Buddhist Modernities: Re-inventing Tradition in the Globalizing Modern World, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Buddhist Modernities

Re-inventing Tradition in the Globalizing Modern World, 1st Edition

Edited by Hanna Havnevik, Ute Hüsken, Mark Teeuwen, Vladimir Tikhonov, Koen Wellens


302 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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The transformations Buddhism has been undergoing in the modern age have inspired much research over the last decade. The main focus of attention has been the phenomenon known as Buddhist modernism, which is defined as a conscious attempt to adjust Buddhist teachings and practices in conformity with the modern norms of rationality, science, or gender equality. This book advances research on Buddhist modernism by attempting to clarify the highly diverse ways in which Buddhist faith, thought, and practice have developed in the modern age, both in Buddhist heartlands in Asia and in the West. It presents a collection of case studies that, taken together, demonstrate how Buddhist traditions interact with modern phenomena such as colonialism and militarism, the market economy, global interconnectedness, the institutionalization of gender equality, and recent historical events such as de-industrialization and the socio-cultural crisis in post-Soviet Buddhist areas. This volume shows how the (re)invention of traditions constitutes an important pathway in the development of Buddhist modernities and emphasizes the pluralistic diversity of these forms in different settings.

Table of Contents

1 Buddhist Modernities: Modernism and its Limits

Mark Teeuwen


Part 1: Early Meetings with Modernity

2 The Scope and Limits of Secular Buddhism: Watanabe Kaikyoku (1868-1912) and the Japanese New Buddhist "Discovery of Society"

James Mark Shields

3 Buddhism and the Capitalist Transformation of Modern Japan: Sada Kaiseki (1818-1882), Uchiyama Gudō (1874-1911), and Itō Shōshin (1876-1963)

Fabio Rambelli

4 Parsing Buddhist Modernity in Republican China: Ten Contrasting Terms

Justin R. Ritzinger

5 Seeking the Colonizer’s Favours for a Buddhist Vision: the Korean Buddhist Nationalist Paek Yongsŏng’s (1864-1940) Imje Sŏn Movement

Hwansoo Kim


Part 2: Revivals and Neo-Traditionalist Inventions

6 Buddhism in Contemporary Kalmykia: "Pure" Monasticism versus Challenges of Post-Soviet Modernity

Valeriya Gazizova

7 Buddhist Modernity and New-Age Spirituality in Contemporary Mongolia

Hanna Havnevik

8 Yumaism: A new Syncretic Religion among the Himalayan Limbus

Linda Gustavsson


Part 3: Contemporary Sangha-State Relations

9 Failed Secularisation, New Nationalism and Governmentality: The Rise of Buddhism in Post-Mao China

Koen Wellens

10 Militarized Masculinity with Buddhist Characteristics: Buddhist Chaplains and their Role in the South Korean Army

Vladimir Tikhonov

11 Re-Enchantment Restricted: Popular Buddhism and Politics in Vietnam Today

Aike P. Rots

12 "Buddhism Has Made Asia Mild…" – The Modernist Construction of Buddhism as Pacifism

Iselin Frydenlund


Part 4: Institutional Modernity

13 Family, Gender and Modernity in Japanese Shin Buddhism

Jessica Starling

14 Theravāda Nuns in the USA: Modernization and Tradition

Ute Hüsken

15 Some Reflections on Thich Nhat Hanh’s Monastic Code for the 21st Century

Jens W. Borgland

16 Modernizing American Zen through Scandal: Is "The Way" Really the Way?

Stuart Lachs

About the Editors

Hanna Havnevik is Professor of the History of Religion at the University of Oslo, Norway

Ute Hüsken is Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway

Mark Teeuwen is Professor of East Asia Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway

Vladimir Tikhonov is Professor of Korean and East Asian Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway

Koen Wellens is Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, Norway

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
RELIGION / Eastern
RELIGION / Sexuality & Gender Studies