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Taiwan's Tzu Chi as engaged Buddhism [electronic resource] : origins, organization, appeal and social impact /
by YuShuang Yao.
1st ed.
Boston : Global Oriental, c2012.
xiv, 243 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.
9004217479, 9789004217478
More Details
Boston : Global Oriental, c2012.
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Yu-Shuang Yao, Ph.D. (2001) in Sociology of Religion, University of London, is Assistant Professor at Fo Gung University, Taiwan. She has published various articles in Chinese and won scholarships from the CGK, International Scholarly Exchange for Thesis Fellowship (1997), and a Fulbright Grant (2004).
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, October 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a comprehensive sociological study of a new Chinese Buddhist movement, known as Tzu Chi (otherwise, the Buddhist Compassion Merit Society). Based in Taiwan, it was founded in 1966 and is still led by a female Buddhist master - Master Cheng Yen.
Description for Reader
All those interested in Buddhist studies, comparative religions, new religious movements in East Asia, and the post-war social history of Taiwan.
Long Description
This book is the first comprehensive sociological account and in-depth analysis of a new Chinese Buddhist movement, known as Tzu Chi (otherwise, the Buddhist Compassion Merit Society). Based in Taiwan, it was founded in 1966 and still led by a female Buddhist master Master Cheng Yen. Its members are laity, and women play a major role. The main focus of the movement is medical charity to ease and if possible prevent suffering and to teach ethics to the wealthy; at the same time, it also offers members a religion and a way of life. Recruitment typically attracts people from the urban middle class. With some 3.5 million members and a very low drop-out rate, Tzu Chi is extraordinarily successful, and has spread to other parts of the world, not least mainland China where it is attracting the attention of the general public and the media.The book stands in the Anglo-American tradition of the sociology of religion; it also draws on the author's knowledge of Buddhist history. The data come from participant observation and many long interviews. It will be of particular interest to students of new religious movements, religious studies in contemporary China, and studies in ethics and social change in East Asia.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tables and Chartsp. xi
Forewordp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgementsp. xvii
Notes on Stylep. xix
Introduction: The Second Golden Age of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwanp. 1
The Aim of the Studyp. 2
The Society, History and Ethnology of Taiwanp. 3
The Contemporary Taiwanese Religious Context: Limited Pluralismp. 6
A History of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwanp. 7
Traditional Religion in Taiwanp. 11
Daoismp. 13
Western Missions and Missionariesp. 15
Syncretism and Other New Religions in Taiwanp. 18
Yi-guan Dao (or I-kuan Tao)p. 19
Supreme Ching Haip. 21
Zhenfo Zongp. 21
Japanese New Religions in Taiwanp. 23
The History of Lay Buddhism in Taiwanp. 29
Research Approach and Methodsp. 37
Review of the Literature in Englishp. 37
The Study of Appeal and the Approach of my Researchp. 40
The Challenge and Difficulties of Research in Taiwanp. 41
The Collection of Datap. 49
Review of Literaturep. 49
Participant Observationp. 50
Interviewsp. 51
Surveysp. 53
The Weaknesses and Strengths of the Methodsp. 55
The History of Tzu Chi: Organization, Leadership and Public Responsesp. 59
The History of Master Cheng Yenp. 60
Master Cheng Yen as a Charismatic Leaderp. 67
The History of Tzu Chip. 70
The Media Coverage of Tzu Chip. 76
Conclusion and Discussionp. 78
Teachings and Practices: Altruism and Morality Become a Way of Lifep. 80
The Teachings on Karma and Meritp. 80
The Teachings on Worldly Salvationp. 83
The Sacred and the Profanep. 86
The Tzu Chi Ethos: Altruism and Morality Become a Way of Lifep. 89
Death Ritual, Tzu Chi Funeral Service and Ancestorsp. 94
Tzu Chi as a New Religionp. 98
The 'New Middle Class': The Social Composition of the Tzu Chi Membershipp. 105
Gender, Age and Marital Status of Tzu Chi Members, and Some Problemsp. 106
Domicile, Social Life and Family Unitp. 110
Identity, Political Attitudes and Ethosp. 113
Education, Occupation and Views on Women and Menp. 114
Previous Religious Experiences and Present Religious Statusp. 120
Conclusion and Discussionp. 125
Becoming a Disciple: The Recruiting Strategy of Tzu Chip. 129
How the Members Came to Know about Tzu Chip. 129
How the Members First Encountered Tzu Chip. 137
Routes to Joining Tzu Chip. 139
Some Problems with Joining Tzu Chip. 149
Summary and Discussionp. 151
Tzu Chi's Organizational Structure and the Process of Socializationp. 153
Impersonal Organizational Structurep. 153
The Abode and Headquartersp. 153
The Tzu Chi Branches and Liaison officesp. 156
Tzu Chi Overseas Centresp. 160
The Leadership of Master Cheng Yenp. 164
The Process of Socializationp. 168
The New Convertsp. 168
The Grouping, Bonds of Affection and Seniorityp. 172
The Process of Indoctrinationp. 173
The Initiation Ceremonyp. 175
Discussion and Problemsp. 179
The Appeal of Tzu Chi Buddhismp. 181
The Initial Appealp. 182
The Appeal of Tzu Chi as a Charilyp. 182
Tzu Chi's Recruiting Strategyp. 183
The Quality of Tzu Chi's Membersp. 184
The Curiosity Factorp. 186
Reinforcement of the Appealp. 187
The Appeal of Tzu Chi's Way of Handling Donationsp. 188
The Appeal of the Master Cheng Yenp. 191
The Appeal of Tzu Chi's Religiosityp. 197
The Appeal of Tzu Chi as a Largew Organisationp. 201
The Appeal of the Sense of Communityp. 203
The Appeal from the Effects of Participationp. 206
Conclusionp. 212
Does Tzu Chi Meet the Expectations of Current Sociological Theory?p. 213
Afterwordp. 227
Appendixp. 231
Religious Change in Taiwanp. 231
The Educational Background of Tzu Chi Membersp. 231
The Educational Background of Tzu Chi Members - by Genderp. 232
The Educational Background of Tzu Chi Members - by Agep. 232
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 241
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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