Chapter 5 examines how Buddhist lay practitioners seek to earn merit and social status among other practitioners through the creation, copying, and distribution of Buddhist-themed media. It describes in detail the types of materials the practitioners create and distribute and the different roles they take in this process. It also shows how the circulation of these materials fosters an imagined community of lay Buddhists in China as a whole and perpetuates discourses on the role of the miraculous in everyday life and the importance of moral reform that run counter to themes of secular progress in the mainstream media.
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