China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - From Subject to Dependency: Lin'an(臨安) Buddhism and Capital Regime in the Southern Song Under Power Competition

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Jacaranda II, First Floor

Linan was upgraded to the capital in Southern Song. This political status change brought profound influence to it. As one of the main social forces since the Five Dynasties, Buddhism certainly could not escape from this impact and even reflected more remarkable. Compared with its friendly and equal interaction with local officers in Northern Song under “a convergence of interest”, its relationship with authorities went through certain transition. This paper is going to explore this problem through interactions between Hangzhou Buddhists and capital authorities in Southern Song. With its establishment, the imperial household and central government entered Hangzhou, which greatly strengthened the authorities’ power. In the context of resources scarcity, Buddhism temples become the government’s objects of embezzlement. For instance, a lot of temples were occupied as government offices, royal family’s gardens, officers’ living houses, and even their private merit and tomb temples. During this process, Hangzhou Buddhism temples gradually transited from a public to private. Confronting the authorities’ occupation, Buddhists behaved differently towards this. Some of them strongly dissented against their wanton behavior in order to protect Buddhism’s rights. On the contrary, others, intentionally, built friendly relations with related authorities to enhance temples’ construction through mendacity. The later represented the major trend. In consequence, the interaction between Linan Buddhism and capital authorities changed from equality and mutual benefit to occupation and utilization in Song dynasty. Under the strong force of authorities, Hangzhou Buddhism and Buddhists, to a certain extent, become the dependency of authority during their power competition.  

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