Laliberté looks at a relatively unexplored aspect of modern Taiwan: the influence of religion on politics. This book offers a detailed survey of three of the most important Buddhist organizations in Taiwan: the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China (BAROC), the Buddha Light Mountain (or Foguanshan) monastic order, and the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Association (or Ciji). It examines their contrasting approaches to three issues: state supervision of religion, the first presidential election of 1996, and the establishment of the National Health Insurance.
This study analyzes the factors that explain the diverse paths the three organizations have taken in the politics of Taiwan. Based on an in-depth examination of Buddhist leaders' behaviour, The Politics of Buddhist Organizations in Taiwan compels us to question conventional views about the allegedly passive aspect of religious tradition, deference to authority in societies influenced by Confucian culture and the adverse legacy of authoritarian regimes.
'The book's great strength lies in Laliberté's choice to foucs on the realworld social involvement of these groups. In doing so, Laliberté increases our understanding of the roles played by these Buddhist establishments in a tangible and germane way.' - The China Journal
'The reader gains some fascinating insights into the making of Buddhist political identities and the semantics of power relationships in contemporary Taiwan.' - The China Quarterly
Acknowledgements List of Abbreviations 1. The Political Participation of Taiwanese Buddhist Organizations in Comparative Perspective 2. Taiwanese Buddhist Organizations and Politics in Historical Perspective 3. The Baroc and the Safeguarding of the Religion through Lobbying 4. Foguangshan's Humanistic Buddhism and the Duty of Remonstrance 5. Chi's Humanistic Buddhism and the Avoidance of Politics 6. Conclusions Appendices Selected Bibliography