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Taixu’s revolution

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  1. Revolutionary roots.
  2. The need for reform.
  3. Structural reforms.
  4. Doctrinal reforms.

Early in the 20th Century, China experienced significant political, social and religious upheavals. For the first time in its long history, China was no longer governed by dynastic rulers and the possibility of a republic society emerged. The country and its people were divided when confronted with the reality of Westernization and the inevitable rise of a modern society. There was little agreement between leaders and different factions as to what vision of that society ought to emerge as the modern China, and this widespread disjunction certainly took its toll on China's revered Buddhist traditions. In fact, years of coping with these issues had many Buddhist scholars predicting an end to the religion as a pure and valuable vehicle through which its practitioners can gain spiritual enlightenment. The institution was under attack from all sides by innumerable forces. Taixu spent most of his life trying to stymie the decline of Buddhism through structural and doctrinal reforms that were meant to purify the religion and make the religion more applicable to modern times

[...] number of influential Buddhist monks of the time. One of the most important relationships he developed at the time was with Huashan, who also sought to reinvigorate and reform the Chinese Buddhist tradition. In fact, Huashan is credited as being the first monk to seek the modernization of the Sangha. Huashan helped Taixu to become familiar with revolutionary political and social figures of the time. Most significantly, Huashan argued that in the dynamic political and social climate of the time, the monastic order must also change through modernization and educational reforms.[2] Taixu's relationship with Huashan placed Taixu on the new trajectory of reform. [...]


[...] Those specific problems were augmented by larger problems that consumed the world at large. Taixu saw the world community as drifting into moral decline, and such a view was fostered by the harsh realities of the first World War. Instead of seeking peace, harmony, spiritual growth and enlightenment, he saw that human nature was being defined by self- destructive hedonistic wants and that the world was acquiescing to those base desires. Taixu also blamed much of this decline on science. [...]


[...] Thus instead of fulfilling spiritual needs, man's main obsession will center around the fulfillment of their material demands, and thus the world experiences an incredible moral decline. Additionally, the materialistic disease that plagues man will cause severe conflict between rich societies and poor societies, and the conflicts will explode into tremendous violence. The First World War was but a prelude to a future of conflict.[16] Taixu truly believed that the answer to such a situation was to expose that global community to Buddhism. [...]

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