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Title: Kindness towards animals in early Chinese Buddhism
Author: Pu, Chengzhong.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3502 6209
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2005
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The practice of vegetarianism and the custom of liberating animals are two characteristic living traditions of Chinese Buddhism that have continued for more than one and a half millennia. This study undertakes a thorough investigation of the early history of these two traditions and of the beliefs that served to reinforce them. The development of Chinese Buddhist vegetarianism has been attempted by a few studies showing patchy understanding of the topic. The custom of liberating animals was also generally described in the 19th century. Yet the belief that moral individuals are rewarded and the immoral punished, and particularly its connection with these two traditions, has been neglected. Unlike previous scholars, who either presented some key personages' contributions to the development of the practices, or provided a general cultural overview of the history of tradition as a whole, this study is intended to concentrate on the formative stages of these traditions and beliefs, and specifically to focuses on the integration of the Chinese and Indian cultures and the important role played by the laity in the process of this formation. Thus it is hoped to provide a complete view of their early histories, based on exhaustive related materials. It shows that without some elements of Chinese culture, the participation of the laity, and the enforcement of the ruling class, the Buddhist doctrines of vegetarianism and animal preservation could not have developed into practices and permanent traditions in Chinese Buddhism, nor would the Indian moral beliefs have been smoothly accepted by the Chinese. This study suggests that early Chinese Buddhism was an amalgamation of Chinese culture and Buddhist influence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available