambivalent relationship, in the Chinese context, between Buddhism and material culture. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Bookseller Inventory # 9780691096766

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material ...

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

Book Type: Paperback

About this title

Synopsis:

From the first century, when Buddhism entered China, the foreign religion shaped Chinese philosophy, beliefs, and ritual. At the same time, Buddhism had a profound effect on the material world of the Chinese. This wide-ranging study shows that Buddhism brought with it a vast array of objects big and small--relics treasured as parts of the body of the Buddha, prayer beads, and monastic clothing--as well as new ideas about what objects could do and how they should be treated. Kieschnick argues that even some everyday objects not ordinarily associated with Buddhism--bridges, tea, and the chair--on closer inspection turn out to have been intimately tied to Buddhist ideas and practices. Long after Buddhism ceased to be a major force in India, it continued to influence the development of material culture in China, as it does to the present day.


At first glance, this seems surprising. Many Buddhist scriptures and thinkers rejected the material world or even denied its existence with great enthusiasm and sophistication. Others, however, from Buddhist philosophers to ordinary devotees, embraced objects as a means of expressing religious sentiments and doctrines. What was a sad sign of compromise and decline for some was seen as strength and versatility by others. Yielding rich insights through its innovative analysis of particular types of objects, this briskly written book is the first to systematically examine the ambivalent relationship, in the Chinese context, between Buddhism and material culture.

From the Back Cover:

"A remarkable achievement. By applying his Buddhological training to a topic typically ignored by Buddhologists, material objects, John Kieschnick has produced an original and groundbreaking book--the first of its kind not only in the area of Chinese Buddhism, but in the field of Buddhism writ large. There is simply nothing like this available in any Western language. Despite the technical nature of the subject, he manages to keep the scholarly apparatus unobtrusive. I would not hesitate to make it required reading in all of my upper level and graduate courses on Chinese Buddhism."--Robert Sharf, University of Michigan

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