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130 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Three. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes during the Late Japanese Period


Chapter Three





I. The Need to Associate
     A. Overview
     B. The Patriotic Buddhist Association
     C. The Buddhist Youth Association
     D. Taiwan Friends of the Buddhist Way
     E. The South Seas Buddhist Association
II. The Japanization Movement and Temple Regulation
III. The Fate of Zhaijiao
IV. Conclusion: How Great an Impact?




     A. Overview. The foregoing discussion of the major lineages and eminent monks of the Japanese period have brought out a couple of facts that should help the reader to understand the formation of the Buddhist organizations and associations that began to appear about twenty years after the Japanese took possession of the island. First the reader is now familiar with the most important figures in the Buddhist world at the time and is already aware of why the Japanese authorities trusted them and were willing to work with them. Second, the experience of the Chaofeng Temple in the years of Lin Shaomao's rebellion show how easy it was for temples and other religious organizations to suffer guilt by association with the anti-Japanese movements and groups that were prevalent during the early colonial period. This danger of implication in rebel movements affected both Buddhist temples and zhaijiao meeting halls.

     With regard to this point, the 1971 Gazetteer lists no less than fourteen major anti-Japanese insurrections and minor revolts that took place between 1895 and 1915, of which Lin Shaomao's was only one. Because rebel activity was so



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widespread, many religious people in Taiwan felt the need to cultivate good relations with Japanese missionaries and government officials from an early date. Thus, in 1912 we find the zhaitang of all three zhaijiao sects in Tainan city joining together to form the Vegetarian Mind Society(1) [zhaixin she 齋心社]. However, as the preface to their contract of alliance makes dear, this step merely formalized what they had been doing ever since 1895:

We of the Longhua Sect, ever since the Japanese began ruling Taiwan, recognized ourselves as followers of the Sōtō School. Whenever we had a period of observing the vegetarian diet and making offerings to the buddhas, we would invite a Sōtō missionary over to chant sutras and preach.(2)

     The need to associate arose with special urgency in 1915, with the so-called Xilai Hermitage Incident [Xilai An Shijian 西來庵事件]. This term refers to a widespread anti-Japanese conspiracy led by three men: Yu Qingfang 余清芳, Jiang Ding 江定, and Luo Jun 羅俊. They plotted to overthrow the Japanese colonial government and set up Taiwan as an independent nation, and they used the Xilai An Temple in Tainan as their secret meeting-place. Unfortunately for the conspirators, Yu was too open in expressing his feelings about the Japanese, and attracted the attention of the Japanese authorities, who subsequently uncovered their plans before they had a chance to launch their rebellion. All the conspirators



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were apprehended.(3)

     What is most significant here is the fact that Yu and his fellow rebels used a zhaijiao meeting hall as their base of operations, couched their revolutionary ideas in the language of zhaijiao rhetoric,(4) and spread their ideas primarily among zhaijiao adherents. After their plot was discovered, all zhaijiao devotees and their meeting-halls became suspect and the majority of devotees, who were merely trying to lead quiet lives and make the best of the circumstances, needed a way to show the authorities that they were good, loyal citizens of the empire. The two most widely-used methods for accomplishing this were either to put their zhaijiao organizations and halls directly under the control of a Japanese Buddhist school, as exemplified by the actions of the Tainan zhaitang. or to form associations dedicated to purposes both religious and patriotic.

     B. The Patriotic Buddhist Association. Under the direct influence of the Xilai Hermitage Incident, the Tainan Vegetarian Mind Society attempted to evolve into an island-wide religious organization, known as the Patriotic Buddhist Association [Aiguo Fojiao Hui 愛國佛教會].(5) This organization was to unite in one body all of the Buddhist temples and zhaijiao meeting-halls in Taiwan under



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the leadership of the Sōtō School of Japanese Buddhism, and to give the Japanese government a way to distinguish good, law-abiding Buddhists from rebels and bandits. This is dear from the preamble to its charter:

Religion was established to enlighten all the people of the world, and to aid rulers in carrying out all good government. Sadly, the people of today are riot like those of old. The enlightened are few, the superstitious are many, to the extent that even when they enter into a good religion (lit. dharma-gate), they practice it more and more confusedly from sunup to sundown. From this issue heresies and strange beliefs, to the extent that they practice fuzhoushui 符咒水,(6) talk foolishly about fortune and misfortune, stir up the people with reckless speech, mislead them with heresies, and have infiltrated the ranks of zhaijiao. These people are criminals in (the realm of) religion, vermin in the gates of excellence! It may be that our meeting-halls [zhaitang 齋堂] have failed to distinguish the sincere from the hypocritical, and have not known [the extent to which] bad elements have gotten mixed in. We sincerely fear that they have employed methods that go against the government's peaceful rule, that many innocent people have been implicated, and that every religious retreat [an 庵] has been handed the blame. Now, in this civilized age, can we really accommodate that set of fellows,(7) like fish-eyes among pearls? We have, in view of this, united together the congregations of each meeting-hall, extending to the entire ecclesiastical establishment, in order to resist incursions by outside trouble[makers] and maintain religious order. It is our hope that each [meeting-hall] will adopt and respect this arrangement.(8)

The desire to maintain the zhaijiao meeting-halls free from government suspicion and distance them from rebel activity are palpable in this preamble. As for the concrete measures taken to "resist incursions by outside troublemakers and



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maintain religious order," these are set forth in the charter itself. The following are the relevant clauses:

#3. The intent of this charter is first and foremost to respect the laws of the nation and imperial institutions, to pay all farm and excise taxes, to carryout our civic duties to the best of our abilities, and to act in accordance with the regulations governing religious activities.

#4. In order to become men perfected by religion, we will maintain ourselves pure and uncorrupted, love our brothers, be faithful to our friends, train our wives and educate our sons, be forebearing with others but uncompromising with ourselves, maintain dear boundaries between adjoining properties, each be diligent in our business, and earn our living in accordance with the law.

#6. Having entered into the way of religion, [members] may not go forming other associations; idle about in neglect of their proper occupations; form parties or cliques; engage in sedition, fornication, gambling, or theft; trick people out of their property by using the names of gods or buddhas; or practice fuzhoushui. All this goes against the true path of religion, and will be promptly reported to the authorities to be punished according to law.

#7. If there are [any members who] hold the government in contempt, slander those in power, flaunt their differences or brag about novelty, spread falsehoods, mislead the world or bring false accusations against people, or divide families and cause trouble; and if they will not correct themselves after admonition, then they will be expelled.

#9. Any member who wishes to introduce a new member should choose someone of upright moral character and sincere religious belief. These will be permitted to join. However, if there is anything wanton or reckless in their behavior but they repent and promise to reform, then [their entrance] should be temporarily delayed and their behavior carefully observed. If there is improvement, and if their introducer is willing to act as their guarantor, then they may join. But any follower who is violent or deceitful will be refused.



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#10. The meeting-halls of each [zhaijiao] sect must keep membership records, one for the men and one for the women. These must include everyone's name, address, and age, and information on members who die, are expelled, or resign. These records must be carefully registered and verified.(9)

We can see in the provisions of this charter concerns that will be common to all of the religious associations that formed under the Japanese colonial government. The primary concern was to establish an organization with enough credibility vis à vis the government that membership in the organization would in itself be proof of good citizenship. The associations did this by setting good citizenship as an explicit value to be inculcated in members in matters such as paying taxes, obeying the law, not joining rebel factions, and so on (as in clause #3); by going further and setting the goal of promoting a very Confucian form of morality among members (as in clause #4); by carefully screening prospective members (as in clause #9); by promising to expel members who do cause trouble, and even taking responsibility for handing them over to the authorities (as in clauses #6 and #7); and by maintaining careful records so that the organization and government can quickly check claims of membership (as in clause #11). In all these terms, the reader may see that the name of the organization was well-chosen; they were indeed as patriotic as they were Buddhist.

     The Patriotic Buddhist Association was not the only organization trying to provide asylum for the religiously-inclined citizens of the Empire. In the northern part of Taiwan, Huang Yujie 黃玉階, the elder of the Xiantian Sect whose biography



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appeared in chapter one, proposed another organization and laid out a tentative charter enshrining many of the same goals. The organization he envisioned was to include not only Buddhist temples and zhaijiao halls, but also Daoist priests and temples as well. His draft charter included ideas on how to organize the central governing body and local chapters as well as how to deal with infractions of the law, and in his scheme, two copies of each members' dossier would be sent to the government as a matter of course. However, his proposed association never materialized.

     C. The Buddhist Youth Association. In April of 1916, the Japanese government completed work on their new headquarters building in Taipei. They marked the occasion by hosting the first Taiwan Industrial Fair [Taiwan Kangyō Kyōshinkai 台灣勸業共進會] in an adjoining lot. At that time, the Religion kochō 股長 of Taipei chō 廳, Shibata Kiyoshi 柴田廉之, thought it would be a good idea if leaders of the Buddhist world in Taiwan availed themselves of the site to hold a series of lectures, and so he consulted with two of the leading figures in zhaijiao circles, Chen Taikong 陳太空 and Lin Puyi 林普易, about organizing the event. They agreed, and the meetings began on April first and lasted forty consecutive nights, each featuring worship services and lectures on the sutras arid teachings. The 1971 Gazetteer records that these meetings proved very popular with the fairgoers, attracting over 1000 people every night. The editors also mention that many Christian groups were having meetings of their



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own at or near the same site, leading to tense confrontations that required a constant police presence to maintain public order.(10)

     It was during this time, when most of the major figures of zhaijiao were gathered in Taipei for the fair and the lecture-meetings, that all of the zhaijiao organizations in Taiwan formally submitted themselves to the Sōtō school, thus becoming administratively subject to the Sōtōshū Taiwan Betsuin and its chief officer, Ōishi Kendō 大石堅堂 . During the course of these negotiations, Lin Puyi conceived the idea of organizing a Taiwan Buddhist Youth Association [Taiwan Fojiao Qingnian Hui 台灣佛教青年會] in order to reverse what he saw as a severe decline in the quality of Taiwan Buddhism. (As we shall see, he was not the only one who perceived this decline.) Ōishi agreed to this idea, and asked Lin to draft a charter.(11)



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     The preamble to Lin's draft charter is a fascinating document, outlining a complete rationale for understanding the Japanese takeover of Taiwan in religious terms, for revering the Japanese emperor, and for understanding the religious needs of the modern age. For these reasons, I present here a full translation:

Now, we hear that since the beginning of world civilization, the significance of the term "religion" means nothing more than its original intent of educating people.(12) It has been thirty centuries since our honored ancestral [teacher] Sākyamuni appeared in the world. He preached sutras numbering as many as 5,700 scrolls, there are 84,000 dharma-gates that attest to the wonder of his profundity, his merits extend to the myriads of universes, and even the grains of sand in the Ganges could not rival their number. The key points of religion in the several myriads of worlds resolve down to three: In terms of religion, it enables people to escape suffering and attain happiness, pacify their bodies, and fulfil their destinies. In terms of ethics, it pushes people to forsake evil and do what is right. In terms of philosophy, it leads people to turn from superstition and attain enlightenment, and to contemplate the principle dispassionately. In the final analysis, all of [religion's] endless variations come down to one thing, and none of them fall outside the limits of humaneness and compassion. Therefore, the most excellent things of religion are civilization that daily grows more prosperous, and customs that daily grow more deep.

     Buddhism spread eastward and was propagated to China during Han times, and gradually entered into our country. It has been over 1000 years since then. It was vibrant during the period of China's middle antiquity. Afterwards it sank into decadence and one need not ask whether this [decline] has extended to the present day. But our country [i.e., Japan] has reversed this, and, ever since his majesty the emperor ascended the throne, his people have experienced constant renewal and improvement. At first it was like waves coming in layers and lapping over one another, and later came reports of success in the augmentation and consolidation of the nation's prestige. Respectfully quoting from the Meiji Emperor's rescript on education, whether a nation is orderly or disorderly,



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prospering or declining, depends upon the suitability or otherwise of its religion and education. Looking at the great successes reported in Japan's two great military campaigns in Russia and Germany on both land and sea, how could [his military] have such a spirit of loyalty to their prince and love of their country if their religion and education were not suitable?(13)

     Lately religion has undergone transformation. Western scholarship has become prevalent, twisted morals still count as clever and tactful to those anxious for self-benefit, and the manners and morals of the times are wholly different from those of old. If the Buddha spoke of an age of world-destruction, he surely meant this [present) one! Recall that in ancient times the Yellow Emperor subdued the whole world by force of arms, but at the beginning used only bows and arrows, shields and spears. The western lands respected the old order in ancient times, but then they changed, first to machines and crossbows, then to firearms, and finally to bombs, machine guns, submarines, missiles, and things difficult for me to number, even if I go back and ponder them endlessly. These westward-looking, Europeanized demons mow people down like grass and feud endlessly. They are the exact opposite of those who still hold the chief Buddhist virtues of humaneness and compassion.

     Now, everyone knows that in these long twenty years that the Japanese have ruled Taiwan, they have been diligent in encouraging and rewarding agriculture, industry and commerce. It is only with respect to religious reform that we have not yet heard the first word. There are temples both large and small everywhere that you look, and the pity is that their devotees['s religious practices] are all form and no spirit, and that the resident clergy are only out for their own benefit. Furthermore, the halls where people enshrine images of their ancestors are in the hands of gamblers and carousers. In a word, it's all just "superstitious Buddhism," not only of no benefit to its followers, but actually harmful to them. No wonder that in the years of Qing dynasty rule, from the Kangxi to the Guangxu reigns [i.e., from 1662 to 1907] there were no less than 17 rebellions. Unexpectedly, in coming back to our own territory [i.e., Taiwan], one still has Zhan Arui in Taichung, Liu Can in Nantou, and, more recently, the Xilai Hermitage [Incident] in Tainan. Had it not been for the errors of superstition, could these situations have developed?

     The government has supervisors over this, and they do have



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plans to carry out investigations into religion, a complex undertaking, as we know. However, it is riot that peoples superstitions cannot be broken, it is just that the methods have not been good. Since this government has been ruling in Taiwan, the religious regulations have been good, and the achievements have been excellent. The problem is that the religious teachers do not speak Taiwanese, and so it has been hard for them to place believers in all parts of Taiwan. The delegates sent from the headquarters of the Sōtō School have been best at disseminating [their message], and that is why they have temples from the Lingquan Temple 靈泉禪寺 in Keelung 基隆, to the Longyun Temple 龍雲寺 in Daojiang, to the Jiantan Temple 劍潭寺 in Tachih 大直, to the Fayun Temple 法雲禪寺 in Miaoli 苗栗, all the way to the Daxian Grotto 大仙寺 in Chiayi 嘉義. The resident clergy [in these temples] come from that school's lineages, and they draw not a few believers from among the Taiwanese. This all goes back to the Sōtō School's help and guidance. However, there are more people in Taiwan of correct belief and thought, and who are covered by the ruler's impartial, all-pervasive benevolence. Their only problem is that they are stumbling in the dark with no light to guide them.

     Now I have a word to offer to my three million compatriots in Taiwan, if you wish to feel the rulers impartial, all-pervasive benevolence covering you, you have only to respect the imperial rescript on education: the government's success or failure hinges on nothing more than the suitability of the people's religion and education. Like a skilled physician prescribing medicines according to the illness, the Buddha preached the dharma so that [people could] attain enlightenment in accordance with their capabilities. The religious outlook of the people of Taiwan is not all that different from that of the homeland [i.e., Japan], and so we should make good use of this opportunity to seek for an appropriate method to capitalize on it and expand its benefits to all.

     We, being recognized as men of some intelligence, have accordingly come together in one mind to form the Buddhist Youth Association. Our purpose is to band together as members for the mutual cultivation of wisdom and virtue, and to respectfully emphasize education by stressing the Buddha's teachings. In upholding the spirit of the rescript on education, we will eradicate existing superstitions, seek to serve the nation instead of self and family, and so come to enjoy the blessing of peace among all the people. I have been too verbose in making clear the aims of this Association, and I sincerely hope that men of humaneness and men of true virtue [lit: Confucian gentlemen, junzi 君子] will not reject



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[this plan], but will quickly approve of it and Join up to bring great good fortune.(14)

     Several themes are apparent in, this preamble. First, it presents the outlook of religious individuals who saw their religious practices endangered through association with seditious movements that co-opted their ideas and language. The preamble makes explicit reference to the Xilai Hermitage Incident and two other revolts against the Japanese. The author, a prominent zhaijiao leader, sought to put some distance between his own organization and these rebel movements by making the distinction between "religion," which he represents, and "superstition" or "superstitious Buddhism," represented by the rebels. Religion, he says, makes people ethical, benevolent, and enlightened, and, if the Meiji emperor's rescript on education is correct, leads to the peace and prosperity of the nation. We have already seen the idea in the preamble to the Patriotic Buddhist Association's charter that religion (and specifically the religion of the "men of antiquity") leads to peace while superstition leads to unrest.

     This segues into another interesting thought: since good religion conduces to the nation's health, then the successful expansionism of Japan, even though brought about by military adventurism, still indicates that the Japanese religious and educational systems are superior. This may smack of toadying to the reader, but there are two things to bear in mind when looking at this passage. First it is a commonplace among scholars of Chinese religion that it is very pragmatic; if a



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person or a nation is successful in achieving their aims, then it is a sign that they are worshipping the right deities in the right way. Second, the people who gathered to form these organizations had no way of foreseeing that Taiwan would one day be returned to China. It is only hindsight that allows us to give this period names like "the Japanese occupation" or "the colonial period." From the perspective of 1916, the cession of Taiwan to Japan was a fait accompli, and Taiwan was and would continue to be an integral part of Japan. Resistance had been shown to be useless; the only reasonable course was to adapt.

     Third, one sees in this preamble another explicit statement that Buddhism could be used as a bridge linking Chinese and Japanese culture, but with a new twist. Lin Puyi dearly saw the encroachments of Western culture as a threat, and proposed that, if the Chinese on Taiwan could unite with the Japanese on the basis of their common religious heritage, they could put up a stronger resistance to the spiritual contamination emanating from these aggressive "demons." The language barrier, however, had proven a serious impediment to effecting this union, except in the case of the Sōtō School. It is no coincidence that this school included a significant number of Taiwanese-speaking monks, such as Shanhui and Jueli, within its organization.

     The charter itself is much more taken up with the technical details of the organization's structure and procedures than that of the Patriotic Buddhist Association, but it still sets forth the basic principles and purposes that defined the organizers' goals. Article three codifies Lin's much-repeated intention to base



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the organization's goals on those outlined in the Meiji Emperor's rescript on education. Article four sets forth general principles governing members' conduct, and article seventeen sets expulsion as the punishment for their violation. However, in this respect the Buddhist Youth Association was much more relaxed and confident than was the Patriotic Buddhist Association. Whereas the PBA's charter gives a detailed list of infractions such as slandering the government, causing family disturbances, fornication, and so forth that are forbidden, the BYA charter simply exhorts members to act in accordance with "humaneness and compassion." It is for violating this spirit, and for bringing the Association into disrepute, that the Buddhist Youth Association expelled members. It seems as if the latter organization, having better government connections at its inception, did not need to advertise in such a precise way what sins its members would be free from. However, the Buddhist Youth Association shared with the Patriotic Buddhist Association a common method of quality control: its charter also stipulated that prospective members needed an introduction by an existing member in order to join (article eighteen).

     More than the Patriotic Buddhist Association, the Buddhist Youth Association seemed to see itself as an agent of education and uplift in Taiwan Buddhist circles; at least its charter is more specific about the means it would employ to pursue these goals. There was to be an annual newsletter (article thirteen); the association was to actively investigate the religious situation in Taiwan and find ways to proselytize efficiently among the Chinese population



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(article fourteen); it was also to establish schools and lecture halls, and organize further ad hoc dharma-meetings for educational purposes (article fifteen).

     One can perhaps see the heavy Japanese bias of the Association when one examines the roster of founding members. There are eight Chinese Buddhists, including Shanhui and Huang Yujie (the man who tried his hand at organization once before with no success). They were heavily outnumbered by the 22 Japanese members (including Ōishi Kendō). They met on May 7,1917 and elected Ōishi as president, Huang Yujie and Kimura Taiji 木村泰冶 as vice-presidents, Shanhui as chief executive manager, a 13-member board of directors, and a 15-member advisory council. In this way, all of the founding members had offices and titles; in fact, since the charter stipulated more offices than there were original members, the four-member board of executive managers served concurrently as the accounting section. As with the Patriotic Buddhist Association, neither the 1971 Gazetteer nor any other source says what the Buddhist Youth Association did after its founding, which leads me to think that it did nothing significant beyond providing its members with credentials.(15)

     D. Taiwan Friends of the Buddhist Way. The Taiwan Friends of the Buddhist Way [Taiwan Fojiao Daoyou Hui 台灣佛教道友會] appears to have been a fairly minor organization, significant primarily because it represents the



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entrance of the Rinzai School into the realm of religious associations. As we have seen, the Buddhist Youth Association was the brainchild of the head of the Sōtō mission in Taiwan, Ōishi Kendō, who subsequently became the group's president. In 1918, the Myōshinji Sect 妙心寺派 of Rinzai sent one of its more eminent monks, Nagatani Jien 長谷慈圓, to work on their behalf in Taiwan. He too lamented the sad condition of Buddhism in Taiwan and immediately began to lay plans for its improvement. We have already seen how Nagatani recruited Benyuan of the Lingyun Chan Temple to help him set up the Chinnan Academy. At the same time, he also urged the establishment of the Taiwan Friends of the Buddhist Way Association, and he asked Lin Puyi to help draft its charter. The reader may recall that it was Lin Puyi who composed the charter of the Buddhist Youth Association, and so it is not surprising that the two charters are virtually identical in content. Nagatani did seem to be aware that he would be competing with the Buddhist Youth Association for members, however; the last article of the charter stresses that membership is open to all, both ordained and lay, both male and female, both orthodox Buddhist and zhaijiao devotee, and, as a jab at the Buddhist Youth Association, to both young and old.

     The organization's charter was approved by the government on February 3,' 1918. Its leadership was even more heavily weighted in favor of the Japanese than was the Buddhist Youth Association. Of ail the officers named in the 1971 Gazetteer, only three are Chinese: Benyuan himself, who was one of the executive managers, Lin Xiongzheng of the board of directors, and Lin Xuezhou, who was



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in charge of the newsletter. The president, vice-president, and chief executive manager were all Japanese (Nagatani himself was the vice-president). Of course, the 1971 Gazetteer's listing of officers is far from complete; for example, it only gives the names of two out of 33 members of the board of directors. However, it is dear that Japanese members monopolized all of the highest administrative and financial posts.(16)

     This may explain why the organization was so ineffectual and short-lived. It issued its first monthly newsletter on December 10, 1918, half in Chinese and half in Japanese, and published 31 issues before suspending operations in 1922. As we shall shortly see, this is the very year of the founding of the most successful and influential of the island-wide Buddhist groups, the South Seas Buddhist Association. This later group was founded under the direction of Marui Keijirō 丸井奎治郎 who was also on the board of directors of the Friends of the Buddhist Way. It is possible that when he helped to organize this new association, he simply took the leadership of the Friends of the Buddhist Way with him.

     E. The South Seas Buddhist Association. I have just said that the South Seas Buddhist Association [Ch: Nanying Fojiao Hui; Jpn: Nan'e Bukkyōkai 南瀛佛教會] was the most successful and influential of all the island-wide Buddhist organizations founded during the Japanese period. However, we shall see that its success was still very limited, and its influence never spread beyond the



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Japanese population and the Chinese citizens whose positions and livelihood required contact with them. In fact, the fate of its newsletter will show that its influence among the Chinese may have actually waned in the dosing years of the Japanese occupation.

     To begin at the beginning: After the Xilai Hermitage Incident in 1915, the Japanese government decided to undertake an extensive investigation of all the temples and religious groups in Taiwan, and in 1917 set up the Office of Shrines and Temples [shajika 社寺課] under the Bureau of Internal Affairs [naimukyoku 內務局] to oversee this work. The government appointed Marui Keijirō to head this office and oversee the survey.(17) During the course of this work, Marui became increasingly dismayed over the sad state of Buddhism in Taiwan, and saw the need for an island-wide umbrella organization to reverse the situation.(18) The reader may remember that Marui was already on the board of directors of the Friends of the Buddhist Way during this time. He may have felt that this organization, tied as it was to the Rinzai School and having been founded in competition with the Sōtō School, would not be effective in unifying all Buddhists under one roof.

     Marui expressed his concerns in an article published in the first issue of the Association's newspaper. In it, he wrote that the clergy, laity, and zhaijiao devotees on Taiwan were very ignorant about their own religion and unwilling



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to take leadership roles in addressing social concerns. He had come to see a pressing need to "engender an understanding of the spirit of Buddhism, encourage faith, broaden [believers' I perspectives, and strictly regulate their resolve."(19) If Buddhists wished to improve their social standing, then it was necessary for them to set up a self-governing organization that would make use of the missionaries' training and techniques to enable them to influence all the people on the island.

     Marui called his first conference on February 26, 1921 in order to present his proposals to the eminent monks of the time, including both Shanhui and Benyuan, as well as representatives of all three sects of zhaijiao. They met in the Longshan Temple in Taipei, and Marui urged them in his keynote address to be of service to both the sangha and the members of zhaijiao by setting up an organization to promote Buddhism into the future. He further proposed that this organization have branch associations in every district of Taiwan. His proposal was accepted by acclamation, and the conference selected four people to serve on the steering committee, with responsibility for fundraising, recruiting potential members, and organizing similar steering committees in Hsinchu, Taichung, and Tainan.

     Other conferences in these localities followed in rapid succession: The Hsinchu meeting took place on March 2, 1921, and appointed a three-member steering committee. The conference in Taichung followed two days later, and



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appointed five people to help gel: an SSBA chapter started there. The last meeting was convened on March 6 at the Kaiyuan Temple 開元寺 in Tainan, which appointed a seven-member committee. The members of all these committees showed up in Taipei on the morning of April 4, 1922 for the official founding meeting of the SSBA. After meetings and group photos with various government officials, the group retired for lunch. The meeting re-convened at 3:00 in the afternoon in the Longshan Temple 龍山寺 for the first official session. The first order of business was to pass the charter that the steering committee had prepared during the preceding year, which was adopted with some minor amendments. Because this represents the fullest development of Japanese efforts to organize Buddhism in Taiwan, I present here a full translation of the charter as passed:



1. The name of this organization is THE SOUTH SEAS BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION. It shall be provisionally headquartered in the Office of Shrines and Temples, Bureau of Internal Affairs, Taiwan Viceregal Government. It shall, in a timely manner, establish chapters in every locality, each of which shall write their own bylaws.

2. This Association is organized for the sake of all willing Buddhist clergy and friends of zhaijiao on this island, as well as for patrons of high social standing and good reputation.

3. The purposes of this Association are to raise members' knowledge and morals, maintain contact with Buddhism in the motherland, attempt to promote and develop Buddhism, and to broaden the minds of all the people on the island.

4. In order to fulfil these goals, the Association shall:

A. Organize short courses, study groups, and lecture series.



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B. Carry on investigations into the key points of religion and publish a magazine.

5. The Association shall establish the following offices:

A. One President (ed. note: to be nominated by the Board of Directors)

B. One Consultant [guwen 顧問] (ed. note: to be nominated by the Board of Directors)

C. One Vice-President (ed. note: to be nominated by the Board of Directors)

D. A Board of Directors [lishi 理事] with several members (ed. note: to be elected by the general membership)

E. An Executive Council [ganshi 幹事] of several members (ed. note: to be elected by the general membership)

6. The President will be in charge of the Association's general affairs, and will represent the Association. The Consultant arid the Vice-President will assist the President, and act as his proxy when he is unavailable. The Board of Directors will manage the Associations affairs under the Presidents direction. The Executive Council, acting on their supervision, will take care of general accounting.

7. The President will select from the general membership people of learning, virtue, and prestige, and appoint them as teachers to proselytize and spread the teachings.

8. Membership will be divided into four categories:

A. Ordinary Members [Putong huiyuan 普通會員] Hi, who pay dues of two yen per year, one each in. May and September.

B. Regular Members [Zheng huiyuan 正會員], who pay dues of five yen per year, due at the same time as those of Ordinary Members.

C. Special Members [Tebie Huiyuan 特別會員], who pay more than five yen in dues at any one time.

D. Honorary Members [Mingyu Huiyuan 名譽會員], to be awarded upon recommendation of those of broad education and high morals



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or of outstanding contributions to the Association.

Ordinary and Regular Members shall be able to pay their dues in one lump sum for a period of no more than ten years. If they do, then the Ordinary Members can pay 16 yen, and the Regular Members can pay 40 yen.

9. The Association will issue an identification card and badge to each member. However, members will have to pay for replacement badges.

10. Dues are not refundable in the event of withdrawal or expulsion.

11. Those desiring to join the Association must furnish proof of their name, address, and occupation, and must be introduced by an Association member in order to apply.

12. Any member who damages the Association's reputation or who fails to live up to the responsibilities of membership will be expelled.

13. The Association will hold its general convention in April of every year in order to discuss the preceding year's activities and accounts, and to deliberate on any new business.

14. Any amendments to this charter must pass by a two-thirds majority of the Board of Directors.(20)

     As is plainly evident, this charter represents quite an evolution since the days of the founding of the Patriotic Buddhist Association. It shows a level of sophistication and self-confidence completely lacking in the earlier document, and no trace of the former's pervasive feeling of apprehension. As an organization founded at the initiative of representatives of the Japanese government, its purpose was to upbuild Buddhism in Taiwan through educational and publishing activities. It was not, as was the PBA before it, an organ whose sole purpose was to provide



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members with credentials with which to represent themselves before the government as loyal Japanese citizens, and by which to distinguish themselves from seditious elements in society. While the SSBA charter certainly contains provisions that would have this effect, its goals were much more broadly and comprehensively defined.

     In the discussion that followed the proposal of the charter, it was decided not to limit the site of the annual convention to Taipei, but to allow any local chapter with fifty or more members to host it. Marui Keijirō assumed the post of acting President, and thirteen representatives received positions on the Executive Council. These included Shanhui, Benyuan, Lin Delin, and Yongding among those from the Buddhist clerical establishment, and Xu Lin (the taikong of the Longhua Sect), and others from the ranks of zhaijiao. All were directly appointed by Marui, and it is notable that all were Chinese.

     Marui called an ad hoc general meeting on December 17, 1922 for the purpose of electing permanent officers. Predictably, he was elected president, while the vice-presidency went to the head of the Education Office, Ikoma Takahisa 生駒高常. Marui might have continued as head of the SSBA indefinitely, but for the fact that the government abolished the Office of Shrines and Temples in 1925, and transferred its responsibilities to the Social Affairs Office under the Bureau of Education. Marui returned to Japan. For the remainder of the SSBA's existence, the Board of Directors always nominated the head of the Bureau of



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Education as president and the head of the Social Affairs Office as Vice President.(21)

     The SSBA did not wait until the ad hoc organizing conference to begin carrying out its mission as an agency for education and uplift. Their first short course opened on July 3, 1922 and lasted twenty days, at first in Taipei's Chengyuan School, then in the Eastgate Buddhist Junior School. Twenty-three students and six auditors came to hear lectures by Shanhui and Benyuan (who had gained experience in organizing such events ten years earlier when Shanhui returned from Japan with a set of the Tripitaka), Xu Lin 許林, five Japanese monks of various schools, and Marui himself. The next short course took place in November of the same year at the Kaiyuan Temple in Tainan. This time, twenty-two students took part. Thereafter, the SSBA organized a two-week course of study every June and November, rotating the location. The participants in these events were mostly men, and so in 1925 the SSBA began organizing separate short courses aimed at women. The first, which began on June 18, 1925, attracted 25 women and took place under the direction of Jueli at the Yishan Temple in Hsinchu county without direct SSBA involvement. However, the SSBA quickly took notice of Jueli's educational offering for nuns, and the following year, they took over this event. From then on, women's courses also became regular features of the SSBA's educational program.(22)

     Evidently, the SSBA received some criticism for putting significant time



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and resources into activities that benefited only a handful of people, for volume two, number four of their newsletter carried an editorial defending this practice. In summary, it admitted that the short courses were elitist, but went on to say that this was what Marui had determined the Taiwan Buddhist scene needed at that time. The general idea was that the handful of participants in these events would become the teachers and missionaries of the future, and so the efforts put into organizing these short courses would eventually have a ripple effect and carry their benefits into the wider religious community.(23)

     In accordance with the provisions of its charter, the SSBA also published a magazine/newsletter called "The South Seas Buddhist" [Nan'e Bukkyō 南瀛佛教]. This magazine featured a mix of news reporting, Buddhist thought, research reports, and poetry. The first issue appeared in July 1923. There were only two issues the first year, but as the organization gained in membership, it began to come out more regularly until it became a monthly journal by 1930. What is probably most telling about both the magazine and the Association of which it was the official organ is the language of choice for writing. The first several issues were published solely in Chinese, probably in keeping with the wishes of the all-Chinese Board of Directors. However, the magazine began bilingual publication with volume four, number four. As time went by, Japanese began to occupy more and more space, until in. the end it became exclusively Japanese.(24)



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The editors of the 1971 Gazetteer do not speculate on the reason for this linguistic shift, but it was certainly the result of the "Japanization" movement of the late 1930s, one component of which was the outlawing of the Chinese language in public discourse.

     Be that as it may, some scholars and writers in Taiwan, have seen this as emblematic of the general failure of this best and brightest of all Buddhist organizations to make an impact on the Chinese population of Taiwan. As is obvious from its history, the SSBA was never anything more than an agency of the colonial government for the regulation of Buddhist activities. As Chen Lingrong observes, the Japanese in Taiwan, as on the mainland, saw Buddhism as a way to bridge the gap between them and the people they sought to rule. The "education" offered in lecture meetings and short courses probably included more than just Buddhist history and philosophy; there was probably a good sprinkling of official Japanese government ideology mixed in as well. Chen believes that Japanese Buddhism, despite these efforts, never extended its influence beyond the upper strata of Chinese society, who needed the contacts, and those who deliberately allowed themselves to be subsumed by a sect of Japanese Buddhism for protection, particularly when the government implemented its "temple renovation" policy.(25)

     I am not so certain. There remains to this day a subcurrent of resentment against the Japanese colonial government, particularly with regard to their forceful attempts to suppress Chinese culture and language during their invasion of the



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mainland.(26) My own feeling is that Chinese scholars, given an opportunity, tend to interpret data so as to indicate the failure of the Japanese in these efforts. I wish to remind the reader that there really was not enough time for Japanese policies to work; Taiwan returned to the Chinese fold a mere 23 years after the founding of the SSBA. We shall shortly see that there is evidence that, in the later period, many ethnic Chinese people did in fact think of Japanese as their mother tongue, and did assimilate Japanese values from the educational system. Thus, the SSBA magazine's shift from Chinese to Japanese may reflect success in reaching out to the general population instead of failure; in any case, it was inevitable given the illegal status of Chinese. Had the Japanese continued to hold Taiwan after 1945, the SSBA might have grown into a thriving and vital organization in the Buddhist world on the island.




     We have already brought up the term "Japanization Movement" in several places; now it is time to look at this phenomenon directly and systematically.



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This term in Japanese is kōminka undō 皇民化運動, literally "the movement to turn [the people] into imperial citizens," and refers to an official government policy instituted in 1937 which attempted, in the words of the framers, literally to turn the Chinese population of Taiwan into ethnic Japanese citizens as far as this was possible. They knew that the resulting hybrids would not be real Japanese, at least not at first; rather, they would be kikeiteki nihonjin 畸形的日本人, "deformed Japanese."(27)

     This is not to say that the Japanese viceregal government had not had this goal in mind before 1937; there had been movements prior to this time by which the government sought to inculcate Japanese values among the Chinese in order to consolidate their rule.(28) What gave this movement its impetus and urgency was the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937 (the "7/7 Incident" in Chinese) which marked the outbreak of the War of Resistance in China against further Japanese incursions into its territory. Japan needed soldiers to go and fight on the Chinese mainland, and could not afford to exempt the able-bodied men of Taiwan from military service. At the same time, they feared that deep-rooted sentiments towards the mother country would cause these soldiers to defect and fight against their Japanese commanders once deployed on the mainland, in spite



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of the fact that this generation of young men had grown up in a Taiwan that was part of Japan and had come through the Japanese educational system.

     As a result of these considerations, the Japanization Movement that began in 1937 was more thoroughgoing in its goals and methods than previous movements. Among the measures enacted in quick succession were the following:

     1. Use of the southern Fujian dialect (or any form of spoken Chinese) was outlawed, as was Chinese in all publications and periodicals. Japanese also became the medium of instruction in all public schools. At the same time, the law provided for the establishment of a great number of Japanese-language schools throughout Taiwan. Government statistics bear out the effectiveness of this policy. In 1936 there were 2,197 such schools enrolling 131,799 students; by 1940, there were 11,206 language schools enrolling a total of 547,469 students. More stringent compulsory education laws also brought an estimated 90% of all school-age children into the Japanese school system. Japanese government statistics show that in 1936, 32.9% of the population of Taiwan could speak Japanese; by 1944, this figure had risen to 71%.(29)

     There were less formal methods for enforcing Japanese usage in public as well. For example, if a person wanted to buy a train ticket, but could not use Japanese, the ticket vendor would simply turn them away. People riding public buses who dared to speak Fujianese to the driver would be sent to the back of the bus.(30)



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     2. In addition to enforcing usage of the Japanese language, schools became vehicles for inculcating Japanese political ideology and thought. The language curriculum included learning songs extolling Japanese state militarism, and there were extracurricular clubs and activities for the express purpose of arousing Japanese nationalist sentiments.(31)

     3. All citizens were required to adopt Japanese names. This was presented to the people as an option that they could choose as a convenience, but those who declined the offer sometimes found themselves shipped off for national service in Malaysia or elsewhere.(32)

     4. The government even intruded into private lifestyles. Women were required to wear Japanese-style clothes in public. Anyone renovating their house or apartment was required to do so in Japanese style: bathtubs had to be Japanese-style, bedrooms had to have tatamis for sleeping, and so on.(33)

     5. All Chinese cultural activities were proscribed. It was illegal to perform Taiwan opera anymore; instead, the government sponsored people to write plays and dramas extolling Japanese cultural values.(34)

     All of the above is simply to demonstrate how seriously the Japanese government took this task, and how thoroughly they applied measures to fulfil



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it. What mainly concerns us here is how this Japanization Movement manifested itself in the realm of religion. Here the Japanese government was no less thorough. They required all households to destroy the ancestral altars in their homes, and issued specific instructions on the erection of Japanese-style butsudan 佛壇, complete with diagrams. Citizens were to install paper amulets [taima 大麻] from the Ise Shrines on these home altars and worship them regularly according to the rites of State Shintō.(35)

     However, the governor at this time, Governor Kobayashi, became convinced that traditional Chinese religious beliefs centered around temple practices, and unless the temples were brought into line with Japanese beliefs and values, then all other efforts to eradicate Chinese religions would be useless. He therefore proposed the measure of "temple renovation" [jibyō seiri 寺廟整理](36) as a solution. This was, of course, a euphemism. In practice, it meant that the government proposed to raze temples, shrines, and zhaijiao meeting halls and burn their images (a process the Japanese called "sending the gods back to Heaven" [shoshin shōten 諸神升天]).(37) Those that were spared were to be "renovated" into Japanese state shrines [jinja 神社], or into Japanese-style Buddhist temples and missionary stations.



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     This measure was unevenly enforced, and did not touch "pure" Buddhist temples at all since it was aimed specifically at "Daoist temples."(38) The official government policy in Taiwan at this time was to encourage Buddhism,(39) and at any rate most Buddhist temples in Taiwan were already directly subordinate to the officially-recognized schools of Japanese Buddhism, and their head monks had already shown themselves to be loyal citizens of the empire. The reader may remember that Shanhui had already built his Lingquan Chan Temple in a hybrid Chinese-Japanese style, and that the government used it as a place to receive Buddhist VIPs from Japan; thus, it was not a candidate for "renovation." The main brunt of this measure fell upon folk temples and shrines, Daoist temples, and zhaijiao meeting-halls.

     The official government explanation for this was that the religious practices at these temples were meretricious and antisocial. For instance, Chen Lingrong cites a report issued by the government of Chungli gun 郡 issued in 1938 that lists five specific complaints: 1. Native temple beliefs are an obstacle to upward cultural progress; 2. they are unpatriotic; 3. they obstruct the development of healthy social thought because traditional beliefs and practices are self-serving and not conducive to putting the welfare of state and society above one's own good; 4. the way in which temples are currently run frequently leads to disputes and even bloodshed; and 5. they are only loosely administered, and private individuals sometimes embezzle temple funds originally designated for charitable



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     The first temple "renovations" took place in November 1938 in Hsinchu, and it was in the Hsinchu-Chungli area that the local authorities pursued this policy most vigorously. As the policy went into effect, temples and shrines scrambled to find ways to escape "renovation," and many appealed to the Japanese Buddhist establishment for protection, promising to subordinate themselves and their property in return. For instance, the 1971 Gazetteer records an instance of an attempt of this kind, reported by Miyazaki Naokatsu, the chief of Chungli gun and the same government official who set forth the complaints against folk temples listed above:

Among these was the Fengtian Gong on Yangmei Street. It had long before placed itself in contact with the temple's devotees sent a petition to the main Rinzai temple in Taiwan [Rinzai-shū Taiwan Betsuin 臨濟宗台灣別院], saying that they would take all of the temple's property (ed. Note: their land was appraised at 10,000 yen) and transfer it over to Japanese Buddhism. In addition, they would hang a sign over the temple's door declaring it a missionary station of the Rinzai Temple for protecting the Nation [Gokokuji 護國寺]. The supervisor of the Rinzai mission in Taiwan, Ven. Takabayashi Gentaka 高林玄寶, went in person to the Yangmei neighborhood government office, showed them the certificate appointing him the deputy of the temple's devotees, and said, "I have been given the management of this temple in trust, and I do not approve of you "renovating" the Fengtian Gong. Plus, I am personally not willing to participate in the enshrinement ceremony for the Yangmei neighborhood.(41) If the local authorities make any move to renovate the Fengtian Gong or its images, the Rinzai School will never give its consent, you may be sure of that!" He also said, "Japanese Buddhism will never permit the local authorities to violate the right to freedom of religion



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guaranteed to citizens by our constitution. If the authorities step over this line, we will not only contact the viceregal authorities to rectify the matter, we will also call our representatives in the National Diet and get them to put the matter on their agenda so as to investigate [who is] responsible for ruling in Taiwan."(42)

However, even Takabayashi's influence proved insufficient, and the temple came down. The government in Taiwan was committed to carrying out this measure, convinced as it was that it was necessary in order to insure that the people of Taiwan would ultimately come to see themselves as Japanese citizens and thus be willing to fight on the mainland against other Chinese. In the records of a government meeting held on February 2, 1939, a delegate named Nagano, in responding to criticism that the temple renovation policy was being overzealously prosecuted, defended it thus:

In order to enforce the abolition of the Chinese language, culture, and tradition, we must exert ourselves in the destruction and renovation of the temples that are their centers, the burning of ancestral tablets, and the ban on wearing Chinese dress, and thus bring about the Japanization of the people of the island. No matter what objections there may be to this movement, nevertheless, I believe that whatever degree of success we may have in abolishing Chinese and depriving our Taiwanese compatriots of their literature, instilling the true spirit of our rule over them, and especially in destroying their culture in such things as the temples around which their religion centers and the ancestral tablets that are the objects of their veneration, the most important thing is to influence their hearts.(43)

Not all parts of Taiwan went through the same experience as Chungli gun;



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it depended upon how much importance the local authorities gave this task. vis a vis the other tasks of government. Chungli gun chief Miyazaki Naokatsu 宮崎直勝 seems to have pursued the implementation of this policy more vigorously than any other local official, with the result that in this area, 29 temples, four zhaijiao halls, 78 devotional societies [shenming hui 神明會], and eight ancestral worship societies were either razed or disbanded, and their property was confiscated and put into the hands of a holding company charged to administer the funds for educational purposes. This property totalled 197 jia (or about 82 acres) of paddy land and 78 jia 甲 (about 32.5 acres) of dry fields, worth a total of 500,000 yen and producing annual rental income of about 42,000 yen.(44)

     How much of an impact did this policy have across the island? When one looks at the numbers, it appears that it was not that great. Government surveys taken in 1936 and 1942 provide the following statistics:(45)

I. Temples (Buddhist, Daoist, and folk):

1936: 3403
1942: 2327

II. Zhaijiao meeting halls:

1936: 246
1942: 224



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III. Devotional Societies:

1936: 5345
1942: 4017

Further statistics show that during this time period, 361 temples and rime zhaijiao halls were destroyed, while 819 temples and 27 halls were transferred to other uses. In addition, the government gathered up a total of 13,726 religious images from temples and 153 from zhaijiao halls and sent them back to Heaven, while 4069 and 202 respectively were shipped off to museums and other new homes. Finally, scholars working in Taiwan have frequently lamented the fact that the authorities destroyed many temple and meeting-hall records and historical documents during this time, making a reconstruction of pro-Japanese religious history extremely difficult.

     The Japanization Movement was not only pursued by the government; the Japanese Buddhist establishment itself found ways to contribute to the process of Japanizing the Buddhists of Taiwan. A policy statement issued by the Kogi Shingonshū 古義真言宗 in the early 1940s includes, among its eight policy goals the following four items: 1. embodiment of the spirit of nation-building; 2. the Japanization Movement; 3. the eradication of individualism and libertarianism; and 4. the completion of the essence of Imperial Buddhism [kōdō Bukkyō 皇道佛教].(46) The statement then goes on to list eighteen specific actions,



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the first of which stipulates that the Shingon School would carry out its own "temple renovations" with the advice and consent of the local authorities. Number two states that the School would work to regulate and improve traditional life-cycle rituals, altering Chinese rituals into a Japanese form. Number three says that henceforth, only Japanese priests from the main Japanese islands would be permitted to carry out rituals, and these were to be compatible with the imperial house. Number four proposes sending native Taiwanese clergy to Japan for indoctrination, number ten pledges to use only Japanese as a medium of instruction in all Shingon functions, and the rest bear on issues of accountability, propaganda work, and management.(47)

     The statement goes on to report on the progress in implementing these measures. In 1940, the secretary of the Kogi Shingon-shū came from Kōyasan 高野山 to Taiwan to make two inspection tours and make sure things were proceeding smoothly. Furthermore, the School did pay for thirteen native Taiwanese clergy to travel to Kōyasan, where they listened to lectures on Shingon lore (such as the life of Kūkai 空海, chanting, the Three Dharanis, and so forth), and then went on a tour of Japan, stopping at Nagoya, Nara, Ise, Tokyo, and Kyoto among other places. These measures must have had some effect; one of the clergy reported that he had learned the importance of always speaking in Japanese.(48)

     The colonial government's "temple renovation" project dearly was the most far-reaching and disastrous in its effect on religion in Taiwan. However, it is



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equally clear from the figures given above that the government fell far short of its stated goal of the complete abolition of all Chinese temples before it pulled back in the face of severe criticism in 1939 and decided to leave some token temples in operation.(49) In several localities the policy was not enforced at all. For example, in Taichung shū, the authorities could not decide how to implement the policy and so did nothing, while in Taipei, most of the temples had good government connections and were able to escape "renovation."(50) As stated above, Buddhist temples were generally not affected because they had long since proved their loyalty to the colonial government, while several zhaijiao halls did fall beneath the wrecking ball.

     Consequently, the ultimate importance of the Japanization Movement and its concomitant temple renovation policy does not lie in the concrete results, but in the atmosphere it created. As the policy was promulgated in the various political districts around Taiwan, temples and zhaijiao halls were uncertain of their fate and looked for ways to survive. Most accomplished this by submitting to the authority of Japanese Buddhist establishments if they had not done so already. Many that did not take this step on their own were forced into it in order to comply with the policy. The result was that by the time Japan returned Taiwan to China in 1945, the people of Taiwan viewed Buddhist and zhaijiao temples and organizations as simply appendages of the Japanese Buddhist establishment and the government to which it had given its full cooperation.



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When the Japanese government pulled out, they collapsed, victims of the very measures that they thought would save them.




     The events outlined above, beginning in 1912, had steadily eroded zhaijiao's foundations, and the temple renovation policies of 1938 left it badly wounded. This point becomes very dear when we remember the characteristics that defined zhaijiao and differentiated it from "orthodox" Buddhism during the Qing period: First, it defined itself as lay Buddhism, and existed in complete independence of the monastic community. Second, it was a derivative of the Luo religion of mainland China, and relied either on Luo Qing's "Five Books in Six Volumes" or other texts composed in-house as its basic scriptures, holding them equal or even superior in stature to traditional Buddhist sutras. Third, even though it leaned toward Buddhism when it needed to identify itself, it was still officially committed to combining Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism into a single system, and incidentally adopted many of the concepts and practices of folk religion as well. Fourth, it saw its commitment to vegetarianism as its defining quality; it was, after all, the "vegetarian teaching" [zhaijiao].

     All of these qualities and ideological commitments unravelled during the long years of the Japanese occupation. Beginning with the formation of the Patriotic Buddhist Association in 1912, and running through the organization of the South Seas Buddhist Association in 1922 and the temple renovation calamity



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of 1938-39, zhaijiao followers increasingly became subject to Japanese Buddhism, especially the Sōtō School. In so doing, they gained their survival, but they completely lost their independence from monastic oversight.(51)

     Two other results followed from their submission: first, they lost their scriptures and liturgies. The Japanese monastic establishment had no more use for Luo Qing's "Five Books in Six Volumes" or any other zhaijiao-composed scripture than had the orthodox Chinese monastic establishment during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Neither had they any use for liturgies directed toward non-Buddhist divinities such as the Unborn Venerable Mother [Wusheng Laomu 無生老母] or the mythology connected with her. Second, as stated above, the followers of zhaijiao came to be seen as collaborators with the Japanese by the general population of Taiwan just as much as the orthodox Buddhist establishment. While the refugee monks who streamed into Taiwan from the mainland after the war at least felt that the native orthodox Buddhist temples and organizations were salvageable, they had no such sympathy for zhaijiao. which consequently was left to its own fate.

     It even came about that, in some quarters, zhaijiao followers began eating meat, thus letting go of their most essential defining characteristic and the one practice that gained them respect in the eyes of their compatriots. The man responsible for this development was Su Zeyang 蘇澤養, and the vehicle was



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the "New Covenant Longhua Sect" [Xinyue Longhuajiao 新約龍華教] that he established.

     Su Zeyang (1873-1934) lived a quiet life as a western-style pharmacist until 1900, when he was held up at gunpoint while out on a business trip. This event depressed him greatly, and impressed upon him the uncertainly and transitoriness of life. He sought for solutions to these conditions in religion, but does not seem to have found anything satisfactory for quite a while, for we hear that he joined one religious group after another in quick succession: zhaijiao in 1901, Sōtō Zen in 1903, another zhaijiao sect in 1904. He wrote books and displayed quite a talent for doctrine and administration. Consequently, in 1906 a zhaijiao group asked him to open a new meeting-hall in Mengjia 艋舺 (the present Wanhua 萬華 district of Taipei), but other zhaijiao groups protested, and so he changed his plan. On the basis of his credentials as a Sōtō devotee,(52) he opened the "Mengjia Baoan Buddhist Hall and Dharma Preaching Station" [Mengjia Baoan Fotang Shuojiaochang 艋舺保安佛堂說教場], in which he took on the responsibilities of chief missionary and executive manager. The year was 1907.

     Six years later, in 1913, Su formally established the 'Taiwan New Covenant Longhua Buddhist Shengguo Mountain Baoan Hall" [Taiwan Xinyue Longhua Fojiao Shengguoshan Baoan Tang 台灣新約龍華佛教聖國山保安堂]. His



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"New Covenant Longhua Sect" also called itself Laoguan Zhaijiao, thus making an implicit claim to descent from the earliest zhaijiao groups on the mainland. This claim gained added respectability in 1929 when the head of the Yishi Sect of Longhua zhaijiao, Zhou Pujing, came for a visit from Fujian and conferred the title of taikong upon Su's wife, Chen Ying 陳英, and gave her the dharma name of Pulie 普烈. Su and his wife spent the remaining five years of his life administering their small sect, which at its height had only seven halls in northern Taiwan. After his death, his New Covenant Longhua Sect went into a decline, although at least one hall in the Tienmou 天母 area of Taipei has remained active.

     Despite the putative connection with the Yishi branch of the Longhua Sect of zhaijiao. Su's New Covenant group was vastly different in several respects. For one thing, he did away with Luo Qing's "Five Books in Six Volumes" and substituted scriptures of his own composition. He simplified the nine-level hierarchy of Longhua down to only six. But most importantly, he did away with the vow to observe a vegetarian diet at ail times, feeling that this was too great a strain for even the most committed devotee to maintain. Instead, he decreed that all members should pick around four days each month to observe vegetarianism. It will be remembered from chapter one that most sects of zhaijiao, with the exception of Xiantian, gave adherents the option of choosing the huazhai 花齋 initiation, which only involved observing vegetarianism at selected times, or changzhai 長齋, "permanent vegetarianism." Su did away with this second option.



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and therein lies his innovation. In so doing, he succeeded in instituting a paradoxical branch of the "vegetarian teaching" that did not observe vegetarianism, at least not in daily life.(53)

     One small sect of seven meeting halls does not indicate a complete decline in zhaijiao. but its existence, along with some other factors, shows how weak and diluted zhaijiao had become by the late 1920s-mid 1930s. These other factors include the fact that by 1945, several halls had been demolished and almost all their religious images were gone; the remaining halls were being administered by Japanese (or Japanized) monks; they had lost the use of their own scriptures and liturgies in their daily religious life; they had lost control of their properties and funds; and some had even given up on vegetarianism. The little bit of authentic zhaijiao that remained bore the taint of collaborationism after Retrocession.

     This is not to say that these groups died out completely. Zheng Zhiming reports that, as of 1990, there were still 50 "fellowship centers" [lianyi zhongxin 聯誼中心] connected with the Longhua Fellowship Association [Longhua Lianyi Hui 龍華聯誼會].(54) However, most of their halls have gone in one of two directions since Retrocession: either they have been taken over by more orthodox Buddhist monks or nuns and become Buddhist temples, or they have become Daoist and folk temples.(55) Other groups cast about for ways of revitalizing their



173 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Three. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes during the Late Japanese Period

corporate life to meet the challenges of life under the Chinese Nationalist government.

     We may look at the Xiantian Sect as an example of the difficulties zhaijiao faced in this new situation. When Huang Yujie passed away in 1918, his brother Huang Jian 黃監. succeeded him as head of Xiantian in Taiwan. Huang Jian was active, both in his capacity as provincial leader and as a founding member of the SSBA Board of Directors, and in 1935 he traveled to the mainland and received a confirmation of his commission from a Xiantian leader there as well as appointment as head of the entire Fujian-Zhejiang region. He survived into the new regime, and passed away in 1958. The next leader was Zeng Yuhui 曾玉暉, who, more than Huang, saw that the sect needed new ideas in order to adapt to the new political and social climate. He drafted a set of proposals for the sect's reorganization and reform that same year and sent them to all the halls in Taiwan. The response was generally favorable, so Zeng called a conference in Chang-hua which convened in March, 1960. At this meeting, participants clarified the sect's lineages and doctrines, ratified a new charter, and set up a new headquarters in Chang-hua.

     Zeng Yuhui passed away in 1961, and was succeeded by Xu Wentong 許文通 another active leader who worked hard for the propagation of the sect. He died in 1967, and Zheng Rongsheng 鄭榮生 took over. Zheng had some new visions for the Xiantian Sect, and arranged for its involvement in social welfare work, and also helped organize a Poetry Convention in Chang-hua, which attracted



174 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Three. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes during the Late Japanese Period

the participation of 740 poets from all over Taiwan. He also oversaw the construction of a new, four-story meeting hall called the Xinde Hall 心德堂, whose completion was marked by a forty-nine day religious observance [jiao 醮] attended by many government officials.(56)

     In addition to the Xiantian Sect, we also saw in chapter one that the Longhua Sect continues to thrive to some extent around Taiwan. From this evidence, it appears that zhaijiao remains a vital minority religious tradition m Taiwan, and that the expulsion of the Japanese government and the arrival of mainland refugee monks in 1949 returned it to its normal, competitive, adversarial relationship with more "orthodox" Buddhist institutions. As some scholars in Taiwan have noted, this return has put zhaijiao into the interstices between academic fields: it is not quite a topic for the researcher in Buddhist studies nor do anthropologists think of it as folk religion; thus, it remains largely unstudied to this day, providing a fertile research field for interested scholars. However, this dissertation is concerned primarily with Buddhist history, and so we will part company with at this point.




     Most Chinese scholars working in Taiwan do not believe that the Japanese occupation influenced religion on the island to any great extent. They were not in Taiwan long enough to have a lasting impact, and their policies never really



175 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Three. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes during the Late Japanese Period

touched the unwashed masses in a significant way. I believe that is true as far as the uneducated and working classes go; their lives were probably touched much more in terms of having to join the Japanese army, provide corvée labor, and adopt a new language and mode of dress than in terms of having to alter their religious beliefs and practices.

     It is even safe to say that the withdrawal of the Japanese was less traumatic for Buddhism in Taiwan than when the Japanese were forced out of their other colonies. For example, Robert Buswell reports that in Korea, the exit of Japanese Buddhism left Korean Buddhist monks deeply factionalized between those who had adapted to Japanese customs by taking wives and rejecting vegetarianism, and those who wished to return to the more stringent customs of earlier eras. This factionalization resulted in open hostility when the two groups competed for control of monastic property, and it was years before the issues of ownership and leadership were sorted out.(57) Taiwan was spared these effects for two reasons. First, the Japanese in Taiwan had permitted the influx of Buddhist ordination lineages from the Chinese mainland that actively worked to keep the traditional Chinese precepts. I have not uncovered any evidence that the Japanese pressured monks like Jueli or Benyuan to refrain from transmitting the full monastic precepts or coerced them to accept clerical marriage and other infractions. Second, unlike Korea, Taiwan was one part of a larger nation, and as soon as it returned to the motherland, monks of national eminence began coming in with the authority to



176 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Three. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes during the Late Japanese Period

suppress whatever they took to be the lingering ill effects of the Japanese administration.

     And yet I also believe that the Japanese viceregal administration had an enormous impact upon those whose occupations and aspirations brought them into dose contact with the government. These were the people like Shanhui and Benyuan, Yongding and Jueli, Xu Lin and Huang Yujie, people who actually ran things within Taiwan Buddhist circles and had the highest visibility. Apart from the fact that these men had ail passed from the scene by 1945, the institutions they created, the temples, schools, and associations that provided outlets for the energies of the Buddhist elite, vanished along with the Japanese colonial government.

     One may discern in the history of the activities and 'institutions of these leaders a curious double movement. On the one hand, in creating associations such as the South Seas Buddhist Association along with various schools and temples, they deliberately fostered ever-closer ties with the Japanese colonial administration and Buddhist establishment. This was natural and inevitable since, as I indicated before, they had no reason to believe Taiwan would ever be a part of China again. On the other hand. despite this resignation, there was a pull towards traditional Chinese Buddhist customs and practices. One sees this aspect in the stories of the four primary ordination centers that brought strictly Chinese ordination platforms to the island for the first time in its history, as well as in various efforts at Buddhist education aimed at the ethnic Chinese clergy. This



177 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Three. Buddhist Associations and Political Fortunes during the Late Japanese Period

double movement points to a pattern of cooperation with the Japanese without assimilation on the part of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan. Given the fact that Hokkien remains the mother tongue of an overwhelming majority of the islanders to this day in spite of one hundred years of domination by other linguistic groups, one may speculate that this sort of accommodation without assimilation would have remained the case for a very long time had Taiwan not been returned to the Chinese nation.

     Such was the pattern of religious life molded by the leaders of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period. It is possible that the people who succeeded these leaders could have built up new religious institutions within the framework of the Taiwan Branch of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China along the same lines of accommodation without assimilation if Retrocession had been the end of the story. However, as we shall soon see, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's retreat to Taiwan in 1949 brought with it a wave of mainland monks from the eastern seaboard, men who had been leaders of national stature and sought to do for Chinese Buddhism what the Nationalist government was trying to do for Chinese politics: make credible claims to positions of national leadership while in exile on Taiwan. The aftermath of this influx, among other things, will be addressed in the next chapter.




(1) This is a very weak translation of what would be a very rich term in Chinese. Zhai, it will be recalled, connotes the entire process of purification through discipline within the Confucian imperial cult. of which dietary restrictions form only one component, and xin refers to the entire heart-mind complex.[back to text]

(2) Quoted in 1971 Gazetteer. p. 58a.[back to text]

(3) Chen Lingrong 1992. p. 128-129.[back to text]

(4) Here is an example of Yu's speech: "The Three Teachings assist the dharma; sages and gods. immortals and buddhas all come down to ordinary mortals to propagate the Way, and their followers are myriads and thousands, their transformations are without end, etc. [sic]" Quoted in 1971 Gazetteer. p. 59b.[back to text]

(5) I say "attempted to" because neither the 1971 Gazetteer nor any of my other sources say anything about this organization after giving the time and circumstances of its founding. Thus, whether or not the organization actually materialized is a topic for further research.[back to text]

(6) Literally "amulet-spell-water." This is the practice of inscribing magical spells on a paper amulet, burning it, mixing the ashes in water, and giving it to the client to drink in order to cure illness.[back to text]

(7) The editors of the 1971 Gazetteer note that this clause refers specifically to the Xilai Hermitage conspirators.[back to text]

(8) Quoted in 1971 Gazetteer, p. 59a-b.[back to text]

(9) The complete charter is reproduced in 1971 Gazetteer, p. 58b-59a.[back to text]

(10) This account is based on 1971 Gazetteer, p. 60a-60b. However, a memoir written by Lin Delin. the treasurer of the Daxian Temple in Chiayi. presents a variant reading of the events. In his account, the event grew spontaneously as people discussed the desirability of having a religious event in connection with the fair. Eventually, he and some other representatives met with Ōishi Kendō, the head of the Sōtōshū mission in Taiwan with the idea, and gained his support. Ōishi helped get financing and set up a planning committee that included Shanhui, Benyuan, Huang Yujie. Lin Delin. and others. The lectures lasted thirty-five days (not forty), and Lin's account makes no mention of Lin Puyi. Chen Taikong, or Shibata Kiyoshi. See Lin Delin 1934. p. 23-25.[back to text]

(11) Again, there are discrepancies between the 1971 Gazetteer's account of these events and Lin Delin's. Lin mentions nothing of formal negotiations between Ōishi Kendō of the Sōtōshū and the representatives of zhaijiao. According to him. someone simply hung a banner behind the speakers platform which read, 'Taiwan Buddhist Youth Association Lecture Meeting" [Taiwan Fojiao Qingnian Hui Da Jiangyan Hui 台灣佛教青年會大講演會] for no other reason than that it sounded good and did not have sectarian overtones. The appearance of the banner prompted people in the audience to wonder what this organization was, and soon momentum gathered far the actual creation of an organization with this name. See Lin Delin 1934. p. 26-27.

     The reason I chose to emphasize the 1971 Gazetteers account and relegate Lin. Delin's memoirs to footnotes is that Lin, although an eyewitness to the events, wrote down his recollections some twenty years later without checking any documentation, and his account is full of lacunae, lapses, and humble petitions to the reader to forgive his faulty memory. However. I did feel it appropriate to include his presentation for the sake of completeness.[back to text]

(12) Lin is making a play on words here. The Chinese term for "religion" is "zongjiao" 宗教. His statement, "original intent of educating people" is "ben 'zong' zhi yi 'jiao' ren" 本宗旨以教人 in the original.[back to text]

(13) This refers first to the Russo-Japanese War of 190405. in which Japan gained large territorial concessions from Russia and acknowledgement of her sovereignty in Korea. The second reference has to do with Japan's nominal entrance into World War I as an ally of Britain. Although she never sent troops into the European theater of war. she did manage to take over Germany's territories in the Far East and the North Pacific. See Reischauer 1970, p. 148-151.[back to text]

(14) Reproduced in 1971 Gazetteer, p. 60b-61b.[back to text]

(15) Another factor that leads me to think that these organizations were largely symbolic is the fact that one sees the same names over and over again among their founders and leaders, I am not sure how much time Shanhui (to take one example) would have wanted to divide between the three organizations of which he was a board member or governing officer.[back to text]

(16) 1971 Gazetteer, p. 63a-64a.[back to text]

(17) The final report of this survey has recently been reprinted. See Marui Keijirō. ed. 1919. As far as I know, only volume one has been re-published.[back to text]

(18) Chen Lingrong 1992. p. 129.[back to text]

(19) Reproduced in 1971 Gazetteer, p. 64a.[back to text]

(20) Reproduced in 1971 Gazetteer, p. 65a-66a.[back to text]

(21) 1971 Gazetteer, p. 66b. A table showing all of the presidents and vice-presidents appears on this page. It seems that no one ever served more than a single term in either office, indicating that the term lasted as long as the incumbent's tenure as Bureau or Office chief.[back to text]

(22) Shi Chanhui 1981, p. 148.[back to text]

(23) 1971 Gazetteer, p. 67a.[back to text]

(24) 1971 Gazetteer, p. 67b. I have confirmed this by looking at the back. issues stored in the Taiwan Provincial Library in Taipei.[back to text]

(25) Chen Lingrong 1992. p. 130-131.[back to text]

(26) This bias can be quite blatant and manifest at times. See for example Chen Xiaochong 1991, p. 51.3: "What is worth noting is that many people, without looking at some aspects of the period of Japanese colonial rule such as the Japanization Movement, still hold beliefs that seem true but really aren't. For example, there are people who think that Japanese rule brought with it law and order, without seeing that behind this lurked a totalitarian government and an unchecked police force; or some people say that Taiwan's current economy was built upon a foundation laid by the Japanese, failing to see that the Japanese raised this Taiwanese "cow" intending to keep all the "milk" for herself; still others say that the Japanese instituted universal education on Taiwan, without understanding that this was colonial education in the Japanese language to enslave and so on."[back to text]

(27) Chen Xiaochong 1991. p. 499.[back to text]

(28) Miyamoto Nobuto 宮本延人, an anthropologist working at Imperial Taihaku University whom the viceregal government asked to undertake a study of Taiwan's temples after public pressure caused the suspension of the "temple renovation" movement recently published a memoir of those times. He recalls that the First kōminka undō group arose around 1935. Its name. The "Society for the Promotion of Japanization," appears unconnected with the government, but Miyamoto does not specie the nature of its relation with the ruling administration. See Miyamoto 1988. p. 15.[back to text]

(29) Chen Xiaochong 1991. p. 500.[back to text]

(30) Chen Xiaochong 1991. p. 500.[back to text]

(31) Chen Xiaochog 1991. p. 503. These are Japanese government statistics. I doubt that this particular facet of life in Taiwan during this time stemmed directly from the "Japanization Movement." This kind of deliberate incultation of patriotic fervor was part of life all over Japan during the war years.[back to text]

(32) Chen Xiaochong 1991. p. 502. Given the virulently anti-Japanese tone of this article, I would be cautious in accepting the author's contention that all those who did not comply were shipped off. Such a policy would likely be impracticable on an island-wide scale.[back to text]

(33) The caveat in note 32 applies here also: such a measure, even if passed, would have been extremely difficult to enforce island-wide.[back to text]

(34) Chen Xiaochong 1991, p. 504.[back to text]

(35) Chen Lingrong 1992, p. 237-245. Chen reproduces the diagrams as well as the ubiquitous governmental statistics on how many homes had complied with the measures. See also Miyamoto 1988, p.15.[back to text]

(36) "Renovation" may be a misleading translation, but I can think of no better. The term seiri 整理 has the sense of "to put in order, to re-arrange, to straighten up."[back to text]

(37) Chen Xiaochong 1991, p. 501.[back to text]

(38) Miyamoto 1988. p. 3.[back to text]

(39) 1971 Gazetteer, p. 66b.[back to text]

(40) Chen Lingrong 1992, p. 247.[back to text]

(41) i.e., the opening of the official Shintō jinja in this neighborhood.[back to text]

(42) Quoted in 1971 Gazetteer, p. 68b.[back to text]

(43) Taiwan Sōtōkufu Bunkyōkyoku 1943, no pagination.[back to text]

(44) Chen Lingrong 1992, p. 262. Chen also brings up other documents from Miyazaki's local administration which indicate that he, and perhaps the central government as well, were motivated as much by the prospect of collecting all the land and revenues of the temples and religious groups as by the need to regulate religious beliefs for ideological purposes. See Chen Lingrong 1992, p. 250. Chen Xiaochong also points out that the Japanese government needed enormous sums of money to pursue its war effort, and used several other means to extract both capital and corv4e labor from the people of Taiwan. See Chen Xiaochong 1991, p. 505-507.[back to text]

(45) Chen Lingrong 1992, p. 255. The statistical table on this page breaks the numbers down by shū and chō.[back to text]

(46) Kogi Shingon-shū [1940?], p. 2. The other four policy goals have to do with the propagation of specifically Shingon rituals and doctrines.[back to text]

(47) Kogi Shingon-shū [1940?], p. 3-4.[back to text]

(48) Kogi Shingon-shū [1940?], p. 5-10.[back to text]

(49) Chen Lingrong 1992. p. 264.[back to text]

(50) See Chen Lingrong 1992. p. 252-253 for a summary of local enforcement.[back to text]

(51) That is, if one counts the Japanese Buddhi5t priesthood as true Buddhist clergy, something many Chinese Buddhists are not willing to grant. However. I suspect that the submission to an official Buddhism establishment outside of zhaijiao circles still entailed a significant loss of self-determination for zhaijiao adherents.[back to text]

(52) It is not clear to me what his status with Sōtō was. Zheng Zhirning merely says that in 1903 he "received the precepts" from a Sōtō missionary. He does not say what this missionary's status was, nor does he say which precepts Su received. The fact that Su was married is no clue, since Japanese monks could and did marry.[back to text]

(53) The story of the New Covenant Longhua Sect may be found in Zheng Zhiming 1990, p. 77-78.[back to text]

(54) Zheng Zhiming 1990. p. 77.[back to text]

(55) Zheng Zhiming 1990, p. 85.[back to text]

(56) Lin Wanchuan 1984. p. I-234-236.[back to text]

(57) Buswell 1992. p. 30-36.[back to text]




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