Chinese Buddhism: A Thematic History

Hardback: $85.00
ISBN-13: 9780824881580
Published: June 2020
Paperback: $28.00
ISBN-13: 9780824883478
Published: June 2020

Additional Information

304 pages | 13 b&w illustrations
  • About the Book
  • What are the foundational scriptures and major schools for Chinese Buddhists? What divinities do they worship? What festivals do they celebrate? These are some of the basic questions addressed in this book, the first introduction to Chinese Buddhism written expressly for students and those interested in an accessible yet authoritative overview of the subject based on current scholarship.

    After presenting the basic tenets of the Buddha’s teachings and the Chinese religious traditions, the book focuses on topics essential for understanding Chinese Buddhism: major scriptures, worship of buddhas and bodhisattvas, rituals and festivals, the monastic order, Buddhist schools such as Tiantai and Chan, Buddhism and gender, and current trends—notably humanistic Buddhism in Taiwan and the resurgence of Buddhism in post-Mao China. Each chapter ends with discussion questions and suggestions for further reading. A convenient glossary of common terms, titles, and names is included.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Chün-fang Yü, Author

      Chün-fang Yü is Sheng Yen Professor Emerita of Chinese Buddhism at Columbia University. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Renewal of Buddhism in China: Chu-hung and the Late Ming Synthesis, Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokiteśvara, and Passing the Light: The Incense Light Community and Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • Individual chapters take on different subjects or schools of Chinese Buddhism. I think this was a smart move. . . . The individual chapters generally do a good job of presenting sometimes complex material in an accessible way suitable for classroom instruction. . . . The book takes us into festivals and practices and shows us what it meant to take the path of monastic ordination and live in a monastery. All of this is welcome as it exposes students to the life of Chinese Buddhism and not just its texts and doctrines.
      —Charles B. Jones, The Catholic University of America, H-Buddhism, H-Net Reviews (August 2020)
    • Chinese Buddhism is a concise textbook that focuses on Buddhism as practiced by the Han Chinese. Noting how previous textbooks on Chinese Buddhism tend to address its philosophical and doctrinal aspects, Yü draws attention to other dimensions of Chinese Buddhism in her thematic history, covering topics such as worship of buddhas and bodhisattvas, festivals and rituals, the monastic order, and gender. . . . Chinese Buddhism is quite readable, accessible, and affordable for undergraduate students. It could be used in a variety of undergraduate courses—certainly Chinese Buddhism, if one’s institutional context allows for such specialized course offerings, but potentially Buddhism or Chinese Religions, depending on how the courses are structured.
      —Beverley Foulks McGuire, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 82:2 (December 2022)
  • Supporting Resources