Thriving in Crisis
Buddhism and Political Disruption in China, 1522-1620
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Thriving in Crisis is a systematic study of the late Ming Buddhist renewal with a focus on the religious and political factors that enabled it to happen. Dewei Zhang explores the history of the boom in enthusiasm for Buddhism in the Jiajing-Wanli era (1522-1620), tracing a pattern of advances and retrenchment at different social levels in varied regions. He reveals that the Buddhist renewal was a dynamic movement that engaged a wide swath of elites, from emperors and empress dowagers to eunuchs and scholar-officials. Drawing on a range of evidence and approaches, Zhang contends that the late Ming renewal was a politically driven exception to a longer-term current of disfavor toward Buddhism and that it failed to establish Buddhism on a foundation solid enough for its future development. A groundbreaking interdisciplinary study, Thriving in Crisis provides a new theoretical framework for understanding the patterns of Buddhist history in China.