Buddhism and the Modern Intellectual Elite
DOI: 10.2753/CSH0009-4633460302
Title: Buddhism and the Modern Intellectual Elite
Journal Title: Chinese Studies in History
Volume: Volume 46
Issue: Issue 3
Publication Date: April 2013
Start Page: 28
End Page: 43
Published online: 8 Dec 2014
ISSN: 0009-4633
Author: Liu Chunhuaa
a Department of Politics and Law, Zaozhuang College, Shandong, China
Abstract: The relationship between the intellectual elite and Buddhism has undergone a profound shift in response to tremendous changes in modern society. The intellectual elite created a connection between modern Buddhist studies and Western learning, transforming Buddhist studies to reflect the radical cultural and ideological changes to Chinese society and Buddhist philosophy. They "used their ideas to advance or suppress Buddhist theories," remolding Buddhism into a new modern religion characterized by engagement with the world to save humankind, with the purpose of rescuing the national destiny, enlightening the people, and delivering the nation from extinction. They mastered Confucianism and Buddhism using a discourse infused with the spirit of the era. They thus reformed feudal Buddhism and injected traditional Buddhist teachings with the spirit of bourgeois democracy and nationalist revolution, launching the modern Chinese Buddhist movement of revival and reform and causing Chinese Buddhism to shift from "crisis" to "opportunity" in a single bound, leaping across the threshold into modern society.

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