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From Comrades to BodhisattvasMoral Dimensions of Lay Buddhist Practice in Contemporary China$
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Gareth Fisher

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839666

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839666.001.0001

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(p.169) 6 Heart/Action
From Comrades to Bodhisattvas

Gareth Fisher

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter 6 presents an intensive study of the largest of the preacher-centered groups in the outer courtyard of the Temple of Universal Rescue that met from the late 1990s until the late 2000s. Led by a charismatic ex-car salesman, the group advocated a return to Maoist-era principles of egalitarianism and the cultivation of concern for “the people.” The group stressed that these principles were compatible with Buddhist teachings on the importance of universal compassion. The chapter presents detailed biographies of the mostly female core members of the group and explores how their desire to put Maoist-era moralities into action met with obstacles from both their low socio-economic positions within Beijing society and the misogynistic behavior of the group’s leader. The conclusion of the chapter discusses how the group eventually moved away from the temple and partially abandoned its Maoist message.

Keywords:   Buddhism, China, Mao Zedong, gender, consumption

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