The Transformation of Regional Buddhist Cultures in Southern China
Chapter 2 examines how the Tang–Five Dynasties transition impacted Buddhist monastics, their traditions, and regional religious cultures. With the onset of the Five Dynasties, just as some southern rulers recruited former Tang officials and local leaders to their administrations, they also appointed Chang’an’s displaced court clerics and prominent native monks to the abbacies of major monasteries in their territories. Traditions of learning and practice popular in the northern capitals during the late Tang were disseminated to and reconstituted in the capitals of southern kingdoms, most notably Shu and Wuyue. The continuity of elite Tang Buddhist traditions is then contrasted with the elevation of local clerics, many of whom belonged to Chan lineages, in less developed regions like Jiangxi and Fujian. The political empowerment and economic development of southeastern regions situated resident Chan monks at the centers of newly sovereign states.
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