Traditional Community Associations (she 社) and Buddhism in Medieval China

Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 4:30 pm

This paper is a preliminary study of the relationship between traditional community associations (she 社) in villages, towns, and cities that originally involved semi-annual sacrifices and the Buddhist religion during the Wei, Jin, Period of Division (North and South), Sui and Tang dynasties (fourth-tenth centuries). It reveals that during this time, the main conflict between the early associations and Buddhist monks concerned the killing of animals. It further shows that later, in the seventh-tenth centuries, the two traditions came to a less confrontational arrangement, involving mutual understanding and assimilation. In the earlier stage, Buddhist monks fought against Chinese traditional culture, trying to persuade village associations to accept foreign ideas and give up traditional practices. This changed during the second stage, when monasteries and monks adopted a more co-operative attitude. The lecture addresses the problem of taking life in Buddhism and Chinese culture, Confucian values, debates over the making of statues, mortuary practice, monasticism, and the conflict of cultures. Evidence is drawn from stone stelae inscriptions, biographies and histories, as well as manuscripts. The lecture will be in Chinese, with brief English summary.

從衝突到融合——中古時期傳統社邑與佛教的關係 郝春文(首都師範大學資深教授、耶魯大學客座教授)提要:本文對兩晉南北朝隋唐五代間傳統私社與佛教的關係進行了初步考察,揭示出在兩晉南北朝隋代二者關係的主線是殺生和禁止殺生,即佛教文化與傳統文化在觀念和行為方式上的對立與衝突;唐五代時期二者關係的主線是兩種文化的相互寬容和融合。在這一演變過程中,寺院與僧人在態度和策略方面的改變也是很明顯的。前一階段寺院和僧人對中國的傳統文化採取的對立的態度,使用各種手段要求或者迫使社邑放棄傳統的觀念和行為方式,接受外來的觀念和行為方式。後一階段寺院和僧人轉而對傳統文化採取寬容、支持和參與的態度,所考慮的是能參與些什麼傳統活動或能幫助傳統私社做些什麼,即以接受部分中國傳統觀念和行為方式為媒介,將外來的觀念和行為方式與傳統的觀念和行為方式最大限度地糅合在一起。這種平等相待的態度和求同存異的策略所取得的效果是顯著的。佛教文化與中國傳統在私社思想與活動中的融合,原因是多方面的,但寺院與僧人之態度和策略的轉變,應是其中的重要因素之一。

Professor Has is currently a Visiting Professor at Yale University

Co-Sponsored by the Buddhist Studies Workshop

Room 137, 1879 Hall

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