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Title: Chinese Buddhist moral practices in everyday life : Dharma Drum Mountain, volunteering and the self
Author: Yang, Tsung-Han
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this thesis is to explore how the everyday relational contexts of religious practitioners affect their religious practice and the development of their own distinctive religious habitus. The thesis explores the case of Buddhist volunteers at a Chinese Buddhist organisation in Taiwan called Dharma Drum Mountain to examine how volunteers develop a Chinese Buddhist moral habitus and engage in Chinese Buddhist moral practices in the relational dimensions of their everyday lives, including family, friends, colleagues and other volunteers. I drew upon the sociological thought of Sayer, Bottero and Scheff (etc.) to develop my interpretation, and have deployed semi-structured interviews and participant observation to collect the research data. The thesis found that the Dharma Drum Mountain movement systematically cultivates its volunteers' Chinese Buddhist moral habitus through Sheng Yen's concept of character education. The goal of character education is to achieve harmonious relationships with others through Chinese Buddhist self-cultivation, or the development of Chinese Buddhist moral habitus from a sociological perspective. The thesis found that Chinese Buddhist moral habitus is a collective accomplishment. Relationality guides the religious moral practices of Buddhist volunteers, because sharing Buddhism with others is the most important factor contributing to the fostering of harmonious relationships with others and achieving mutual well-being. Sharing is the key that opens the door to a win-win situation in interpersonal relationships. Dharma Drum Mountain encourages its volunteers to share through the thorough institutionalisation of sharing into its organisational structure, which is achieved by establishing a mechanism for group discussion in every place where its Buddhist teachings are taught. In addition, the thesis found that volunteers made use of three methods to develop their Chinese Buddhist moral habitus: self-awareness, self-evaluation and joint practice with other people through intersubjective negotiation. The outcome of successful intersubjective negotiation is mutual attunement. Finally, volunteers fully made use of six kinds of Chinese Buddhist moral concepts emphasised by DDM - care, respect, gratitude, shame, repentance and empathy - to develop Chinese Buddhist moral habitus in different kinds of interaction situations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available