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246 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks


Chapter Five

[Zhongguo Fojiao Hui 中國佛教會]




I. The Early Period 1949-1960
     A. The Flight to Taiwan
     B. The BAROC's Organization, Mission, and Activities Under the Zhangjia's Presidency
     C. The BAROC's Efforts to Reform the Monastic Ordination System
     D. The Vitality of the Nun's Order after 1952
     E. After the Zhangjia
II. The Middle Period Under Baisheng 1960-1986
     A. A Biography of Ven. Baisheng
     B. Internationalism under Baisheng
     C. Continuation of the Struggle to Regain Possession of Japanese-era Temples
     D. Criticisms of the BAROC
III. The Period of Pluralization and the BAROC's Diminished Role



     In the last chapter, we saw how Buddhism was organized in Taiwan in the period immediately following Retrocession, a time when Taiwan resumed its place as a province of China. Based on this, Buddhist organizations on Taiwan at that time operated at the provincial, not the national level. We also looked at the human side of the retreat to Taiwan, concentrating on the concrete problems of individual monastic refugees and on their perception of Buddhism in Taiwan as they found it. In this chapter, we will shift our focus to the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China as it accompanied the Nationalist government in their retreat to Taiwan, and we will see how it managed to establish its own "government in exile" on the island, how it re-organized and adapted itself to fit its new circumstances, and how it perceived its role during the period of its dominance.



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     A. The Flight to Taiwan. Like the Nationalist government itself, the BAROC landed on Taiwan in a shambles and had to act quickly to find lodging for its officers and its operations. However, it worked under some disadvantages not shared by the government First and foremost, its officers did not come to Taiwan in an organized manner as a group. Like other private citizens who wished to flee the mainland, they had to find their own passage, and not all chose Taiwan as their first refuge. Some, like Ven. Daoan and Ven. Yinshun, fled first to Hong Kong and came to Taiwan only later.(1) The Ven. Wuming 悟明法師, later to be the president of the BAROC, came to Taiwan in May, 1949 dressed in a soldier's uniform, and went to live in a funeral home that was being used as temporary housing for refugee monks.(2) A few came to Taiwan before the Nationalist retreat, such as the Ven. Baisheng, who had accepted an invitation to assume the abbotship of the Shipu Temple 十普寺 in Taipei, and so was able to make a relatively smooth transition to Taiwan.(3) Similarly, the Ven. Nanting 南亭, another monk from Jiangsu and the BAROC's first secretary-general, after the move to Taiwan, arrived in the winter of 1948 at the invitation of some prominent laymen.(4) Some



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eminent clergy from the BAROC never came to Taiwan at all. Ven. Yuanying himself, a past president of the BAROC and the leader of its conservative faction on the mainland which opposed Ven. Taixu's reforms, remained on the mainland after 1949 and was even elected to lead the Chinese Buddhist Association [zhongguo fojiao xiehui 中國佛教協會] under the Communist government.(5) Ven. Dongchu 東初 estimated that in all, fewer than 100 monks came to Taiwan from the mainland, and of those, only a bare handful had any leadership capabilities or the status to participate in BAROC decisions.(6)

     However, enough of them finally gathered in Taipei to begin rebuilding the organization. Of the three-man standing committee who had met on the mainland beginning in 1945 to reorganize the BAROC after its long hiatus, two came to Taiwan early. One of these, the national legislator and lay disciple of Ven. Taixu, Li Zikuan 李子寬, pooled his resources with another lay leader, Sunzhang Qingyang 孫張清揚 to purchase the Shandao Temple 善導寺 in Taipei, and this gave the BAROC a place to meet.(7) The other, the Zhangjia Living Buddha 章嘉活佛 was the current president of the BAROC.(8) He arrived at the end of 1949 just ahead of the Nationalist government. They asked Ven. Baisheng



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白聖¸ who was already in Taiwan, to serve on the Standing Committee of the Board of Directors in order to have a quorum, and the group began planning for a National Congress in order to rebuild BAROC's legislative and executive infrastructure.(9) They met in a provisional office provided for them by Baisheng in the Shipu Temple.(10)

     The problems the BAROC faced in deeding whom to seat in its Congress paralleled those of the secular government. As an organization that was ostensibly nationwide in scope and function, it needed delegates from all the provinces and major cities in China in order to make sure that all of the branches [fenhui 分會] and local chapters [zhihui 支會] were represented. However, the reality was that Jiangsu province was overrepresented, many other provinces had only a few members who reached Taiwan, and others had none at all. In order to put together its assembly, the Standing Committee decided that each province would have exactly two representatives, a solution that left some of the refugee monks dissatisfied. For example, Ven. Dongchu, the monk deputed earlier to tour Taiwan and prepare for the BAROC's move, blasted this decision, saying:

In selecting representatives for the Second National Congress,(11) [BAROC] proceeded by naming two delegates from each province as if they were dividing spoils, which was blatantly unfair. For instance, there were over 100 delegates from Jiangsu Province,(12) but there were only two representatives. There were only a few delegates



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from Anhui Province but only two representatives. There were two delegates from Fujian Province, and they got two representatives...Some provinces had many delegates in Taiwan, and some had only a few, and there were even some provinces that lacked even a single delegate. The contradictions arising from this provisional apportionment of two delegates per province have been endless: someone from province A pretending to represent province B, and someone from province B pretending to represent province C.(13)

Another problem arising from the exigencies of the times was the elevation of large numbers of lay Buddhists to positions of leadership within the BAROC. Ven. Nanting 南亭法師, in his assessment of the BAROC's first six years on Taiwan, lamented the fact that laity filled about one-half of the official positions within the organization, while the BAROC charter specifically limited them to one-third of all official posts.(14)

     With a slate of representatives and officers in place, the BAROC prepared to hold its first National Congress since its move to Taiwan. This meeting took place on August 30, 1952 in the Shandao Temple in Taipei, the temple purchased by Li Zikuan. At that meeting, the BAROC elected a full slate of officers, directors, and supervisors. The Zhangjia Living Buddha won a second term as president, and mainland clergy and laity dominated all other committees and boards. As Wen Jinke 溫金柯 points out, of the eight committees established in advance by



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the working group meeting at the Shipu Temple, only one person among all chairs and vice-chairs was not from the mainland.(15) The Zhangjia was to remain in the office of BAROC president for the remainder of his life.

     The Zhangjia Living Buddha (or Zhangjia Hutuktu) was a native of Inner Mongolia, and part of a line of Living Buddhas who served as liaisons between the Qing dynasty government and the Dalai Lama. As Holmes Welch points out, "Zhangjia" is a title, not a name, and can refer to any of the Living Buddhas of this line.(16) According to his entry in the Foguang Dacidian 佛光大辭典 (p. 4837-4840) and the brief biographical sketch given by the Ven. Dongchu, the figure under discussion here is the 19th and last of this line of Living Buddhas. He was born in 1891 (or 1889 according to Ven. Dongchu), and his name is variously given as Ye-ses rdo-rje and Sans-rgyas-skyabs. He trained in several temples during his youth and was honored by the Qing government at the age of eight. After the founding of the Republic in 1912, the Nationalist government continued to honor him, recognizing him as one of the "Four Great Lamas of the Republic."(17) While on the mainland, he had temples under his authority not only in Inner Mongolia and Qinghai province, but also in Beijing, Liaoning, Wutai Mountain, and other places, with lamas numbering between three and four thousand in the larger temples and three to four hundred in the smaller.



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     Besides having extensive religious authority and prestige, he also worked for the Nationalist government as a member of the Tibetan-Mongolian Affairs Commission. During the Republican period on the mainland, the Nationalist government placed some importance on its relationships with the Tibetan and Mongolian peoples, and so found his advice quite useful. This gave him a direct link to the secular government, and because he argued before the government in favor of fair treatment for Buddhists of every sect, he became a figure of major importance within the Buddhist world as well. He became active in organizing China's Buddhists as early as 1917, when he helped revive the Chinese Buddhist Association [Zhonghua Fojiao Hui 中華佛教會, Beijing, 1917], although that organization collapsed two years later. When Ven. Taixu died unexpectedly in March 1947, the Zhangjia Living Buddha won election to the post of president.(18)

     Welch contends that the Zhangjia Living Buddha won election as president of the BAROC in 1947 because of his influence within the Tibetan community and the importance this gave him in government eyes.(19) As we shall see later in this chapter, such government interference does in fact occur from time to time, and may well be decisive. However, this contention fails to explain why the Zhangjia Living Buddha was elected to a second term as president after the BAROC moved its operations to Taiwan. Might there have been internal factors at work in the BAROC?

Jiang Canteng suggests another reason related to the reformer-versus-



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traditionalist struggle that came across the Taiwan Straits with the mainland monks. Although the two main adversaries were no longer on the scene, Ven. Taixu 太虛 having died and Ven. Yuanying 圓瑛 having remained on the mainland, they- each had disciples among the clergy and laity vying for control of the BAROC even as it tried to find its footing in Taiwan. Among Ven. Taixu's disciples one could count the Ven. Daxing 大醒 the monk who, as we saw earlier, had opposed efforts to get Ven. Cihang 慈航 released from jail, and Li Zikuan, who had purchased the Shandao Temple and upon whose influence within the government the clergy still relied. Both these men were intimately connected with Ven. Taixu. On the other side, Ven. Baisheng had met Ven. Yuanying on the mainland in 1935 and had accompanied him on his travels for two years, receiving the dharma-transmission from him in 1937. Ven. Daoyuan 道源, another monk who would be very active in the BAROC on Taiwan, is the monk who invited Baisheng to meet Yuanying.(20) These monks, therefore, were very much identified with the traditionalist faction that opposed Ven. Taixu's efforts at reform.

     As Prof. Jiang interprets the situation, the Zhangjia Living Buddha was an outsider to this struggle, and his re-election as president of the BAROC was a compromise between two deadlocked factions.(21) I will add my own speculation that this internecine struggle explains why, when the Zhangjia died in 1957, the



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BAROC switched to government by its Standing Committee and did not elect any president at all until 1960. However, although the two factions were deadlocked in seeking to gain control of the BAROC, in terms of the governance of the Shandao Temple itself the scales tipped in. favor of the reformers. Ven. Baisheng tried to gain the abbotship of the temple, but Li Zikuan was determined to have a reformer in charge, and succeeded in giving Ven. Daxing the call.(22) Baisheng subsequently settled into the Shipu Temple that he had bought. Thus, for Prof. Jiang, these two temples not only represent the bastions of the two most economically powerful Buddhists in Taiwan, la Zikuan and Ven. Baisheng, they also represented the strongholds of the reformist and traditionalist factions respectively.(23)

     B. The BAROC's Organization. Mission, and Activities Under the Zhangjia's Presidency.

     1. Organization. Since the BAROC reconvened in Nanjing in 1947, its organizational structure has remained essentially the same, although some administrative committees have been renamed and the number and function of its special committees change as the need arises. The base of the organization is the membership, which is divided into corporate and individual memberships. Corporate members-temples, lecture halls [jiangtang], clubs, and any other



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Buddhist organization-have no vote within the BAROC National Congress. Individual members are divided into clerical and lay houses.

     The highest authority within the BAROC is the National Congress [Quanguo Huiyuan Daibiao Dahui 全國會員代表大會], which convenes every year. This is composed of elected delegates from all of the branches and local chapters under the BAROC's jurisdiction. The representatives elect a Board of Directors, whose duty is to implement all resolutions passed by the National Congress and report on such implementation at the following year's Congress. The Board of Directors elects a Standing Committee from amongst its own members, which in turn elects the president, who must be a monk. The Board of Supervisors is about one-third the size of the Board of Directors and serves to audit the BAROC's books and provide independent confirmation of the Directors' prosecution of their duties. The Board of Supervisors also elects a Standing Committee from amongst its members to meet regularly. Occasionally, the Directors and Supervisors will hold a joint meeting in order to discuss matters of pressing importance which need consensus.

     In order to attend to the day-to-day functioning of the BAROC office, the president nominates a secretary-general who supervises the office staff and the administrative committees. The Board of Directors then approves the nomination and confirms the nominee. During the 1950s there were five departments under the secretary-general's supervision: General Affairs [zongwu 總務], Meetings [yishi 議事], Financial Affairs [caiwu 財務], Religious Affairs [fawu 法務], and



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Membership [huiji 會籍], as well as the staff of accountants and secretaries. Later, the office was re-organized so that there were only three departments: General Affairs [zongwu 總務], Membership [huiji 會籍], and Activities [huiwu 會務].(24)

     In addition to the administrative infrastructure, there are also special committees that work under the supervision of the president and the secretary-general. During the 1950s, there were eight of these: Planning, Dharma-Propagation, Education, Rules, Finance, Social Welfare Work, Temple Property, and, by far the largest, a Committee for Re-building Buddhist Organizations in Every Province and City on the Mainland, which had 163 members and was chaired by Ven. Baisheng himself.

     Directly subordinate to the BAROC central administration are the branch associations [fenhui 分會], which properly indicates provincial- or metropolitan-level organizations, and local chapters [zhihui 支會] which as Welch says, could include any city or county that had a significant population of Buddhists.(25) The Ven. Daoan 道安, in his 1957 report on the BAROC's first eight years in Taiwan, says that at the Second National Congress, there were representatives from 45 branch associations covering all of China from Liaoning to Guangdong and from Jiangsu to Xinjiang. At that time, all of Taiwan province fell within the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Provincial Branch Association, which had oversight over twenty-two



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local chapters.(26)

     However, as the years passed and the Nationalist government remained unable to retake the mainland, the BAROC legislative structure suffered the same problem as did the National Assembly. That is, delegates who on paper represented provinces on the mainland aged and passed away with no one to replace them, until it finally became impossible to maintain even the pretense of jurisdiction over any area outside of Taiwan Province. At that point, the BAROC, like the government, had to deal with the problem of overlapping jurisdictions. In other words, it had a national organization whose jurisdiction extended over only one province. The national government solved the problem by elevating Taipei City to the status of "special municipality" in 1967, and Kaohsiung to the same status in 1979, placing both outside of the purview of the Taiwan Provincial Government and subordinating both directly to the Central Government.(27) In the same way, by 1990, the local chapters of both Taipei and Kaohsiung had been elevated to the status of branch associations, removing them from the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Provincial Branch Association and putting them directly under the supervision of the BAROC central administration. Thus, by 1990 the BAROC had only three branches under it, and of these, only the Taiwan Provincial Branch had any local chapters reporting to it. There are currently twenty-one of these local chapters.(28)

     2. Relations with the Government. As was the case on the mainland prior to 1949, the BAROC maintains dose relationships with both the central government



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and the ruling party. Article 5 of the BAROC charter as amended in 1936 put the Association directly under the control of the Ministry of the Interior, and it was this ministry, along with the Ministry of Social Affairs that gave Ven. Taixu the mandate to reorganize the BAROC in 1945.(29) In the contemporary ROC, the government does not include a separate Ministry of Social Affairs, and so the BAROC deals most directly with two offices within the Ministry of the Interior. As one BAROC secretary explained to me, the Bureau of Social Affairs [Shehui Si 社會司] oversees the BAROC as an organization, and it is the bureau most concerned with re-organization, and with meetings and conferences. The Bureau of Civil Affairs [Minzheng Si 民政司] is responsible for religious affairs within society, and so the BAROC looks to it for guidance when holding large dharma-meetings and other religious functions. There are occasions, of course, when the BAROC has to deal with other branches of the government: with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to invite foreign visitors to attend BAROC functions, with the local government to register property, and so on.(30)

     This relationship with the government has been reciprocal. On the one hand, the government solicits the BAROC's advice on any proposed changes to ROC laws dealing with religious matters, as they did in 1983 when the Ministry



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of the Interior was considering new regulations on religious freedom,(31) or changes to the laws governing religious organizations in 1990.(32) The BAROC can also look to the government for remedy in matters impinging on their activities or image, as when the BAROC prevailed upon the Government Information Office to ban a movie it felt presented a poor image of clergy.(33) On the other hand, the government relies on the BAROC to help maintain contact with temples and Buddhist organizations and disseminate information on government policies and suggestions for their implementation.(34) In addition, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and the Bureau of Social Affairs, and often the Interior Minister himself, usually attend all BAROC National Congresses to observe, give speeches on government policy, and to give advice.

     3. Mission and Activities. The BAROC charter lists the organization's mission under the following eleven items: 1. To propagate and engage in research into the dharma; 2. To maintain and administer the organization's bylaws; 3. To protect and supervise religious property; 4. To register temples, along with their property, resident population, and religious artifacts; 5. To supervise the preservation of temples and to arrange for the restoration of religious artifacts and sites of historical significance; 6. To engage in Buddhist cultural and educational work; 7. To work for social welfare and education;(35) 8. To encourage



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clergy to engage in productive work; 9. To correct inappropriate customs and practices among believers; 10. To encourage social movements of all kinds; and 11. To engage in other activities for the revival of Buddhism.(36)

     Frequently in BAROC literature, this statement of purpose is compressed into the slogan, "protect the religion and defend the nation." [hujiao weiguo 護教衛國] During the early years under the Zhangjia's presidency, the BAROC found itself much more vitally concerned with the former than with the latter. In 1954, the Ven. Nanting, then the BAROC secretary-general, published an assessment of the BAROC's first six years in Taiwan in the December issue of Ven. Dongchu's Rensheng 人生 ("Human Life") magazine, in which he noted the following accomplishments:

     First, in 1951, the BAROC received word that soldiers were being billeted in several temples in Kuan-hsi village (near Hsinchu), Tainan, and Taichung. It interceded with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense, and received assurance that this practice would be prohibited in the future, and if this were impractical, then at least the military would obtain the permission of the temple's governing agency first. As of 1954, Nanting reports that there were still some temples being forced to house soldiers, but not as many as before.

     Second, also in 1951, the BAROC convinced the Ministry of the Interior that temple lands were non-productive and should not be subject to land taxes. As an afterthought, Nanting adds, "Since the founding of the Republic, this is the



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only special treatment Buddhism ever received."

     Third, the land-to-the-tiller provisions of the Land Reform laws exempted educational and charitable institutions from having to sell any land upon whose income they relied to the government for redistribution. Because this law did not specifically exempt religious institutions, many Buddhist clergy and laity were fearful that the government would force them to sell their land for resale to its tenant farmers. The BAROC petitioned the Taiwan Provincial Government to amend the law to specifically exempt religious institutions as well. This, Nanting says, relieved the fear that temple lands would be requisitioned, as well as the fear that temples would have to begin cultivating their own land in order to keep it. While Nanting's report does not state clearly that the Provincial government accepted the BAROC's request, we shall see shortly that it may have had its intended effect.

     The fourth and last item that Ven. Nanting mentions in reporting BAROC's activities in protecting the faith during this early period concerns laws passed by the Taiwan Provincial Government in 1952 in an effort to abolish baibai 拜拜, a form of native folk religious worship in Taiwan. One clause of the law stated that "the erection of new temples or the molding of new Buddha-images is strictly forbidden." The BAROC protested on the grounds of the ROC constitution's guarantee of freedom of religious belief. The provincial government tried again two years later to pass a similar law, and the BAROC again protested. Again, Ven. Nanting does not indicate whether or not the appeal was successful.



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     Nanting's third point raises the issue of land reform, and so a brief digression is necessary here in order to clarify the issues involved. The land-to-the-tiller program was the third and final part of the Nationalist government's land reform program (the first two were the imposition of rent ceilings and the sale of public farmland, mostly former Japanese properties, to local farmers). Passed on January 26, 1953, this measure stipulated that any land over a certain area which a landlord owned but did not personally cultivate must be sold to the government in exchange for government bonds and shares of government enterprises. The land would then be re-sold to farmers for their own cultivation.

     Holmes Welch commented many years ago, "it [i.e., the "land-to-the-tiller" policy] made no distinction between a lay landlord whose rents brought luxury to a few, and a monastic landlord whose rents made it possible for hundreds of people to practice religious austerities."(37) In this he was wrong. When the law was enacted by the KMT government on Taiwan, it made specific provision that temples would only be required to give up half as much land as private landlords. This meant that, despite confiscation by the Japanese Sōtokufu, and despite the Nationalists declaring large amounts of temple-owned land "ownerless" and taking them over, there were still some temples that could derive significant income from agricultural land rentals. Chen Ruitang, in his legal study of temples in Taiwan, lists a few of these: the Chaofeng Temple in Gangshan; the Quanhua Hall on Lion's Head Mountain near Hsinchu; the Yuanguang Temple in Chungli;



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the Fayun Chan Temple in Miaoli; and so on. However, he emphasizes that these temples comprised a small minority of all temples in Taiwan (his study embraces Buddhist Daoist, and folk temples), and even these did not have much land.(38)

     In addition, there is one bit of anecdotal evidence available, found in David K. Jordan's article on postwar changes in popular religious practice in Taiwan. During his stay at the Kaiyuan Temple in Tainan, he found that the various land reform measures adopted by the government had made it increasingly difficult for this temple to hold onto its land. Because of land consolidation and prohibitions on alienating arable land from agricultural use, the only way the temple could retain its land was by erecting more buildings and augmenting its "footprint." To this end it built "a hospital, an old people's home, a kindergarten, and a building designated an orphanage but intended for immediate use as a pilgrims' hostel."(39)

     Despite Jordan's claim that land reform and related laws "reduced drastically" the landholdings of Buddhist temples, there remains a need for perspective on this issue. In chapter one we saw that, while Buddhist temples in Taiwan did indeed own land, the tracts recorded in the gazetteers are not large by any standard, and certainly do not approach the extent of holdings cited by Holmes Welch with regard to temples on the mainland before 1949. He reports



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personally knowing of over twenty that owned over 1,000 mu 畝 (about 151.5 acres) of farmland.(40) Also, as Chen observed, much temple land had already been confiscated by the Japanese between 1895 and 1945, which forced temples at that time to begin seeking alternate sources of income, and even more was lost to Nationalist rapacity. Taken together, this evidence suggests that farmland rental never constituted a major source of income for any Buddhist temple in Taiwan. Having said this, however, we should recognize that the potential loss of any property, however large or small, was a genuine concern for temples at this time.

     Returning now to Nanting's report, with regard to the other half of the BAROC slogan, "protect the nation," Nanting reports a few other activities during this early period. First, in the spring of 1950 the BAROC sponsored the first of what would become an annual event, the Benevolent Kings Dharma Meeting for the Protection of the Nation and the Averting of Disaster [Huguo Renwang Xizai Fahui 護國仁王息災法會]. This is a large, three-day dharma-meeting [fahui 法會], the purpose of which is to gather both clergy an laity of all sects to pray together for the welfare and safety of the nation, and to generate merit by reciting the Sutra of the Benevolent Kings. As an ecumenical event meant to unite all of Chinese Buddhism, it employs several altars. During the first meeting in 1950, the Zhangjia Living Buddha, as a representative of the Tibetan Yellow-Hat Sect, tended the Esoteric Altar [mitan 密壇], while Nanting himself tended the Exoteric



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[xiantan 顯壇].(41)

     In subsequent years this event has been carried out annually and expanded. It takes place in a temple large enough to handle the thousands of devotees who come to offer incense and money. The devotees always include highly-placed government and Nationalist Party functionaries such as the Interior Minister, the Party Secretary, the Mayor of Taipei, and others. Besides fulfilling the religious functions of praying for the well-being of the nation and generating merit, this meeting also accomplishes two other goals as well. First, it affirms the BAROC's place as the preeminent organization representing all Buddhists at the national level. Second, it is a major fundraising event for the BAROC, with money going not only to operating expenses, but also disaster relief, social welfare programs, and government procurements.(42)



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     In. other patriotic activities, the BAROC circulated a letter for all members to sign in the autumn of 1951, pledging their support of efforts to fight back against the Communists and to resist Soviet influence. They also introduced a motion at the 1952 meeting of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Japan condemning totalitarianism and reporting on Communist abuses against Buddhism. BAROC also became a corporate member of the Asian Anti-Communist League [Yazhou Renmin Fangong Tongmeng 亞洲人民反共同盟]. In all these activities, they affirmed their status as the representatives of the Buddhists of "Free China."(43)

     C. The BAROC's efforts to Reform the Monastic Ordination System. As we noted in the last chapter, when the Ven. Dongchu toured Taiwan and made his report to the BAROC, he perceived Buddhism on the island as being divided into three broad groups: the Japanese system, the Chinese system, and the folk traditions of zhaijiao. The first attracted the intellectual elite, but it was too liberal, and by 1950 had largely disappeared from Taiwan with the repatriation of Japanese citizens. The second was more conservative, and centered around the transmission of the monastic precepts through the Yongquan Temple in Fujian Province. The third was, he said, a "peasant cult." Of all three branches, only the



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second, the Gushan Yongquan Temple lineages, led an acceptably austere life and had received the precepts correctly.(44)

     Another BAROC monk, Ven. Mojia 摩迦,(45) expressed the mainland clergy's view of the Japanese monks in Taiwan this way:

Because Japanese Buddhism does not stress precepts, the monks marry and eat meat, and take part in society, culture, and education, and engage in all kinds of productive enterprises. They wear kasayas inside their temples, but when they go out, they put on Western suits, and in actuality [Japanese Buddhism] has devolved from clerical to lay Buddhism.(46)

Ven. Mojia goes on to explain that the conservative faction of Japanese-era Taiwan Buddhism, personified by the Gushan Yongquan Temple lineages, had enjoyed the most support among the Buddhist laity during the fifty years of Japanese rule.

     However, despite the BAROC's apparent approbation of the "conservative" faction, the Gushan lineage was to become inactive after 1949. Although the "four great temples" were still active themselves, the climate had changed so that they could no longer offer ordinations independently as they had done during the Japanese period. Ven. Mojia says that the Lingyun Chan Temple on Guanyin Mountain did make an effort to hold an ordination session in the spring of 1949, but "conditions were not ripe." The Shandao Temple itself tried in 1951, but its



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plans also fell through, and it seemed that there was no way for individual temples to hold ordinations. There were probably three reasons for this.

     First, the times were still very unsettled in Taiwan. It was difficult for clergy to travel freely around the island, as we have already seen, and the government was very suspicious of mass gatherings of any kind. In this kind of situation, it was probably better to have the BAROC manage the event in order to gain government approval and cooperation.

     Second, the clergy connected with BAROC saw it as their dear duty to reform the ordination system to conform to that which had existed before in their home provinces. It will be recalled that one of the things that disturbed Ven. Dongchu during his inspection tour was the lack of any "public monasteries" such as had been the primary centers of ordination on the mainland. The "four great temples" had, after all, been technically "hereditary temples," subject to all the abuses and cliquishness inherent in a system where disciples could receive the tonsure and the full precepts in the same institution.

     The third reason was the prestige which the mainland monks enjoyed on Taiwan. As we noted before, many of those who came to Taiwan were the cream of Chinese Buddhism, monks of nationwide stature and impressive credentials. Ven. Mojia adds an interesting note of support to this contention: He reports that during the 1954 ordination session at the Yuanguang Temple on Lion's Head Mountain near Hsinchu, every effort was made to call the "three ordaining elders and seven witnesses" [sanshi qizheng 三師七證] from the ranks of native



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Taiwanese clergy. However, "there was still insufficient manpower," and so in the end, all of them, "even the preceptor" yielded their duties to mainlanders.(47) Among all the native clergy in Taiwan in 1954, the BAROC monks could not find even one who met their standard.

     For all these reasons, the first post-1949 ordination session was held under the BAROC's supervision in the winter of 1953 at the Daxian Temple in Chiayi. This ordination session was transitional, showing characteristics of both pro- and post-Retrocession ordinations. First, the preceptor [dejie heshang 得戒和尚] was the Ven. Kaican 開參, a disciple of Ven. Yongding of the Chaofeng Temple lineage and the abbot of the Daxian Temple 大仙寺. Second, the ordination period was very short, lasting only two weeks. Both of these features were characteristic of ordinations under the Japanese. On the other hand, the BAROC gave its official permission for the temple to hold the ordination session, and provided the other two ordaining elders.(48) This was a sign of things to come.

     Although largely satisfied with the outcome of this ordination, especially since there had been a long hiatus since the last ordination held in Taiwan, the BAROC still saw more need for reforms. First, the Daxian Temple attracted a large number of donations from people who came to observe the session, and



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made a significant profit over and above their expenses.(49) It is perhaps for this reason that the 1992 Gazetteer reports that "temples in every place began helter-skelter arranging to transmit the precepts."(50) The BAROC felt ordinations should be conducted in a more orderly manner. Second, it did not solve the problem of Taiwan's lack of public monasteries. No matter where the ordination was held, it would be in a hereditary temple, and the resident clergy of that temple would be training and ordaining their own tonsure disciples along with novices from other temples.

     Consequently, the BAROC ruled that henceforth, there would be one ordination per year, and that temples desiring to hold ordinations would be required to register with the BAROC and be put on a rotation. Furthermore, the BAROC itself would provide all of the necessary personnel: the preceptor, the karmācarya, the catechist, the seven witnesses, and all of the lecturers and deans. The host temple would still enjoy the prestige and increased income from hosting the event, but its role would be limited to providing the facilities and various support services. In this way, the host temple would, in effect, become a public monastery for the duration of the ordination session. This has remained the procedure for BAROC-sponsored ordinations in Taiwan ever since that time

     This was a significant development in terms of the BAROC's authority over Buddhism in the Republic of China. It must be dearly understood that the BAROC has no real supervisory authority over Buddhists in Taiwan, as they



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themselves are well aware. An editorial appeared in the BAROC newsletter in 1990 to answer reader queries as to why the organization did not intercede in a libel suit filed by a temple against a lay Buddhist. In this editorial, the writer reminds readers that the BAROC lacks any binding authority to arbitrate internecine disputes; it is a service organization, nothing more.(51)

     However, having the responsibility of running and staffing the annual ordination session gave the BAROC control over entry into the clerical ranks. In November, 1993, I went to the Guangde Temple 光德寺 in Kaohsiung County at the end of the monks' ordination session, and at that time I had the opportunity to interview the Ven. Jingxin 淨心法師, who at the time was both preceptor and abbot of the temple.(52) He indicated that about 100 of the people who had come for ordination had been eliminated during the course of the session for failing to meet standards. This demonstrates the power that the BAROC held over entrance into the clergy during the period when it had a legal monopoly over ordinations.(53)

     It also illuminates the reasons why the ordination lineages emanating from



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the Yongquan Temple in Fujian Province, which had predominated during the Japanese period, became inactive. As we have seen, monks from the mainland dominated the BAROC infrastructure. Thus, even when, as in 1956, 1962, 1965, and 1973, the annual ordination took place at one of the "four great temples" of the Japanese period, the ordaining elders came from the outside. The dominance of the mainland monks and the institution of the new ordination system effectively put an end to the transmission of the Yongquan Temple lineages.

     D. The Vitality of the Nun's Order After 1952. When the BAROC reformed the ordination system in the manner outlined above, its efforts produced one consequence that they could not have foreseen, and which is worth a brief digression. Since the first ordinations in 1952, nuns have increasingly come to predominate numerically over monks, a situation that only exists in Taiwan, Hong Kong,(54) and possibly Korea.(55) Japan has very few nuns,(56) and, of course, there are technically no nuns at all in the Theravāda countries. What are the reasons for this situation, and what is its significance?

     First, let us look at the actual numbers. Prof. Yao Lixiang 姚麗香, in her



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article on the pluralization of Taiwan Buddhism, provides a statistical table of all ordination sessions conducted on the island between 1953 and 1986. With only one exception (1961), the BAROC has consistently ordained more women than men, and frequently the ratio is 3:1 or higher. In all, a total of 2,030 men were ordained during this period, as compared to 6,006 women.(57) This trend has shown no signs of alteration since 1986; the ordination session I observed in 1993 had 126 male ordinands and 485 female ordinands.

     To the best of my knowledge, no researcher has yet undertaken an investigation of this phenomenon, and so there are no reliable studies to explain this discrepancy. However, lack of rigorous study has never impeded theorizing, and so I have heard and read many explanations, some of them mutually contradictory. Here I will simply present a sampling of some of the more credible ones.

     The first is the least precise and scientific, but I include it because it is the most universally-voiced opinion on the subject in Taiwan: that women are simply more religiously inclined than men. Without delving into the issue of whether this proposition applies across cultures and historical periods, I can say from my own fieldwork that it appears to be true at least for modern Taiwan Buddhists. Most dharma-meetings [fahui 法會], buddha-recitation sessions, and other religious functions that I observed were attended by many more women than men; interestingly, the discrepancy was generally consistent with the ratio of



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nuns to monks. The only exceptions were public lectures on Buddhist scriptures and group Chan meditation sessions -- at these events the participants' gender distribution was about equal.(58)

     Another theory seeks to explain the predominance of nuns in modern Chinese society in contrast to the past, when monks were more numerous.(59) According to this explanation, the relevant factors are the changing legal and social environments. The Qing government required women to be at least forty years old before they could consider ordination, although in some localities (such as Fujian province), this law often went unheeded.(60) In addition to the age requirement, the imperial government in 747 CE began the practice of requiring prospective ordinands to obtain an ordination certificate from the government. Generally, this required the candidate to memorize a certain number of scripture passages, which prejudiced the system against women, who lacked access to education.(61) Although one might also purchase a certificate and avoid the examination, the conditions that made ordination valuable appear to apply more to men than to women, and so I would speculate that far fewer women purchased their certificates.(62) Even though the government stopped issuing ordination



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certificates by the end of the Qing dynasty, the combination of legal restrictions with lack of an ordaining temple in Taiwan meant that, at the end of the Qing period, there were no nuns in Taiwan.(63) Currently, there are no legal restrictions on ordination, nor does the government issue certificates or examine candidates for ordination. Thus, the legal environment is much more conducive for women who want to become nuns.

     As to the social environment, it is widely observed that population pressures have severely reduced the average family size in contemporary Taiwan. Couples usually restrict themselves to one or two children, and so it is common for families to have only one son. This means that the obligations to produce heirs to carry on the cult of the family ancestors and to develop a successful career in order to provide for parents in their old age, which in the past might have been carried by several sons, now frequently devolve upon only one or two. This increased pressure serves to discourage men from seeking ordination. Another factor is Taiwan's current economic prosperity, which makes it easier for families to provide for their sons, and thus has decreased the number of sons given up to Buddhist temples for rearing.(64)

     These factors also affect daughters, though to a lesser degree. However, the relaxing of traditional Chinese family values, especially in urban areas, has made it easier for daughters to seek ordination despite parental objections (or to forego marriage in order to pursue a career). The overall increase in educational



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levels for all members of society has also given women more career options to choose from, and the resulting sense of freedom leads many more women to consider ordination than might have previously.(65) However, the opposite explanation appears to hold true for women from rural areas; many of these women still appear to choose ordination as an escape from marriage and children, and as an opportunity to pursue an education and a meaningful career.(66) Whereas the former seek ordination from a feeling of empowerment, the latter choose it from a position of disempowerment.

     Another question which elicits contradictory responses concerns the social position of nuns in Taiwan society. All the informants with whom I spoke in the areas of Taipei and Sanhsia considered nuns at least as respectable as monks, or even more so. Although most of my fieldwork concentrated on a temple renowned for the strictness of its discipline and the high educational levels of its resident clergy, which meant that my informants had a particularly illustrious group of nuns in mind when this topic came up, I still feel there is a certain plausibility to this assertion. This temple had approximately six times as many nuns as monks, and many more women than men seeking ordination, and so it rejected many more women than men. I was told that a woman who seeks ordination there would be scrutinized very closely and made to undergo a trial period of two or three years before she received the tonsure. Since men were much scarcer, a man



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would be more readily accepted and could be tonsured after a matter of months.(67) Thus, it seems credible that the nuns, having passed a much more intense period of vocational testing; would be of higher average quality. However, Shiu-kuen Tsung found in her research area that female clergy were viewed with some suspicion by society. She reports that while outsiders did not necessarily regard their vocation as unworthy of respect, they still tended to view them as social misfits.(68)

     Within the sangha, nuns have also come to play a more active role in monastic affairs since Retrocession. Jiang Canteng points out that some of the early mainland monks, such as Cihang and Daoan, saw the talent and potential of Taiwan's nuns and deliberately drew them out of their kitchens and buddha-recitation halls. They encouraged them to pursue further education, and to take leadership roles in religious affairs and temple management The result of this early encouragement has been increased prominence for the female clergy in the areas of social activism, education, temple management, and lay organizing.(69) Today, one of the most powerful figures in the Buddhist world is the nun Zhengyan 證嚴 founder of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Association 佛教慈濟功德會, whose career will be examined in the next chapter.



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     While the quality and numbers of nuns have been increasing over the years, the monks have exhibited the opposite tendencies. Prof. Yao Lixiang's statistical chart shows that, while the number of female ordinands has risen steadily since 1953, when there were 132 women, to 1986, when there were 417, the numbers of male ordinands has remained remarkably constant. In 1953 there were only 39 new monks, and only in 1983 did the number of new ordinands exceed 100. As mentioned above, in 1993 there were only 126. During this time, the population of Taiwan has climbed from 7.5 million to over 20 million, and so the numbers of male clergy as a percentage of the overall population has fallen dramatically.

     At the same time, some observers have raised concern about the monk's commitment to their vocation and their overall quality. In 1967, Ven. Shengyan observed that monks studying abroad in Japan were likely to leave the monastic order; the same was not true of nuns.(70) Almost twenty years later, Ven. Jingxin, the president of the Taiwan Branch Association of the BAROC, presented a report to the BAROC Board of Directors on the 1985 and 1986 ordination sessions. In his dosing remarks, he commented that there seemed to be very few young men seeking ordination, and that those who did were very fickle. Many reverted to lay life, others retreated to the mountains to perform austerities, while others simply wandered aimlessly and never settled down to work in a temple.(71) It is dear that Taiwan's Buddhists need to find ways to address these trends, or face



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an ever more serious decline in the order of monks.

     The above discussion, while offering no scientifically respectable explanations for the remarkable increase in the population of nuns, should at least suffice to give the reader a sense of how the people of Taiwan understand the phenomenon. With that, we return to the main narrative concerning the BAROC.

     E. After the Zhangjia. The BAROC held its Third National Congress on August 28, 1955 in Taipei, at which lime the Zhangjia Living Buddha won reflection for a third term as president. However, he was soon diagnosed with cancer and passed away in the National Taiwan University Hospital on March 4, 1957.(72) His death left a vacuum at the BAROC, whose charter contains no provisions for succession in the event of unexpired terms. At the next National Congress, which took place the following June, the BAROC decided to do away with the office of president, and adopted the system of government by the Board of Directors' Standing Committee instead.(73)

     Because the records do not indicate precisely why the National Congress decided to abolish the office of president, it is difficult to impute a motive for this



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action. Given what has been said above, it seems reasonable to speculate that factionalism continued to influence the Congress' deliberations, and that no other compromise figure like the Zhangjia Living Buddha was available for the office. In this scenario, doing away with the office altogether may have been a new and more creative compromise. However, this is only speculation, and there were other factors at work as well. Prof. Yang Huinan 楊惠南 quoting extracts from Ven. Daoan's diaries, notes that the Third National Congress of 1955 suffered from unspecified interference from the Nationalist Party, and that as a result, the conservative faction roundly defeated the progressives in the elections for most BAROC official posts.(74) Although this helps round out our picture of the climate in which the BAROC conducted its business at this time, it is difficult to see how this may or may not have contributed to the Zhangjia's re-election or the decision to abolish the presidency after his death.

     During the National Congress of 1957, the delegates also approved the establishment of an International Relations Committee, a move that signified the BAROC's desire to establish contacts with other Buddhist nations and groups around the world, and to serve as an international liaison representing Chinese Buddhism to the non-Buddhist world. We will return to this point in the next section when we take up the question of how these efforts differed from Taixu's efforts to establish international Buddhist contacts in the 1920s and 1930s.

     The BAROC continued to be governed by Standing Committee for the



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next three years. The Fourth National Congress convened on August 28, 1960, at which time the Congress voted to reinstate the office of the presidency, and elected the Ven. Baisheng to the post. From this time until his death on April 3rd, 1989, Baisheng remained a controlling presence in BAROC affairs despite the fact that he did not hold the presidency continuously during this period. In times to come the BAROC would decide to return to governance by Standing Committee, and at others someone else might hold the office of president. However, it was Ven. Baisheng who provided the vision and, by some accounts, the energy necessary to keep the BAROC a vital organization.




     A. A Biography of Ven. Baisheng.(75) Born on August 13th, 1904, the Ven. Baisheng was a native of Yingcheng County in Hubei Province, and his lay name was Hu Bikang 胡必康. By his own account he was an extremely active and rebellious boy despite frequent illnesses, and regularly ran off to play rather than go to the private Confucian school in which his father had enrolled him. His father's response was to put him in a small Christian school that offered games; this way, he felt, the boy might actually stay in school. This situation did not last, however, and the elder Hu returned young Bikang to the Confucian school



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once again.

     Of his conversion to Buddhism, Baisheng recalls that it happened around the age of ten. One day, he fell while playing and permanently crippled his right hand; later, his mother told him that she had once had a vision of a paralyzed right hand. From that point, he says, he believed in the doctrine of cause and effect. As with so many other great monks, he also had the experience of loss and grief during his childhood. His mother suffered from poor health, and his elder sister took most of the responsibility of looking after him. This sister died when he was fifteen years old, and his mother passed away the following year. At the same time, he heard a dharma-talk given by the Ven. Zhimiao 智妙法師 of Nine-Flower Mountain [Jiuhua Shan 九華山], which gave him the idea of seeking ordination.

     His family disapproved strongly, however, and gave him heavy responsibilities to carry out at home. He took advantage of a flood in 1921 to flee his home and go to Hankou, the site of Nine-Flower Mountain, to seek ordination from Ven. Zhimiao along with a friend. After ordination, Ven. Zhimiao sent him to the Gaomin Temple 高旻寺 in Yangzhou for further study. He wanted to reside there, but received word that his brothers had come looking for him, which prompted him to take refuge in another temple. His brothers found him anyway, and convinced him to return home by telling him their father was on his deathbed and wished to see him one last time. When he arrived home, he found that this was a lie, but it was too late; he was trapped once again in family life.



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     He soon found another opportunity to run away, and he returned to Nine-Flower Mountain to be with his tonsure master. Later, when Ven. Zhimiao was asked to take over as abbot of the Baoguo Temple 報國寺 in Suzhou, Baisheng accompanied him. He stayed there until 1926, when he left on a pilgrimage to Mount Wutai.

     His first involvement in transmitting the monastic precepts came about in 1929. At that time, he had been invited to join the resident clergy of the Baotong Temple 寶通寺 in Wuchang. The abbot solicited ideas for activities to promote the dharma, and Baisheng suggested that they hold a series of sutra-lectures followed by a monastic ordination. He himself served as an ordination instructor.(76) However, during the session he came to feel that the ordination he had received at age eighteen on Nine-Flower Mountain did not conform to Buddhist standards, and so he decided to take ordination a second time.

     During this period, he also made progress in Chan meditation, having already participated in several Meditation Weeks [chan qi 禪七], practiced "nourishing the breath" [yangxi 養息] for an hour every day, and reduced his need for sleep. Shortly after his re-ordination, he entered a period of sealed confinement, during which he developed dysentery. His abbot advised him to come out, but Baisheng refused. He said that all beings are fated to die anyway, and if he died while in confinement, he wanted his body placed in an urn and



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left in the retreat chamber until the time of confinement had elapsed, at which point the temple should cremate him. In his memoirs, however, he indicates that he was joking when he said this; he hoped that they would have cremated him immediately had he actually died.

     In the event, he did not die, and came out of sealed confinement at the age of 31. He records that this was another turning point in his life: before this, he had devoted himself to cultivation and study; afterwards, he gave himself over to more outwardly-directed work such as temple administration, social work, teaching, and evangelism. He accepted many invitations to lecture on the sutras and vinaya, and during this time he met the Ven. Yuanying and spent the next two years travelling with him. It was during his travels with Yuanying that he first became active in the BAROC, becoming one of its "managers" [ganshi 幹事].(77) In addition, he often took the lecture dais on Yuanying's behalf and helped him perform ordinations. Finally, in the summer of 1937, Yuanying transmitted two dharma-lineages to Baisheng: those of Qita 七塔 and Gushan 鼓山.(78)



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     In 1937, the War of Resistance erupted, and Baisheng, then living in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, helped with the war effort as best he could: he found food for refugees, interceded on behalf of clergy who had been detained, worked in an ambulance corps, collected and buried the war dead, and performed other relief work. At the same time, he became active in broadcasting, establishing his own Buddhist radio station that featured dharma-talks, lectures on sutras, sutra-recitations, and even broadcasts of Release of the Burning Mouths ceremonies. However, the station did not last long. The Japanese authorities monitored its programs closely, and when Baisheng was asked to broadcast some anti-Chinese propaganda, he refused, closed the station, and burned the equipment. The year was 1940.

     At the same time, he heard that the temple on Nine-Flower Mountain was having an especially hard time, and that the nuns had been reduced to eating grass. The strip of land where the temple was located had unfortunately become a kind of no-man's land between Nationalist- and Japanese-controlled territory, and the area suffered heavily under the depredations of local bandits. Baisheng, after receiving the reports, decided that what the temple needed most was money to purchase food, and so he set out with one companion carrying a quantity of gold and silver through the bandit-infested area. As a safety precaution the two monks went disguised as eccentric monk-beggars, and reached Nine-Flower Mountain in safety. After returning to Shanghai, he managed to send a supply of medicine back to the mountain.



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     During the same period, he took on a heavy administrative load. After closing the radio station, he left Shanghai and went to Hangzhou, where he was the abbot of two temples and the director of two Buddhist societies in addition to all of the relief work. By 1944, the strain began to wear on him, and he decided to drop most of his administrative duties and return to doctrinal study full-time. For the following year he again accompanied Ven. Yuanying on a lecture tour, and produced some short books.

     However, victory over the Japanese in 1945 brought more administrative arid relief work. The government asked him to go to Shanghai to help straighten out the Shanghai Buddhist Association, and he took over the organization as its Acting President.(79) He also began restoring temples razed during the war, and led a protest against the Shanghai Department of Civil Affair's plans to requisition temple property for government use. He also accepted an invitation to take over the abbacy of the Jing'an Temple 靜安寺 after its abbot and prior were arrested and banished for collaborating with the Japanese. Here he met and worked with several monks who would later become active in the BAROC on Taiwan, including Shengyan 聖嚴 and Liaozhong 了中.(80) He worked for a time to establish a number of social and charitable projects at this temple, including a Buddhist seminary, an elementary school, and a proposed Buddhist university.



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     As noted earlier, the president of the Taipei City Chapter of the BAROC, the layman Zeng Puxin 曾普信,(81) introduced Baisheng at the Shipu Temple in Taipei in 1948. Later in the year, Baisheng saw that the situation on the mainland was deteriorating rapidly and he decided to move to Taiwan permanently. Because he had arrived ahead of the wave of refugees that came when the government retreated to Taiwan, he was in a position to offer hospitality to over ten eminent monk-refugees, including Nanting 南亭, Zhiguang 智光, Daoyuan 道源, Jiede 戒德, Moru 默如, and Miaoran 妙然. These monks, he says, "brought a new atmosphere to Taiwan Buddhism."

     Baisheng says that, compared to his previous life on the mainland during wartime, his life in Taiwan was relatively easy, and he only outlines a few highlights of his activities between 1948 and 1960. He relates one amusing misunderstanding that gave rise to a general controversy. The Ven. Dongchu asked his views on reforming Buddhism in Taiwan, and Baisheng obliged with a short essay for the former's Rensheng magazine. In it, he made two main points. The first was that the ordination system needed reforming in order to make it conform to Chinese Buddhist standards. This reflects his lifelong concern with the correct transmission of the precepts, and is unexceptional. The second suggestion, however, was that those monks who have been overly-Japanized and wish to marry and raise a family should go ahead and do so. He neglected to state that they should first



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disrobe. Thus, when he reprinted the article again at a later lime, many people thought he was advocating clerical marriage, and a brief controversy ensued. This led him to wonder why people understood him when the article first came out, but mistook his meaning the second time?

     In 1954, when Ven. Cihang passed away, Baisheng was named executor of his will, and it was Baisheng who supervised the whole process of sealing the body in an urn, then opening it and arranging for it to be gilded.

     As we have seen, Baisheng was involved with the BAROC on Taiwan from the time he arrived in 1948, interceding for Ven. Cihang and all the monks in jail, arranging temporary office space in the Shipu Temple and serving on its Standing Committee. When the Fourth National Congress finally opened on August 28, 1960, the delegates voted to resume the office of the presidency, and the Standing Committee asked Ven. Baisheng to fill the post.(82) He obliged, and served out a three-year term. However, in 1963, he decided that, at the age of sixty (by Chinese reckoning), he needed to lay all his burdens down and devote himself once again to study and practice. Consequently, the Fifth National Congress, held on December 22, 1963, elected Ven. Daoyuan to the post. As we have seen, Daoyuan is the monk who first invited Baisheng to come and meet Ven. Yuanying, and the two monks had been dose associates ever since. Thus, even though Baisheng was no longer in the post of president, the conservative faction was still in control.



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     However, Baisheng came out of retirement to resume the presidency at the Sixth National Congress, held on March 15, 1967 at the Shandao Temple, and he won reelection at the Seventh National Congress on December 5, 1971. At the Eighth National Congress on October 5, 1974, the BAROC again decided to abolish the presidency and rely on a nine-person Standing Committee for leadership. This did not, however, signal another period of retirement for Baisheng, since he is named as one of the members of the Committee.(83) During the Ninth Congress, held in the BAROC headquarters on October 17, 1978, the BAROC again decided to resume the presidency, and Baisheng was asked to fill the post again. From this point on, he held the post continuously until 1986.

     At that time, he called a joint meeting of the Directors and Supervisors to announce his intention to retire due to poor health. After some discussion, the Boards agreed to accept his resignation, and proposed that the BAROC charter be amended to permit the creation of an office of Honorary President [mingyu lishizhang 名譽理事長] for him.(84) Another monk was installed as Acting President of the BAROC. The first meeting of the Eleventh National Congress, held in April 1986, gave official consent to his retirement and ratified the creation of the new post for him in order to honor him as their "spiritual leader" for life. The same Congress elected the Ven. Wuming 悟明, a very spiritual and much-loved



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senior monk, as the next president.(85) In April of the next year he retired as abbot of the Linji Chan Temple 臨濟禪寺 in Taipei,(86) and in May 1988 he handed the abbacy of the Shipu Temple over to his disciple (and later BAROC president after Wuming) Ven. Jingxin 淨心.(87) He received one final honor from the Nationalist Party when, in July 1988, he was named to the Party's Central Advisory Committee.(88) However, his health continued to decline, and he passed away on April 3, 1989 in Taipei at the age of 85.

     At this point, we will shift our focus away from Baisheng himself and look in more detail at the activities of the BAROC during and after his long tenure.

     B. Internationalism under Baisheng. Baisheng was a monk whose international vision sprang from various motives. On the mundane level, he was a man of conservative, pro-Nationalist political sentiments who saw the need for the Republic of China to use whatever means available to maintain its presence



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in the face of increasing diplomatic isolation and the failure of the government to carry out its ideal of retaking the mainland.(89) On the other hand, he was genuinely distressed by the divisions that he saw in world Buddhism, and he worked to establish international contacts among Buddhists and reconcile its divisions. Activities carried out both by him personally and by the BAROC collectively in this area include ordinations of foreign monks, involvement in international Buddhist organizations, and open advocacy of the Republic of China abroad.

     1. Ordinations of Foreign Monks. Baisheng was very interested in missionary work in the West, and in neighboring East Asian and Southeast Asian regions. To this end, he occasionally transmitted lay precepts to Western believers, the monastic precepts to foreign ordinands, or the dharma of the Linji Chan lineage to foreign monks. For example, in 1961 he conferred the complete monastic precepts upon an American novice, and then went with him on a tour of the island. (Unfortunately, the tour was cut short when both of them were injured in a traffic accident.) Later, he conferred the Three Refuges to an American Naval



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officer, and the bodhisattva precepts to an. American layman who was attending a Buddhist conference. This, he says, marked the starting-point for the transmission of the Chinese Buddhist precepts to the West.(90) At the same time, he also accepted the request of a Korean monk to transmit his dharma-lineage, and so the Korean became a disciple in the 43rd generation of the Linji line. Baisheng also records that he traveled to Korea twice (as of 1980 when he wrote these memoirs), and on one of these trips he participated in a full monastic ordination ceremony with over 1000 people receiving both lay and monastic precepts.(91)

     2. Involvement in International Organizations. In addition to the kinds of individual contacts occasioned by the ordination of foreign clergy, Baisheng also involved the BAROC in several international Buddhist organizations: the World Fellowship of Buddhists, the World Buddhist Sangha Council, and the World Chinese Buddhist Sangha Council. In the course of examining the history of the BAROC's involvement with these groups, we will also have a chance to see how the BA-ROC advocated the cause of diplomatic representation for the Republic of China at their international meetings and congresses.

     (a) World Fellowship of Buddhists. The BAROC's involvement in the World Fellowship of Buddhists [Chinese: Shijie Fojiaotu Youyi Hui 世界佛教友誼會] actually pre-dates Baisheng's election as BAROC president. This organization dates back to its first meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1950. Chinese Buddhism was represented at this first meeting by the Ven.



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Fafang 法舫, a monk who had been teaching a5 an exchange professor there since 1940.(92) The next General Conference took place in Tokyo in 1952, and this time the delegates included the Zhangjia Living Buddha and Ven. Yinshun, who had just arrived in Taiwan from Hong Kong. Problems began with the Third General Conference, which took place in Rangoon, Burma in 1954. At this time, the BAROC delegation was not allowed to attend because of poor relations between the governments of Burma and the ROC. However, this was a matter external to the Fellowship, and so there was no impetus to re-examine the BAROC's status within the organization.

     The BAROC did not attend the 1956 Fourth General Conference in Nepal, either, but this time the BAROC itself boycotted the meeting because the Nepalese government invited a delegation from the Peoples Republic of China to participate. The BAROC at that time decided the two delegations could not attend together, and so they kept their representatives home. This evidently suited the PRC delegation, who agreed that there could only be one delegation from China. Later, in 1957, the head of the Chinese Buddhist Association, Zhao Puchu 趙樸初, went to the inter-conference Executive Committee meeting in Colombo and offered 5000 Sri Lankan rupees to the Fellowship on the condition that the BAROC be expelled from its seat. The move succeeded, and the BAROC did not even receive advance notification of the Fifth General Conference (Bangkok, 1958) or the Sixth General Conference (Phnom Penh, 1961). The BAROC protested, but



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received no response.

     At this point the central government decided to involve itself in the issue, and protested through diplomatic channels. These efforts bore fruit in 1964, when the BAROC's membership was reinstated and they accepted an invitation to send delegates to the Seventh General Conference (India, 1964). From this meeting on, the BAROC has kept its membership, although governmental relations have sometimes interfered. For instance, the Tenth General Conference (1972) again took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At that time, the government decided not to grant entry visas to the BAROC delegation, forcing them to stay home. It may not be coincidental that the previous year, the Republic of China lost its seat in the United Nations to the People's Republic of China.(93)

     The ROC's loss of it UN seat continued to affect BAROC efforts at participation in the World Fellowship of Buddhists. The next crisis came in 1980, when the Fellowship was preparing to hold its 13th General Conference in Bangkok. This time, the government of the People's Republic of China took advantage of its membership in the United Nations and the fact that the Fellowship was a member of UNESCO to convince the United Nations to write a letter to the Fellowship's headquarters requesting that the BAROC yield its seat to the mainland Chinese Buddhist Association. The letter went to the WFB Executive Committee for deliberation, and in the end, they decided to let the BAROC retain its membership as before.(94)



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     Issue number 30 of the BAROC Newsletter contains a detailed account of the backstage maneuvering that went on between the BAROC and the CBA delegations at the 14th General Conference in Sri Lanka, and I propose to present a summary of this struggle here, not only to clarify the issues between the two organizations and their wider political context, but also to give the reader a sense of the drama of these events.

     During this Conference, which lasted from August 1st through the 10th, 1984, the BAROC sent a delegation of two representatives and three observers, all of whom were functionaries either in the BAROC itself or in the World Buddhist Sangha Council, whose headquarters is in Taipei. The delegation arrived on August first, and went to the Conference's cafeteria for breakfast at 7:00 in the morning. There, they were amazed to encounter the five-member CBA delegation already seated for their morning meal.(95) Upon confirming that this was indeed a mainland Chinese delegation, the BAROC delegates held an emergency meeting with the members of the Chinese Buddhist Lay Association.(96) to decide how to respond to this situation. After some discussion, they decided to split up and gather as much information as they could on the reasons for the CBA delegation's attendance, and on the activities of other left-leaning overseas Chinese in Sri Lanka.



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     They found that Sri Lanka and the PRC at that tune were enjoying - especially dose relations, and that Sri Lanka was receiving a great deal of foreign aid from the Communist government in Bering. In fact, even the S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike Memorial Auditorium in Colombo, the site of the General Conference, had been built with funds and expertise provided by the Beijing government. Consequently, the government of Sri Lanka itself invited the CBA to send a delegation without consulting first with the WFB leadership. The delegates supposedly were there only to present papers at some scholarly symposia that were part of the Conference, but the BAROC delegates feared that they might have the larger goal of attending the Conference in mind.

     Next they decided to find their most influential ally within the leadership of the WFB, and they fixed on Zheng Tianzhu 鄭天柱, a contact secretary for the World Buddhist Sangha Council and a member of the WFB Executive Committee who had helped them during the crises of the previous General Conference (Bangkok, 1980). They hurriedly wrote a proposal that the 15th General Conference be held in the ROC, had it translated into English, and then waited. Their idea was to deliver this proposal through Zheng to the Executive Committee before it began considering new memberships. While they waited, the BAROC delegation met with sympathizers from Sri Lanka in order to consolidate their support, but had to wait until 11:00 at night to get word back from Mr. Zheng, who had been detained by a dinner at the Embassy of Thailand.

     Zheng reported that the CBA had established its membership at the meeting



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in Cambodia in 1961. This membership had never been revoked, it had merely lapsed temporarily because the CBA had (alien behind in its dues. If they paid their back dues, there would be no reason for the WFB to bar them from attending this Conference. He went on to assure them that there was no serious move afoot within the WFB to expel the BAROC, despite any rumors they might have heard. As for their application to host the 15th General Conference, it was fourth in line for consideration behind Nepal, Bengal, and Korea. Finally, he suggested another stratagem that might help consolidate their position within the WFB. A woman from the Singapore delegation was the only female vice-chair for the Conference, but she had unfortunately just passed away. The BAROC and Chinese Buddhist Laymen's Association delegations should therefore come up with a female member to stand for election to this post in order to gain them higher visibility. All of the ROC delegates agreed to this suggestion, and decided upon a woman from the Chinese Buddhist Laymen's Association. The meeting then broke up and all the delegates went to bed.

     The next morning, during the meeting of the WFB Board of Directors, the BAROC delegates found out that the CBA had indeed paid all of its back dues, and received the Fellowship's welcome to resume full membership. The rest of the day proceeded uneventfully with the opening ceremonies and speeches.

     On the way to the first plenary session on the morning of August third. the delegates were pleased to hear that the Executive Committee had agreed to enter their nomination of Miss Tianliu Shilun 田劉世綸 of the Chinese Buddhist



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Laymen's Association for the office of vice-chair. They were also pleased that the CBA application for readmittance had been accepted too late to have their credentials read along with all the other delegations' that morning. The actual election for the conference vice-chairs was to take place later that day, and since there were twelve vice-chairmanships and twelve candidates, it was expected that all twelve should be elected by acclamation. However, after the chair had read the names of the twelve candidates (including Miss Tianliu's), a representative in the Nepalese delegation stood and nominated Zhao Puchu, the CBA president, from the floor. Immediately the Korean delegation raised two more floor nominations, and so an actual election by secret ballot became necessary. Thus, both the BAROC and the CBA delegations worked feverishly before 2:00, when the election was scheduled, to garner support for their candidates. When the results were announced at 3:30, Miss Tianliu had won, and Zhao Puchu had not received a single vote. Another crisis had been resolved, and they breathed a sigh of relief.

     Now that their position was secure, the BAROC and CBLA delegates decided to split up again in order to make sure that one of them was present at every event in which the CBA was scheduled to participate. Thus, they were surprised to find that the CBA delegation had virtually disappeared from all of the small-group meetings and seminars, and Zhao Puchu himself failed to appear at a seminar in which he was scheduled to present a paper on "Buddhism and Chinese Culture." They subsequently heard that the entire CBA delegation had gone to



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the embassy (presumably meaning the PRC embassy) to protest the results of the election of the vice-chairs.

     The PRC group was making trouble with the Conference leadership as well. During the conference, all delegates sat behind placards indicating not only their organization but their country as well, and the sign posted in front of the BAROC and CBLA's seats read, 'Taiwan, Free China" [ziyou Zhongguo Taiwan 自由中國台灣], a sign that the PRC delegation found objectionable. They went to the Conference chair to protest, but, according to the BAROC's report, "they were not taken seriously."

     The confrontation took place not only at the organizational and parliamentary level, but on a personal level as well. One morning at breakfast, three members of the Chinese Buddhist Association delegation came and sat with the BAROC and CBLA representatives. They tried to make conversation, and presented gifts of several rosaries through a Malaysian intermediary, but the ROC delegation would not acknowledge their presence. In their overtures, the delegates from the CBA side went so far as to say, "We have come to understand deeply the Gang of Four's guilt in repressing religion, and we are trying our best to rebuild Buddhism." Finally, after a brief discussion among themselves, the BAROC delegation decided to give some "'gifts" of their own. Through the Malaysian intermediary, they sent over some rosaries produced in Taiwan, and English-language book that "exposed the lie of 'religious freedom' in the PRC," and a Government Information Office publication touting the ROC's economic



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prosperity and high standard of living.

     This was not the last time that the BAROC and CBLA delegations found themselves vying with the PRC delegation over their respective positions within the World Fellowship of Buddhists. The 15th meeting took: place in Nepal in 1986, and similar disputes ensued: the CBA protested the Taiwan delegation's use of the name '"Republic of China" on their placard, and succeeded in convincing the Conference chair to have a new sign made that read, "Taiwan, China," which of course implied that the Republic of China on Taiwan was under the Jurisdiction of the mainland government. The Taiwan representatives immediately boycotted the meeting and moved out of the free accommodations provided for Conference delegations. Once again, there were frantic, behind-the-scenes negotiations and attempts to save face. The Conference leadership finally solved the problems by simply doing away with the national placards for all delegations.(97) Stories such as this have multiplied with each succeeding General Conference, particularly during the early 1990s as the diplomatic struggle between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits has intensified.

     As we look at the BAROC's involvement in other international bodies, we will not explore the struggles that have taken place in these arenas in the same detail, and so we will pause here to consider the implications of the BAROC's direct advocacy of the ROC on Taiwan. Both Wing-tsit Chan and Holmes Welch have given accounts of the efforts at internationalization under the Ven. Taixu in



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an earlier time as a part of his efforts to reform Chinese Buddhism. He was instrumental in setting up many international Buddhist groups, all of which were short-lived. Thus, such participation in and of itself is nothing new in Chinese Buddhism.(98)

     However, there are several differences between Taixu's internationalism and that which developed under the BAROC's auspices after 1949. First, whereas the conservative faction under Ven. Yuanying generally stayed out of Taixu's efforts, Taiwan Buddhism's international involvement after 1949 intensified under the patronage of former members of this conservative group. This is directly related to the second difference, which is that in post-1949 Taiwan, a new set of circumstances gave rise to the pursuit of internationalism. Taixu's organizational efforts and personal international tours gained government patronage because the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek was seeking international recognition, of China as a world power to be reckoned with rather than as a colonial territory to be exploited. After 1937 it was also seeking aid and sympathy in. its war against Japan. Taixu was able to play on this by promising that his efforts would draw the attention of the world to China's great cultural and religious heritage; they would also incidentally draw attention to-.him personally and enhance his prestige within Chinese Buddhism. The conservatives within the BAROC at that time simply wanted to forestall government encroachments on temple properties, and so saw no need to cooperate in his international ventures,



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and the BAROC itself had become inactive.

     After 1949, the BAROC's task on the international scene was different. During the time the Republic of China held its seat in the United Nations, the BAROC saw its task as calling attention to the Communist government's depredations against the Buddhist religion: the temples destroyed, the clergy beaten, killed, and laicized, the books burned. After the ROC lost its UN' seat in 1971, the task became more urgent as the central government relied more and more on representation in non-governmental organizations to press its cause on the world stage. In this setting, it is understandable that the BAROC and CBLA delegations to successive WFB General Conferences could not remain silent about even so small a matter as the name given to their nation on their placard.

     With that, we will look briefly at some of the other international organizations in which the BAROC holds some influence.

     (b) World Buddhist Sangha Council. The BAROC's involvement in this organization is much more a direct result of Baisheng's initiative than its participation in the World Fellowship of Buddhists. It is also one in which, by definition, it does not have the necessity of cooperating with the Chinese Buddhist Lay Association.

     The World Buddhist Sangha Council was not originally as directly connected with the Republic of China on Taiwan as it would become under Baisheng's leadership. It was founded in Sri Lanka in 1966, the date of its first meeting. Its second meeting was in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969, but after this meeting, the Sri



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Lankan monk who provided the impetus for the organization passed away, and the Council itself faded into dormancy.(99)

     It was Baisheng himself who impelled the Councils revival some twenty-two years later. In 1980, Baisheng and another BAROC associate, Ven. Wuyi 悟一, were in Bangkok, Thailand attending the World Fellowship of Buddhists' 13th General Conference. He began holding private discussions with clerical leaders from various parts of the Buddhist world to revive this international monastic body, he says, to fulfill three purposes: to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China, to counter Communist schemes for domination, and to turn the Republic of China into "a mainstream service center for the Buddhist world." He received enough encouragement at the WFB meeting to proceed with further negotiations to hold the WBSC's Third Congress in Taiwan, and so he went to Hong Kong directly after the Bangkok meeting to confer further with the leaders of the Hong Kong Buddhist Federation [Xianggang Fojiao Lianhehui 香港佛教聯合會], and he signed an agreement with them for aid in planning the meeting. Next, he and Wuyi went to consult with government officials in Taiwan, and received two directives: first, since the WBSC was originally a Sri Lanka-based organization, they should obtain the express permission of Buddhist leaders there to hold the Third Congress in Taiwan. Second, they had to keep the plans for the Congress secret in order to avoid trouble with the mainland, and to avert the possibility that the CBA might try to plan a meeting of their own to compete with



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the one in Taiwan.

     Accordingly, Baisheng, Wuyi, and other Chinese Buddhist leaders from Hong Kong and Malaysia traveled to Sri Lanka in April, 1981 to make formal plans for the meeting. The participants in this meeting accepted the proposal for a Congress in Taiwan, and elected Baisheng himself to serve as Acting President of the Council until a proper election could be held at the Congress. Upon returning to Taiwan, Baisheng deputed Ven. Wuyi to act as Secretary for the Third Congress, and placed him in charge of all the arrangements. Work proceeded quickly, and a final international planning committee meeting took place in Malaysia in October to arrange for VIPs, set the agenda, and settle on the theme: "Buddhism and World Peace."

     The Third Congress took place from December first through the sixth, 1981, and received representatives from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Burma, England, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, the Philippines, and many other countries. Taking advantage of an international conference in its home territory, the ROC government dispatched several officials to address the Congress in plenary session: the Interior Minister, the chief of the Control Yuan, and the Vice-President all welcomed the delegates and touted the Republic of China's atmosphere of religious freedom. Baisheng himself, a witness to the horrors of war, gave an impassioned speech asking Buddhist clergy to take the lead in political activism on behalf of world peace and nuclear disarmament.(100)



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     When it came time for the Third CongTe5s to hold elections, Baisheng easily won the post of president of the Council, and Wuyi won the post of Chinese Secretary (the Congress also elected an English Secretary from among the delegates from Sri Lanka). More surprising, perhaps, was the decision to move the headquarters of the World Buddhist Sangha Council from Sri Lanka to Taipei. Thus, we can see that the ideals proposed by Baisheng the previous year all came to pass: the BAROC by its hard work succeeded in locating themselves in the mainstream of global Buddhist affairs, to the extent of bringing the leadership and headquarters of a major Buddhist international organization to Taiwan itself, and in so doing they were able to thumb their noses at the Communist government, whom, they noted, had often tried to invite foreign and overseas Chinese clergy to activities on the mainland "without receiving the slightest response."(101) The leadership and headquarters have remained in Taiwan at the Linji Chan Temple in Taipei since that time.

     (c) World Chinese Buddhist Sangha Council. The founding of the World Chinese Buddhist Sangha Council was a cooperative venture between the BAROC under Baisheng's leadership and the ROC central government. The first meeting took place November 5th through the 11th, 1965 in Taipei, and was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The BAROC provided the organizational leadership, and the government provided funding for the first conference in the amount of NT$432,000 (at that time equivalent to



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over US$10,000). The First Conference elected a nine-member domestic chairmanship composed of Baisheng, Nanting, Daoan, Yinshun, Daoyuan, and other monks from the BAROC leadership, and a ten-member foreign chairmanship composed of delegates from the twelve participating countries. Baisheng himself won election as secretary-general.

     This organization appears to have been more casual at its inception than the other two examined above. The second conference did not take place until five years later, and then only because the Hong Kong Buddhist Federation had invited Chinese clergy from several countries to attend the opening ceremonies for its newly-completed hospital. The BAROC delegation to this event suggested that they could hold a second conference of the World Chinese Buddhist Sangha Council at the same time. The Hong Kong Buddhist Federation agreed, and the second conference was scheduled for April 5, 1970. Because the preparations had been made in such haste, the proceedings were not as smooth as desired, but the delegates carried on with new elections, and Baisheng again won the post of secretary-general to the organization.(102) Beyond this point, however, the Council appears not to have been very active.

     (d) Other Foreign Contacts. Apart from membership in these international Buddhist organizations, the BAROC has been active in many informal international contacts. Every year, the Board of Director's report to the BAROC National Congress contains items concerning foreign delegations entertained at the BAROC



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offices and BAROC delegations going abroad. In addition, for many years the BAROC has been an active member of the Sino-Japanese Buddhist Cultural Exchange [Zhongri Fojiao Wenhua Jiaoliu 中日佛教文化交流], which cooperates with its Japanese companion organization, the Japanese-Chinese Buddhist Cultural Exchange [Nika Bukkyō Bunka Kōryū 日華佛教文化交流] in alternately hosting the annual meetings, which may attract upwards of 1000 participants.(103) Such exchanges with Japan have flourished even more under the encouragement of the current BAROC president, Ven. Jingxin, who speaks fluent Japanese and received his bachelor's degree from Bukkyō Daigaku in Kyoto in 1977.(104)

     C. Continuation of the struggle to regain possession of Japanese-era temples. In the above section, we looked at the primary activities of the BAROC during the period of its dominance under the leadership of Baisheng and the way some of these activities have continued after his death. In the course of this investigation, we have seen that the BAROC frequently works closely with the government in several areas. However, BAROC-government relations have not always gone entirely smoothly, and we will be looking at two major areas of conflict: the disposition of Japanese temples in Taiwan after 1945, and the governments unresponsiveness to the BAROC's efforts to establish a Buddhist university.(105)



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We will now follow the progress and ultimately unsatisfactory conclusion of the first of these disputes.

     The question of what to do with Japanese temples was not a problem peculiar to Taiwan. During the 1930s and 1940s, Japan controlled large areas of the Chinese mainland as well, and wherever they went, they established temples and sent in chaplains to minister to the local Japanese population and to do some missionary work. Thus, when the war ended in 1945, the central government of the Republic of China had to settle on a policy with regard to Japanese properties in general, and temples in particular. The first law dealing with the problem was promulgated in Chongqing 重慶 (Chungking) by the Ministry of the Interior in 1945, shortly after the conclusion of the Second World War, and was called "Articles for Attention in the Takeover and Disposition of Japanese Temples and Shrines by Local Governments" [Difang Zhengfu Jieshou Chuli Riren Simiao Ciyu Zhuyi Shixiang 地方政府接收處理日人寺廟祠宇注意事項]. In it, we see that the central government left the actual takeover and management of temple properties to the provincial governments, but they were still accountable to the central government in reporting and getting approval for the manner in which these cases were handled.(106) Since the directive is very brief, a full translation appears below:



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1. Where there is no pre-existing regulation concerning the management of Japanese temples and shrines in the recovered territories, they should be taken care of according to these directives.

2. All Japanese temples and shrines should be taken over by the local government, which should register and take care of them.

3. All of the images and wooden tablets in these Japanese temples and shrines related to superstition should be destroyed.

4. The aforementioned temples and shrines should be classified and administered according to the following criteria:

a. Any Japanese temple that was established by modifying or changing the name of a pre-existing temple should be taken over if it was public property, and if it was private property, it should be returned to its owner upon presentation of the proper documents and due deliberation.

b. Any newly-built Japanese temples and shrines should betaken over if their land rights are public.

c. Any newly-built Japanese temples and shrines that sit on private land should be handled according to item five in the "Measures for Clearing Land Rights in the Recovered Territories."

d. Any Japanese temples or shrines that were established by renovating a pre-existing private home should be returned.

5. In all cases where local government takes over a Japanese temple or shrine, the circumstances of the takeover and measures for disposal [of the property] should be reported to the Ministry of the Interior for approval.


     In theory, these directives ought to have provided for an orderly and equitable process of disposition, with public lands going to the local government



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and private lands being returned to their owners. However, the actual situation in the streets and fields of post-Retrocession Taiwan was anything but orderly. George Kerr, in his book Formosa Betrayed, describes what he saw as an American diplomat in Taiwan after 1945, painting a picture of armed gangs of military officers simply taking whatever houses and other properties they wished, and of government agencies summarily requisitioning larger-scale Japanese-era buildings for office space. A report in the inaugural issue of Chinese Buddhism Monthly shows that this problem affected Buddhist temples as well, and that as early as 1948 the BAROC was submitting petitions to the central government for these temple properties to be returned.(107) This problem became especially acute when the government retreated to Taiwan in 1949, and the central government needed buildings quickly. At the beginning of this chapter, we saw that even Chinese-built and populated temples had to deal with the forcible billeting of soldiers. However, this problem was resolved after a time with BAROC intervention. The situation of Japanese-built temples proved more intractable.

     Although the BAROC identified a total of sixty-six Japanese-era temples that had yet to be given back to Buddhists for religious use by the mid-1960s, most of the controversy related to a fairly small group of temples in Taipei: the Nishi-Honganji 西本願寺 and Higashi-Honganji 東本願寺, the Donghe Chan Temple 東和寺, the Shandao Temple, the Shipu Temple, and the Fahua Temple



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法華寺.(108) During the early phase of the dispute, the primary issue was the government's failure to hand over the temples in accordance with the provisions of the 1945 directives. Nine years later, in 1954, the BAROC began losing patience with government inaction and became more active in submitting petitions to the Executive Yuan requesting that existing laws be enforced, military and government agencies that occupied temples be asked to leave, and the properties be given directly to the BAROC for management. The results were spotty. A communiqué to the BAROC from the Executive Yuan dated December 12, 1954, indicates that the Yuan was willing to consider returning the Donghe Chan Temple, but not the Nishi-Honganji.(109)

     The dispute took on a new dimension in 1957, when the Executive Yuan passed the "Measures for the Disposal of Special National Properties in Taiwan Province" [Taiwan Sheng Guoyou Tezhong Fangwu Dichan Qingjie Chuli Banfa 台灣省國有特種房屋地產清結處理辦法]. The second article of this act stipulated that "The Taiwan Provincial Government, in cooperation with the concerned agencies, shall draft measures [for the management of] temples and shrines belonging to the Japanese, which shall be reviewed by the Executive Yuan before they go into effect."(110) This law meant that the government intended to take over the management of these temples permanently as "special national properties" rather than return them for use as religious institutions. Underlying



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the government's classification of these temples as "special national properties" was a question of their identity: were they Chinese temples or Japanese? If they were Japanese, then they could be considered as property abandoned by the enemy in the "recovered territories" at: the end of the war, and the government could take them over with impunity. Shintō shrines fell easily into this category, but the situation of Buddhist temples was not as clear.(111)

     The BAROC thought it obvious that Buddhist temples ought to be classified as Chinese temples, and in a petition submitted to the Executive Yuan on October 13, 1957, they laid out their reasoning.(112) The BAROC's first argument was one that they deployed frequently, and which dated back to their earliest petitions in 1948. This was that, although the temples were in the care of Japanese abbots and subordinate to Japanese lineages of Buddhism, the funds used to construct, maintain, and staff them came from native Taiwanese (that is, ethnic Chinese) devotees. The Executive Yuan agreed to this proposition as far back as October 1948, when they issued a directive on the implementation of the 1945 "Five Articles" which stated, in part

The second of the Five Articles for the Disposition of Japanese Temples says, "All Japanese temples and shrines should be taken over by the local government, which should register and take care of them." However, temples that were built with funds donated by Taiwanese natives should not be considered Japanese property. The local Buddhist association should compile a list of these temples



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and present it, along with the proper legal documents, to the provincial government, which should then deliberate on their return.(113)

     As their second argument, the BAROC reminded the government that the provisions of the 1929 Law for the Supervision of Temples [Jiandu simiao tiaoli 監督寺廟條例], still the law of the land as of this writing, appeared to support the BAROC's case.(114) Article six of this law states that "all property and religious paraphernalia pertaining to a temple are the property of that temple, under the management of the abbot." Article eight set limits on the abbot's authority, specifying that he or she could not sell, alienate, or make alterations to temple property without permission both from the local government and the larger religious organization to which the temple belonged.(115) Under these provisions, the BAROC asserted that (a) temples could not be considered the private property of abbots, whether Chinese or Japanese, because they did not exercise ownership rights over them; (b) many former Japanese temples now had new Chinese abbots, and under the law, they should be in charge of these temples; and (c) the BAROC, as the only nationwide organization of Buddhists in the ROC, logically ought to be considered the "larger religious organization" to which these temples belonged, and so ought to have at least a consultative role in their disposition.

     Their third argument was based on a legal opinion issued by the Ministry



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of Justice on March 2, 1950. This opinion stated that if any Japanese-era social welfare organization re-incorporated under a Chinese board of directors after Retrocession, then it should be allowed to retain all of its former property. The BAROC asserted that many former Japanese temples had done just that, and that the ruling should apply to them as well as to other social welfare agencies.

     The BAROC's final arguments were actually appeals to the government to consider how failure to return these temples to religious usage would affect the government's image and relationships both abroad and domestically. On the foreign front, they raised two questions: first, how could the government take the moral high ground in its fight against Communism if it kept the temples? Specifically, how could they criticize the Chinese Communist Party regime's desecration and destruction of temples if they engaged in similar behavior at home? Second, it affected relations with Japan. They cited the disappointment of the Japanese delegation that came to deliver the bone relics of the Tang-dynasty Buddhist pilgrim and translator Xuanzang at not being able to go and visit these former Japanese properties and at hearing how they had become dilapidated through neglect. On the domestic front, they reminded the government that, in terms of the overall national budget, the value they might gain from the sale or use of these temple properties was negligible. The loss of public confidence, particularly among Buddhist devotees, though intangible, would be immeasurably greater.

     The BAROC did not rely solely on the persuasive power of their petitions



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and communiqués to the government. They also relied upon the influence of highly-placed allies within the government. Shortly after the BAROC submitted their 1957 petition. Legislative Committee members Chen Cheng 陳成 and Jiang Shaomo 姜紹謨 submitted an interpellation before the Legislative Yuan in the same month. Besides repeating many of the arguments submitted by the BAROC, this interpellation is noteworthy for its documentation of individual cases of abuse. In some cases, the failure of the provincial government to return temples for religious use could be blamed on mere foot-dragging on the part of the authorities. Chen and Jiang cite the Shandao Temple as a case of this. As of the time of this interpellation, this temple had done the requisite survey of all its land and assets, had registered them with the Taipei District Court, and been issued a temple registration certificate. Having fulfilled all these legal requirements, it should have gone into the control of the BAROC. Nevertheless, the central government's Conscription Office and the Taipei City Police Administration's Traffic Unit were still operating out of this temple's property.

     Chen and Jiang's investigations also turned up cases of outright malfeasance and abuse of authority. Shortly after Retrocession, the Taipei City government's Education Office moved into the Fahua Temple 法華寺 on Xining South Road 西寧南路: Later, the property was given over to the provincial government's Public Properties Management Office, who delegated its actual management to the Taiwan Land Bank's Office of Public Property Management. The Education Office continued to operate within its precincts, and the head of the Office took



316 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

advantage of the situation to approach the Land Bank with an offer to purchase the temple. The officers of the Land Bank expropriated the property and sold it without any internal investigation. The congregation of the temple brought suit, and the Control Yuan issued the following opinion:

In the case of the sale of the Fahua Temple on Xining South Road by the Taiwan Land Banks Office of Public Property Management to...the man deputed by the Taipei City Education Office to care for the property, there has been definite impropriety. The...Education Office in particular has acted inappropriately, but the Taiwan Provincial Government, in its handling of the takeover of former Japanese temples and shrines by all of the county and city governments, has acted in bad faith and needs to take corrective actions.

     In conclusion, Chen and Jiang offered four suggestions for legislative action: (1) that all government agencies and military garrisons be immediately evicted from temple precincts; (2) that all Japanese-era temples taken over by the government after Retrocession be handed over to the BAROC for distribution; (3) that the government agencies and military garrisons occupying the Shandao Temple and Fahua Temple in Taipei be asked to leave, and that these two properties be given outright to the BAROC for renovation into Buddhist centers worthy of receiving foreign Buddhist dignitaries; and (4) that the BAROC be named the agency called for in the provincial government's 1957 act to carry out its provisions.

     Nothing happened as a result of these interpellations, and more petitions and communiqués went back and forth between the BAROC and the central government. Meanwhile, two more laws went into effect that complicated the



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affair by providing different and contradictory mechanisms for effecting the return of temple properties. The "Act for the Disposition and Handling of Japanese Temples Taken Over by Taiwan Province" [Taiwan Sheng Jieshou Riren Simiao Caichan Qingjie Chuli Banfa 台灣省接收日人寺廟財產清結處理辦法] (November 22, 1959) called for the provincial government itself to set up a deliberative panel to handle each case, while the "National Properties Management Act" [Guoyou Caichan Chuli Banfa 國有財產處理辦法] (February 23, 1961) gave this responsibility to a Committee on National Property Management within the Executive Yuan Council itself.(116) Despite the confusion and further delays occasioned by these two acts, their intent was clear; both stated that the government was to take over temple properties for safekeeping and eventual return.

     The final phase of this crisis came about on May 3, 1965, when the BAROC learned of the Executive Yuan's intention to raze the Nishi-Honganji, then one of the largest and most ornate temples in Taiwan, to make room for apartments. Shortly thereafter, on June 8, 1965, they heard through the press that the Higashi-Honganji was also slated to be put on the market. The BAROC acted quickly to communicate their shock at this decision, but the Executive Yuan, in its reply, declared that this temple did not meet the conditions for return to religious use, and that the property, "located in a thriving city center where the property values are very high," needed to be handled as a special case. This was their final



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decision, and they asked the BAROC not to raise the matter with them again.(117)

     But the BAROC did raise the matter again, this time submitting a petition signed by Ven. Daoyuan, then the BAROC president,(118) to the Legislative Yuan, the Control Yuan, and the National Assembly dated September 20, 1965. Appended were all of the previous petitions, interpellations, laws, government directives, rulings, and communiqués accumulated during the previous evenly years. They repeated all of the arguments already died above. All seemed dearly to support the BAROC's contention that they, as the body representing all Buddhists in the ROC, should be given control of these two temples so that they could be restored to their former glory and resume functioning as places of religious activity.

     More interpellations ensued as well, one from the old stalwart Chen Cheng, and one from Legislative Committee member Han Tong 韓同. For the most part, the arguments are the same here as well, although more refined than before. However, there are a few new points. Han Tong pointed out that the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, of which the ROC was a signatory, provided for the protection of religious groups. From the point of view of domestic law, he points out that in 1953, the Legislative Yuan passed a law on human rights in the ROC based on the UN declaration, which provided the death penalty for people who infringe on a religious group's rights or bring spiritual harm to them. From the standpoint of international relations, Chen Cheng related how, when a



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BAROC visitation team visited Japan in 1963, the then acting director of the Higashi-Honganji asked specifically how things stood with the former subtemple in Taiwan and who was the current abbot The visitation team was very embarrassed to report the dilapidated state of the property and its continued use as a government facility. He also reminded the legislators that the ROC needed to continue borrowing heavily from the Japanese government, and that they ought to be concerned about not offending them. In conclusion, Chen Cheng and Han Tong offered different suggestions for resolving the situation. Chen Cheng suggested handing the temples directly over to the BAROC for management under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior according to current laws. Han Tong, on the other hand, advocated giving the Higashi-Honganji to the Dalai Lama in order to cement relations with the Tibetan government in exile!(119)

     Evidently, other interests were at work within the government. In a 1967 critique of the BAROC, Ven. Shengyan brings the unsatisfactory conclusion of this dispute up as an example of the BAROC's lack of any real authority. Despite the BAROC "expending nine oxen and two tigers' worth of effort" in the matter, the Higashi-Honganji was sold in June 1967 to a merchant for a large sum of money.(120)

     As for the other disputed temples, I have found no documentation of how their cases were finally resolved. The 1967 sale of the Higashi-Honganji Taiwan Branch Temple appears to have been the final episode in this long-running dispute,



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and my impression is that temples in Taiwan today are much more secure from government seizure. However, this case is instructive in showing that there are limits to the influence that the BAROC holds within government circles, contrary to the organization's popular perception as a KMT organ. This is not the only criticism that has been leveled against the BAROC over the years, and occasionally some writers have surfaced with withering critiques of it. We will now turn to these dissenting voices.

     D. Criticisms of the BAROC. In his examination of the BAROC's history on the Chinese mainland prior to 1949, Holmes Welch observed that there seemed to be a perennial gap between "paper and practice." He says:

Branches were supposed to carry out any orders received from national headquarters, but in fact they often ignored them. Chapters were supposed to remit four tenths of their membership dues to the branches, and the branches were supposed to remit half of these four tenths to the national headquarters. In practice such remittances were exceptional. Therefore, the association 'was constantly in financial difficulties and asking for money from the provincial branches,' as the head of one provincial branch tells us. ...According to its regulations, all of the monks and nuns in China were supposed to join. In fact, many did not. ...The large number of abstentions is evidence, perhaps, that its help and protection were not as effective as they were supposed to be.

     Thus, even at its highest stage of development, the Chinese Buddhist Association [i.e., the BAROC] did not become a tight, effective organization that could play even a minor role in deciding China's destiny...The times were too chaotic, and Buddhists lacked the experience and perhaps the motivation to organize effectively.(121)



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In reading Ven. Shengyan's critique of the BAROC in the article cited above, one gets the impression that twenty years on Taiwan had not brought any improvement in this situation.

     We see evidence of financial and organizational difficulties even before Shengyan's critique. Nanting's 1954 article in Rensheng magazine assessing the BAROC's first six years on Taiwan complains that even though the BAROC's special committees have some of the most eminent names in Taiwan Buddhism on their rosters, most fail to show up for meetings.(122) The January 1955 issue of the BAROC magazine Chinese Buddhism Monthly contains a call for all local chapters to pay all their back dues before holding elections for their boards of directors and supervisors.(123) Thus, the problems of lack of participation and lack of financial support are evident shortly after the BAROC's move to Taiwan.

     Thirteen years later, Shengyan echoed and elaborated upon these complaints. The BAROC office staff consisted of three elderly laypeople, and the secretary-general had to expend a lot of his energy on finding ways to meet office expenses. The reason was that, of the estimated six to eight million Buddhists in Taiwan, only 45,000 actually belonged to BAROC, and many of them did not pay their dues for years on end. Similarly, because of the lack of participation, almost all of the workload fell upon the shoulders of a small group of activists centered on Baisheng. Consequently, this handful of monks was constantly trying to do too much at once, and not doing anything well. Baisheng himself did everything



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from receiving international delegations to painting the eyes on Buddha-images at every small temple. His greatest asset, Shengyan says, was his ability to sleep at will and work through the night.

     The root problem, according to Shengyan, was a vicious circle: the lack of moral and financial support from the local chapters crippled the BAROC's ability to do anything concrete for Chinese Buddhism. Because the burdens of financing and work fell to such a small group of people by default, they were unable to do very much to benefit the average Buddhist. Consequently, the average Buddhist got the impression that the BAROC was ineffective and not worth supporting, and withdraw further from it.(124)

     Another criticism that one commonly hears in Taiwan even today is that the BAROC is too closely allied with conservative KMT politics, and so cannot represent the interests of all Buddhists in Taiwan, in particular the native Taiwanese. Prof. Yang Huinan 楊惠南 of National Taiwan University goes even further, and reports that the party actively interfered with the Third National Congress in 1955, taking advantage of the need to have delegates who, on paper at least, represented all of the provinces of mainland China to plant government and party supporters among the delegates, and even to have them represent more than one province so they could cast more than one vote.(125) The result was that,



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in the elections held during that Congress, Li Zikuan and the other more progressively-minded heirs of Taixu's reform movement lost all power within the BAROC, and all the positions of real influence went to the heirs of Yuanying's conservative faction. The government and ruling party were evidently interested in using the BAROC as one of the tools at its disposal for unifying the island.(126)

     Prof. Yang goes on to say that similar party interference marred the elections held during the Eighth National Congress in 1974. According to a report filed by Ven. Zhiming in the Journal Haichaoyin 海潮音 the KMT compiled and submitted the list of candidates for the Boards of Directors and Supervisors, and only those with money and government connections won posts. It will be recalled that this was one of the occasions on which the BAROC decided to abolish the presidency and resort to governance by the Standing Committee as a whole. Whether there is any connection between this and the interference Prof. Yang dies, I do not know. The result, he says, is that the BAROC is dominated by two types of leaders: those that work for the ruling party, and those who are only out for themselves. Nowhere did he find any concern for the common Buddhist cleric or layperson.(127)

     Holmes Welch mentioned the lack of any will to organize and become active as a possible cause for the BAROC's ineffectiveness, and this may still be a factor. In discussing the BAROC with several Buddhists in Taiwan during the



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years 1991 to 1994, I frequently heard people speak with disdain of "political monks" [zhengzhi seng 政治僧]. However, it ought to be noted that I have never read or heard any criticism of the BAROC in terms of moral failings, venality, or corruption. The issue with many of the people with whom I conversed appears to be simply that monks ought not to be involved in politics.

     If the BAROC failed to become the unifying force for Taiwan Buddhism that it might have, I feel that the most basic cause is that it has always consisted, at the national level at least, of a very small, closed group of people with actual decision-making authority. After Baisheng took over as president, the presidency has always devolved upon either him or those within his circle. When he first gave up the office, Ven. Daoyuan, his close friend from his mainland days, won the election. When he finally retired, Ven. Wuming, another longtime friend and associate, took over. The current president of the BAROC, Ven. Jingxin, is Baisheng's direct dharma disciple, and was the president of the Taiwan Branch Association for many years. In looking through BAROC publications from the 1950s through the 1990s, one finds the same names appearing in every office, commission, or committee, and this group of names does not change and does not exceed about twenty. That the BAROC leadership is such a closed shop may explain why energetic younger monks such as Shengyan and Xingyun eventually became inactive in the organization and began building their own enterprises.



325 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks



     Even taking all of the above criticisms into account, the BAROC still dominated Taiwan Buddhism through the 1970s and continued to be the most influential Buddhist organization through the 1980s. Most observers are agreed that, during this time, their greatest accomplishment was to bring to Taiwan the ordination traditions of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, which had the effect of improving clergy training and adherence to the precepts subsequent to ordination.(128) As a result of the BAROC's efforts, the clergy in Taiwan, especially the nuns, are very well respected within Taiwan society.

     However, much of the BAROC's influence and authority rested upon a political climate that allowed no competition. During the 1970s, some organizations began appearing that were sufficiently different from the BAROC in their scope and role that they could flourish even under the shadow of martial law. The law itself changed in the late 1980s in such a way as to open the gates for proliferation of organizations competing directly with the BAROC in all respects, even in holding monastic ordinations. As a result, the BAROC has had to adjust to a diminished role and look for ways to attract support. In this, it continues the parallels with the secular government and the ruling party, which have also had



326 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

to learn to accommodate competing interests and newly-legal opposition political parties. In the next chapter, we will explore the reasons for this diversification and some of the organizations that have appeared as a result.




(1) On Daoan, see Jiang Canteng 1990, p. 175. On Yinshun, see Chen Huijian 1994, p. 3. In fact, Hong Kong proved a much more likely destination for refugee clergy. About 300 of them, both monks and nuns, fled there in 1949, as opposed to only one-third that number who fled to Taiwan. See Nakamura Hajime et al., ed. 1976, p. 211.[back to text]

(2) Chen Huijian 1994, p. 132.[back to text]

(3) Shi Baisheng 1994, p. 90.[back to text]

(4) FG 3740c-3741a.[back to text]

(5) He died before actually taking office. See the entry under 1953 in the Fojiao Shi Nianbiao 1986, p. 344. Also see Shi Dongchu 1974, vol. 2, p. 805. For a synopsis of the struggle between Ven, Taixu's reformers and Ven. Yuanying's conservatives, see Welch 1968 chapters two and three.[back to text]

(6) Quoted in Wen Jinke, "Taiwan Jushi Fojiao de Zhanwang" ("Prospects for Lay Buddhism in Taiwan"), in Jiang and Gong, ed. 1994, p. 145.[back to text]

(7) Shi Dongchu 1974, vol. 2, p. 539.[back to text]

(8) The third member of this standing committee was Ven. Taixu himself, who died in 1947 without realizing his plan of taking over the BAROC. See Welch 1968, p. 47.[back to text]

(9) Shi Nanting 1954, p. 308.[back to text]

(10) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 149.[back to text]

(11) The First National Congress was the Nanjing re-organizational meeting in 1947.[back to text]

(12) This directly contradicts Ven. Dongchu's estimate given above that the number of mainland refugee monks was under 100.[back to text]

(13) Quoted by Wen Jinke in Jiang and Gong, ed. l994, p.146. On the same page. Wen goes on to point out how hollow Ven. Dongchu's complaint must have sounded to native Taiwanese Buddhists; if having only two delegates to represent the 100-plus monks from Jiangsu Province was "blatantly unfair," how much more unfair was it to have only two delegates representing the 10,000 or so Buddhists of Taiwan province![back to text]

(14) Shi Nanting 1954, p. 308.[back to text]

(15) Wen Jinke in Jiang and Cong, ed. 1994, p. 146.[back to text]

(16) Welch 1968, p. 302, note 28.[back to text]

(17) According to Ven. Dongchu, this means that he was one of the four lamas representing Tibet (the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama), Inner Mongolia (the Zhangjia Living Buddha), Outer Mongolia (the Rje-bstun Dam-pa Living Buddha), and Qinghai Province (the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama). Shi Dongchu 1974, vol. 1, p. 386.[back to text]

(18) Welch 1968, p. 39, 46, 174.[back to text]

(19) Welch 1968, p. 47.[back to text]

(20) Shi Baisheng 1994, p. 86.[back to text]

(21) Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 66-68.[back to text]

(22) From this position, Ven. Daxing called Ven. Yinshun to come from Hong Kong and serve as the temple's "guiding master" [daoshi 導師] which, as we saw in the last chapter, led to the controversy over Yinshun's book.[back to text]

(23) Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 68.[back to text]

(24) The above information is taken from Shi Daoan 1979, p. 115-118; and the bilingual pamphlet BAROC and Buddhism in the Taiwan Area 1990, p. 4-7.[back to text]

(25) Welch 1968, p. 48.[back to text]

(26) Shi Daoan 1979, p. 117-118.[back to text]

(27) Copper 1993, p. xviii, xxi.[back to text]

(28) BAROC and Buddhism in the Taiwan Area 1990, p. 6.[back to text]

(29) Welch 1968, p. 46. 140-141.[back to text]

(30) Before 1989, the BAROC also acted as the direct intermediary with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in obtaining passports and exit and re-entry permits for monks and nuns going abroad. However, as of July 1989, the Ministry of the Interior decided to stop requiring BAROC certification of such applications, slating that its employees were not competent to judge the veracity of certification by religious bodies. From that point, monks and nuns were to apply individually for their own documents as ordinary citizens. See Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 76 (July 20,1989), p. 1.[back to text]

(31) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 22 (August 25, 1983), p. 1.[back to text]

(32) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 84 (April 30. 1990), p. 1.[back to text]

(33) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 15/16 (October 10, 1982), p. 1.[back to text]

(34) Example of this type of meeting can be found in Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter) no. 31 (February 15, 1984), p. 4; and no. 53 (June 30. 1987), p. 1.[back to text]

(35) This refers to opening and operating institutions for secular education such as high schools and universities, whereas the kind of education referred to in item six has more to do with agencies for Buddhist education such as lectureships, seminaries, and so on.[back to text]

(36) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 151.[back to text]

(37) Welch 1967, p. 242.[back to text]

(38) Chen Ruitang 1974, p. 188-191.[back to text]

(39) David K. Jordan. "Changes in Postwar Taiwan and Their Impact on the Popular Practice of Religion." in Harrel and Huang ed. 1994, p. 147.[back to text]

(40) Welch 1967, p. 240.[back to text]

(41) The Republic of China, no less than the People's Republic of China, officially considers Tibet and Mongolia to be parts of China proper, and so the Buddhism found in the Tibetan cultural area also counts as an integral part of Chinese Buddhism in the eyes of the BAROC.[back to text]

(42) There are two "translations" of the Sutra of the Benevolent Kings. The first, produced by Kumarajiva, is entitled 'The Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom of the Benevolent Kings Preached by the Buddha" (Fo Shuo Renwang Banruo boluomi Jing 佛說仁王般若波羅密經, T.245).The second, a retranslation by Amoghavajra in 765 during the Yongtai reign of the Tang emperor Daizong, is called "The Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom of the Benevolent Kings Protecting the Nation" (Renwang Huguo Banruo Bolomiduo Jing 仁王護國般若波羅密多經, T.246). I put the word "translations" in quotations because it is doubtful that a Sanskrit original ever existed, and the earliest Chinese Buddhist bibliographers listed it as a spurious work. (See Ono Gemmyō 1932-36, vol. 8, p. 397c.).

     The sutra deals specifically with national security, being cast in the form of a dialogue between the Buddha and King Pasenadi of Sāvatthī on the subject of how best to protect the nation from famines, rebellions, and other disasters. The Tang emperor Taizong, believing that recitation of this sutra had the power to protect the empire from calamity, ordered it to be recited for two weeks of every month by monks residing in Chang'an.

     Amoghavajra prepared the second "translation" at a time when the empire was threatened by rebellion and the Tang emperor Daizong was looking for help from whatever quarter it might come. The new translation was produced in just over two weeks, and chanted in elaborate ceremonies at two of the leading temples in the capital. When the rebellion collapsed, Amoghavajra's fortune was secured. He went on to produce "The Method of Chanting the [Sutra of] the Wisdom of the Benevolent Kings" (Renwang Banruo Niansong Fa 仁王般若念誦法, T.995), and there have been many commentaries and liturgical works based upon it, both in China and Japan.

     Thus there are historical antecedents for the ceremony performed today in Taiwan, although I find no reference to its being performed on the mainland prior to 1949.

     For the above historical background, see Weinstein 1987, p. 12. 78.[back to text]

(43) Shi Nanting 1954, p. 308-309.[back to text]

(44) Shi Dongchu 1979, p. 109-110.[back to text]

(45) According to FG 3837b, Mojia was a pen name of Ven. Xingyun, the founder of Fo Kuang Shan and currently one of the most eminent monks in Taiwan and the world.[back to text]

(46) Shi Xingyun 1954, p. 313.[back to text]

(47) Shi Xingyun 1954, p. 313.[back to text]

(48) Ven. Taicang, who served as the karmācarya, had been the abbot of the Jiangtian Temple on Jinshan between Nanjing and Shanghai, which Holmes Welch cites as one of the premier meditation temples in China before 1949. He also gives an extended biography of Ven. Taicang in Welch 1967, p. 350-356. The catechist, Ven. Daoyuan (1900-1988), was originally from Henan province and was a widely respected scholar with a reputation as an able lecturer. He was later to serve as president of the BAROC. For his biography, see FG 5653a. For this ordination session, see 1992 Gazetteer, p. 159.[back to text]

(49) Shi Xingyun puts the figure at "several tens of thousands of Taiwan dollars." See Shi Xingyun 1954, p. 313.[back to text]

(50) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 159.[back to text]

(51) "Ben Hui de Xingzhi yu Lichang" ("The Nature and Standpoint of this Organization"), in Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 85 (May 25, 1990), p. 1. The libel suit was filed by a temple that had been performing services on behalf of the spirits of aborted fetuses. The defendant had called the practice "profiteering off dead babies" in writing. The temple won the suit.[back to text]

(52) This is not the only time that one of the ordaining elders was also the abbot of the host temple. The 1955 ordination was held at the Shipu Temple with Ven. Baisheng as the preceptor. This appears to vitiate the purpose of this system of ordination in keeping personal tonsure relationships from influencing the course of the ordination session, but it is probably unavoidable; most of the BAROC leadership at all levels consists of clergy who have one or more temples in their charge. See 1992 Gazetteer, p. 159-162 for a list of the host temples, ordaining elders, and numbers of ordinands for ordinations held in Taiwan, between 1953 and 1981.[back to text]

(53) Before the Legislative Yuan passed the new Law on the Organization of Civic Groups in January of 1989, the law held that only one organization could exist to fill a particular function in society. Thus, according to law, there could only be one organization holding monastic ordinations. We will return to this point later when we turn our attention to the period of pluralization.[back to text]

(54) Sakyadhīta: Daughters of the Buddha 1988, p. 121.[back to text]

(55) According to Mu Soeng, the Chogye Order of Korea, as of 1987, had 8000 monks and 15,000 nuns. See Mu Soeng 1987, p. 186. However, Karma Lekshe Tsomo's report in Sakyadhīta, gives a figure of 6000 nuns total, and indicates that more monks than nuns receive ordination each year. See her "Nuns in Korea," in Sakyadhīta 1988, p. 134. The most authoritative source on this issue states that, as of 1993, the Chogye Order had registered 8,563 monks and 4,824 nuns, while the T'aego Order had 4.063 monks and 645 nuns. However, reports are that nuns are now becoming more active there. See Han'guk Pulgyo Ch'ongnam 1993, p. 208. Many thanks to Frank Tedesco of Sejong University in Seoul for help with this source.[back to text]

(56) Sakyadhīta 1988, p. 124. She estimates that there are no more than 2000 nuns in all of Japan.[back to text]

(57) Yao Lixiang 1988, p. 239.[back to text]

(58) Nancy Schuster Barnes points out that this theory runs directly counter to the a5sumptions of early Buddhism, i.e., that men were more naturally inclined to the religious life because they were less involved than women in procreation and nurturing. See her article "Buddhism." Sharma, ed. 1987, p. 113.[back to text]

(59) For instance, Kenneth Ch'en reproduces a monastic census taken during the Kangxi reign (1662-1721) that counted 110,292 monks as opposed to only 8615 nuns. See Ch'en 1964, p. 452.[back to text]

(60) Chen Ruitang 1974, p. 9.[back to text]

(61) Ch'en 1964, p. 224, 246-247.[back to text]

(62) The conditions that might make an ordination certificate worth the purchase price include exemption from corvée labor and taxation.[back to text]

(63) Chen Ruitang 1974, p. 11.[back to text]

(64) Shih Yung Kai [Shi Yongkai] in Sakyadhīta 1988, p. 121.[back to text]

(65) Interview with Prof. Shi Hengqing 釋恆清, National Taiwan University, December 15, 1993.[back to text]

(66) Tsung 1978, p. 189-206. Tsung found that, in her small sample of 51 nuns, only a small number went into the monastic life from an authentic sense of vocation. Most saw it as an escape from various troubles, restricted options, and so on.[back to text]

(67) Some readers may suspect that this discrepancy in treatment is due to the vinaya's requirement that a women go through a two-year probationary period as a siksamāna before receiving the full precepts. However, what is under discussion here is the period of time that men and women spend as postulants, that is, lay people trying out the monastic life prior to tonsure, a stage that comes before the probationary period. Thus, the comparison is fair.[back to text]

(68) Tsung 1978, p. 182. On page 181, Tsung characterizes the nuns life as "filled with maternal deprivation, emotional insecurity, and low social esteem."[back to text]

(69) Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 77-85.[back to text]

(70) Zhang Shengyan 1979, p. 165.[back to text]

(71) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 49 (February 28. 1987), p. 2.[back to text]

(72) Shi Daoan 1979, p. 116.[back to text]

(73) According to both the 1971 Gazetteer and the 1992 Gazetteer, this June 1957 meeting was the Third National Congress; neither source even mentions the 1955 meeting or the Zhangjia's re-election. However. I am inclined to give more credit to the Ven. Daoan's report, partly because he is an eyewitness source closer in time to the events, and partly because a 1955 Congress would have been in line with the BAROC's practice of holding new elections every three years. There may be a way to resolve this contradiction if the 1957 National Congress did not involve new elections. In this case it would still count as the Third National Congress.[back to text]

(74) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 35. We will return to this point when we discuss criticisms of the BAROC at the end of this chapter.[back to text]

(75) Most of the information in this section, except where noted, comes from Shi Baisheng 1994, p. 81-96.[back to text]

(76) Yinli shi 引禮師. This is a monk who takes charge of a small group of ordinands, living with them and helping them practice the finer points of deportment. See Welch 1967, p. 287-289.[back to text]

(77) This was during the period 1935-37, before the outbreak of the War of Resistance against the Japanese forced the BAROC to become inactive.[back to text]

(78) Qita ("Seven Pagoda") Temple dates from 858 C.E., and is located in Zhejiang Province on Siming Mountain near Ningbo. Gushan, of course, is the site of the Yongquan Temple from which emanated all the Chinese ordination-lineages in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period.

     As Welch notes, the whole practice of "transmitting the dharma" is complicated, and the significance of Yuanying's transmission to Baisheng may have any number of meanings. At the very least it certifies that the two men were "of one mind" in matters pertaining to their understanding and experience of Buddhist doctrine and practice. Since Baisheng specifies that it is the dharma-lineage of two particular temples, it may also have given him the right to be called to either temple as abbot at some point in the future. Also, as FG points out, the practice is prevalent within the Chan and Esoteric traditions, which emphasize the transmission of an experiential understanding of their teachings. See Welch 1967, p. 156-158, and FG 2551a, b.[back to text]

(79) This was before the BAROC reorganized itself as a nationwide organization in 1947. I have no information on how the Shanghai organization related to other Buddhist associations or what its problems were at that time.[back to text]

(80) The former has been intermittently active in BAROC affairs, but has been increasingly occupied with his own projects both in Taiwan and America. The latter, as of this writing, has been the secretary-general of the BAROC for many years. Both of these monks went into the army shortly after this time.[back to text]

(81) That a layman should be the president of even a local chapter was one of the problems that monks like Dongchu and Nanting targeted for reform when they arrived in Taiwan. Also, as we saw earlier, a name beginning with the character "Pu" might mean that the individual in question was a member of Zhaijiao.[back to text]

(82) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 149.[back to text]

(83) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 149-150. The reasons for abolishing the presidency at this time are not clear. However, this is one of two National Congresses at which, according to Prof. Yang Huinan 楊惠南, the proceedings suffered from government interference. See below, under "Criticisms of the BAROC."[back to text]

(84) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter) no. 53 (June 30, 1987), p. 2.[back to text]

(85) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 42 (May 8, 1986), p. 1. Ven. Wuming 悟明 (1911- ), a native of Jiangnan province, left the household life at the age of fourteen with his family's blessing. Like Baisheng, he associated with many conservative monks during the 1930s, including Cihang, Yuanying, and the Pure Land revivalist Yinguang 印光. He too engaged in relief work during the war. He is primarily known far his devotion to the bodhisattva Guanyin 觀音, whom he has seen in meditative visions, and his practice of reciting the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times each day. After coming to Taiwan, he became active in the BAROC, participated in the first ordination at Daxian Temple 大仙寺 in 1952, founded temples and Buddhist seminaries, founded an orphanage, engaged in publishing activities, and led international missions abroad. To this day he commands great love and respect among Buddhists on Taiwan and elsewhere (his devotees include a Hong Kong movie starlet who came to Taiwan expressly to take the Three Refuges with him). See Chen Huijian 1994, p. 121-141.[back to text]

(86) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 51 (April 30, 1987), p. 2.[back to text]

(87) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 63 (May 20, 1988), p. 4.[back to text]

(88) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 65 (July 30, 1988), p. 1. Ven. Xingyun (Hsing-yun) of Fo Kuang Shan was also named at this time, and Ven. Wuming was named as an alternate.[back to text]

(89) This is not unusual for monks of his generation. Holmes Welch observed in 1967 that "Among refugees from the Mainland today, Buddhist monks are the most uncompromising of the anti-Communists." (Welch 1968, p. 159). In my own research, I have seen time and again the truth of this statement. However, I do not want to leave the impression that this conservative political stance was something divorced from religious concerns in their thinking. After all, they were watching the mainland government attempt to destroy an entire tradition, leaving only a remnant in the Chinese Buddhist Association. They also had watched depredations by the Communist forces during the revolution, and were moved on humanitarian grounds. For example, Ven. Shengyan, after describing the deplorable behavior of the Nationalist Army upon its arrival in Jiangbei, goes on to say that they were not as bad as the Communist New Fourth Army; at least they didn't conduct wholesale massacres of local populations. (Most damning, perhaps, is his contention that the Japanese army was better than both of them.) See Zhang Shengyan 1968, p. 75. Issues of BAROC's two publications. Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhism Monthly) and Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter) from the 1950s and 1960s regularly featured reports of the latest temple destructions or enforced laicizations. My point is that if they were anti-Communist, it was because their humanitarian and religious concerns undergirded their political views.[back to text]

(90) Shi Baisheng 1994, p. 93-94.[back to text]

(91) Shi Baisheng 1994, p. 94.[back to text]

(92) Chan 1953, p. 58. Unfortunately, Ven. Fafang was unavailable to continue in this role after his death the following year.[back to text]

(93) Copper 1993, p. xix.[back to text]

(94) The above synopsis of the BAROC's history with the WFB prior to 1984 is taken from Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 29 (August 11, 1984), p. 1.[back to text]

(95) One amusing aspect of this report is the rendering of the names of the CBA delegates. Throughout its text. the author inserts the word fei 匪 ("bandit") between the surnames and given names of all the delegates. Thus, Zhao Puchu 趙樸初, the president of the CBA, becomes Zhao Fei Puchu 趙匪樸初, "the bandit Zhao Puchu."[back to text]

(96) Zhonghua Fojiao Jushi Hui 中華佛教居士會, another Buddhist organization in the ROC that belongs to the WFB. We will look at this organization in the next chapter.[back to text]

(97) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 48 (January 20. 1967), p. 2.[back to text]

(98) Chan 1953, p. 58-59; and Welch 1968, p. 55-64.[back to text]

(99) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 32 (February 15. 1985), p. 1.[back to text]

(100) The full text of Baisheng's opening and closing speeches, and the speeches of the above-mentioned government officials, are all reproduced in Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 6 (December 30, 1981), p. 1-3.[back to text]

(101) The complete account of the planning and execution of the Third Congress of the WBSC is contained in the Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 7 (January 20, 1982), p. 4.[back to text]

(102) All of the information on the first two conferences may be found in Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter), no. 7 (January 20, 1982), p. 1.[back to text]

(103) Zhongfohui Kan (BAROC Newsletter) no. 57 (October 31, 1987) has a report on the Tenth Exchange which took place that year. It also has several articles and an editorial giving a brief history of these exchanges.[back to text]

(104) Jingxin Da Fashi Wuzhi Huadan ji Pushan Guangdesi Shiwu Zhounian Jinian Zhanji 1978, p. 4-5. His proficiency in Japanese is not surprising, since Ven. Jingxin grew up in Taiwan during the Japanese period.[back to text]

(105) We will look at BAROC efforts to establish its university in chapter seven.[back to text]

(106) Unlike the federal system of the United States, the governmental system of the Republic of China subordinates provinces directly to the central government, counties to provinces, cities to counties, and so on down to the village level. Thus, the provincial governor answers directly to the Executive Yuan, of which the Ministry of the Interior is a part.[back to text]

(107) Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhist Monthly), vol. 1, no. 1. (March 1. 1954), p. 7.[back to text]

(108) Despite the fact that BAROC members had purchased the Shipu and Shandao Temples, it appears that the government continued to place government offices on their premises.[back to text]

(109) Zhongguo Fojiao (Chinese Buddhism), vol. 1, no. 10 (January 1955), p. 15.[back to text]

(110) Quoted in "Zhongguo Fojiao Hui Qingyuanshe ji Fujian" 1965, p. 21.[back to text]

(111) The Taipei branch of the Ise Grand Shrine on Yuanshan (Round Mountain) was torn down to make room for the Grand Hotel. See Huang Zhaotang 1994, p. 25.[back to text]

(112) This petition, along with six specific suggestions for government management of these cases, is reproduced in Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhism Monthly), vol. 10, no. 2 (October 1965), p. 21.[back to text]

(113) Executive Yuan directive (37), no. 47179. Reproduced in Taiwan Fojiao (Taiwan Buddhism), vol. 19, no. 10 (October 1965), p. 7.[back to text]

(114) This and other laws relating to temples appear in Chu Hai-yuan 1990, p. 113-139.[back to text]

(115) Chu Hai-yuan 1990, p. 124.[back to text]

(116) Taiwan Fojiao (Taiwan Buddhism), vol. 19. no. 10 (October 1965), p. 7; and Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhism Monthly), vol. 10, no. 2 (October 1965), p. 26.[back to text]

(117) Taiwan Fojiao (Taiwan Buddhism), vol. 19, no. 10 (October 1965), p. 7; and Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhism Monthly), vol. 10, no. 2 (October 1965), p. 19.[back to text]

(118) This was during the period 1963-1967 when Baisheng yielded the presidency to Daoyuan. This crisis was resolved before Baisheng's 1967 re-election.[back to text]

(119) Copies of both interpellations may be found in Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhism Monthly), vol. 10. no. 2 (October 1965), p. 16-18.[back to text]

(120) Zhang Shengyan 1979, p. 171.[back to text]

(121) Welch 1968, p. 49.[back to text]

(122) Shi Nanting 1954, p. 308.[back to text]

(123) Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan (Chinese Buddhism Monthly), vol. 1, no. 10 (January 1955), p. 15.[back to text]

(124) Zhang Shengyan 1979, p. 171-173.[back to text]

(125) I believe this accusation needs to be investigated further before it is accepted. Prof. Yang's only quoted source for this scenario is Ven. Daoan's diaries, which report much "confusion" and "corruption" at the pre-Congress organizational meeting. Ven. Daoan left several blanks in his manuscript for names of people and temples guilty of acting in bad faith, and Prof. Yang "guesses" that four of these blanks should be filled with the word "party," i.e., the KMT, p. 35.[back to text]

(126) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 35-36.[back to text]

(127) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 35-36. Ven. Zhiming's report is found in Haichaoyin, vol. 55 (November 1974), p. 6.[back to text]

(128) See. for example, Zhang Shengyan 1979, p. 174.[back to text]




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