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Charitable activities and religious life 1. prefatory remarks 2 enable VPN to Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "Charitable activities and religious life 1. prefatory remarks 2 enable VPN to Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charitable activities and religious life 1

2 prefatory remarks 2 enable VPN to Oxford

3 definitions  the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver (Wikipedia)  Terminology  gong 公, yi 義  types:  related to livelihood  ritual services for others than family  to be distinguished from local mutual help?  “without expecting a direct return from the recipient” 3

4 charity in Europe  connected to Christianity: late ME onwards in Western Europe (esp. NW Europe)  need to deal with orphans, widows and the poor in general in urban centres  innovation NW Europe: cheap urban labour force  regions which suffered from labour shortage after the great plague epidemics of 14 th century  region of religious reform > (unsuccessful) reformation (Flanders, Low Countries) 4

5 local mutual help  hard to document historically in the absence of sources & research  not impossible through anecdotal literature ( 待考 )  20 th century fieldwork  Japanese (Mantetsu 滿鐵 etc.)  Western/Chinese (Sidney Gamble, Li Jinghan c.s.)  missionary accounts  “missionary cases” 教案 (Litzinger a.o.)  bias: northern China and coastal southwest China 5

6 an attempt at reconstruction  late 19 th early 20 th century (not necessarily same as before, but maybe indicative of informal neighbourly help)  crop watching  cooperation on harvest etc.  credit societies  self-defence  societies to maintain temples & festivals  irrigation networks (LY & Southern China) 6

7 forms of help  state charitable institutions  expression of the paternalistic obligation of the ruler to his people  lineage organizations  mutual help for those within the same line of descent  mutual help within a village  restricted to those who were accepted as members of the village community  charity per se:  indiscriminately help of all 7

8 social functions of charity  alleviating social stress  symbolic expression of attitude of caring for larger whole on part of elites 8

9 Buddhist charity 9

10 circulation of gifts  In Theravada B. traditionally gifts primarily to monastic community, in Mahayana B. also to lay people  gifts managed together  to maintain Buddhist institutions  recitation & rituals for the benefit of all (incl. dead)  monasteries as shared investments/pooling resources (?)  ultimate aim: gathering merit & public standing (doing good is never invisible) 10

11 Buddhist merit  fundamental Buddhist concept of gathering merit 功德 by giving (to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha)  different forms of giving:  to adorn the teachings (grotto temples, statues, wall paintings and so forth)  charity for the needy (identified recipients)  alms (entirely anonymous) 11

12 “Fields of merit” 福田  principal concept is planting a field of merit  different lists of very practical activities:  佛告天帝: ” 復有七法廣施,名曰福田,行者得福, 即生梵天。何謂為七? ”  一者、興立佛圖、僧房、堂閣;  二者、園果、浴池、樹木清涼;  三者、常施醫藥,療救眾病;  四者、作牢堅船,濟度人民;  五者、安設橋梁,過度羸弱;  六者、近道作井,渴乏得飲;  七者、造作圊廁,施便利處。  maintaining the community 12

13 13 常施醫藥 興立佛圖、僧房、 堂閣 園果

14 early charity  problems of information  quantitative estimate impossible, only qualitative  normative (as above) rather than descriptive  known concrete examples (usually urban & individual/incidental)  distribution food to poor  monastic “hospitals”  inn-function of monasteries for travellers and pilgrims 14

15 Song-Yuan  Buddhist monks building bridges etc. (merit)  Buddhist lay believers (merit)  bridges  roads  free tea  state (northern Song): local order  medical aid  hospitals  distributing medicine  old people’s homes  homes for foundlings (including wet nurses)  distributing food aid, coffins (incidental)  private/local (southern Song): local order  (same contents) 15

16 religious vs. secular  religious charity clearly continued into Yuan  state and private charity Song period: were people involved only secularly motivated?  the very active lay Buddhist Su Shi founded a kind of hospital, built the nearby Su Dike on West Lake!  problem of insufficient knowledge private convictions  would be strange when (re)invention in late Ming was Buddhist inspired and earlier Song efforts would not have been religiously inspired  Water and Land Gatherings & rituals to feed the hungry ghosts can be seen as forms of charity! 16

17 towards secular charity? 17

18 background to charity  differences charity  from Buddhist perspective  from state perspective  from Neoconfucian perspective  presently standard view: Buddhist (religious) charity evolved into largely secular charity  similar the in West: Christian (or Christian socialist, do not forget Judeo-Christian origins Marxism/ socialism)  but: is there a “secular” world in premodern China?  and: to what extent did this new charity really become fully secular (same applies to Western situation) 18

19 Li Gong: secular or not  1659-1733  famous for classicist lifestyle in which he tried to stay faithful to the Analects and other classic works  Worship and religious beliefs  burned incense (much later than Analects)  visited his parents and his natal mother on 1 st and 15 th days  maintained all kinship rituals and paid respect to graves of acquaintances  gathered relatives at 清明 for sacrifice of animals and music  also set up paper spirit tablets 紙位 for relatives in female lines without descendants (of at least two different family names) on New Year's day  kept a Ledger of Merit and Demerit  supported ritual suicide by widows (rather than remarriage)  hardly just a secular classicist philosopher 19

20 the charitable movement (1)  one large movement of performing shan 善, institutionalized in generic “charitable gatherings” 善會 and “charitable halls” 善堂  Setting Free Life Gatherings (fangsheng hui 放生會 ) => charitable movement, in terms of: support group and audience (the local gentry elite)  internal organization  combination of moral education with moral acts  change: from preserving animal life to saving human life  conspired by growing Neoconfucian interest in human life 20

21 21 Shanghai Guilin

22 the charitable movement (2)  Buddho-Daoist inspiration  祩宏 1535–1615 introduces Daoist Ledgers or Merit and Demerit 功過格  Morality Books 善書, e.g. 太上感應篇 (Daoist inspiration), later Buddhist and cultic versions of morality books (e.g. 陰騭文,關聖 帝君覺世真經 ) 善書  bureaucratic procedures  Community Compacts 鄉約 22

23 activities  taking care of orphans (Keeping Infants Halls 留嬰堂 or Nourish Infants Halls 育嬰堂 )  taking care of widows to prevent remarriage  prevention of cremation and making available free burial  alleviating famine (esp. late Ming, taken over by state during Qing)  In service of Confucian values, though often initiated first by elites with primary lay Buddhist identity  But: to what extent had this become a Confucian movement? 23

24 again: secular or religious  Zhang Cai 張才 (fl. late Ming)  founder Restoration Academy  moral lecturer in “secular” hall  devout worshipper Lord Guan  Shi Chengjin 石成金 (fl. 1660)  Yangzhou Nourish Infants Hall  active lay Buddhist (influential commentary on Jin’gangjing) the  popularizer of Buddhist and Confucian values among non- literate people (in baihua)  Liu Shanying 劉山英 (1733-1806)  official who became active lay Buddhist at circa 40 years of age.  active in charitable works, including a large public cemetery in Huzhou in the late eighteenth century and the publication of a Buddhist inspired morality book. Efforts continued by his, who was also a lay Buddhist ánd a conscious Confucian official  his own 信心應驗錄 reprinted by pp with Buddhist background as well  In all 3 cases: religious context not clear from the sources directly dealing with the charitable activity 24

25 25 佛緣之印度為甚廣也

26 26 傳家寶

27 moral rearmament  increase “Confucian” values does not mean secularisation, but moral rearmament  reliance on specific deities a source moral values: Wenchang, Lord/Emperor Guan, Lu Dongbin, and so on  late 18 th century onwards spirit writing movement starting out in eastern Sichuan  during 19 th century fusion with practice of reciting the Saintly Edict 宣講聖諭 inYunnan  developed into the new religious movements of early 20 th century 27

28 28 内鄉縣衙門宣講聖諭

29 29 宣講聖諭 in Yunnan 宣講聖諭 in Yunnan :洞經音樂

30 other forms of religious charity 30

31 missionary charity  Christian charity in China as much part of Chinese history as other forms  foundling homes (source misunderstanding)  medical mission (beginning with eye surgery, took off in 20 th century)  educational mission (to enable often illiterate converts to read the Bible, took off in early 20 th century) 31

32 Daoist charity  True Man Wu (Fujian)  popular cult since 11 th -12 th century, strong Daoist links  Quanzhou elite developed it into venue for dispensing free medicine from 1878 onwards  Liu Yuan 劉沅 (1768-1855) (Sichuan)  founder influential Daoist-Confucian family tradition of teachers  found inspiration in texts that we conventionally label Confucian and Daoist  himself advocated Daoist ritual for the common good  sixth son added charitable activities (namely the free distribution of grain, clothes and medicine; the provision of coffins and burial land; setting free life, as well as not eating bovine and dog meat) 32

33 清清 33 1878 Quanzhou gentry and merchants founded an Office for Dispensing Medicine in the local 花橋慈濟宮, on basis of myth of True Man Wu (Tao 夲 )

34 20 th century and after 34

35 Taiwan & mainland  with you! 35


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