Concepts and Institutions for a New Buddhist Education: Reforming the Saṃgha Between and Within State Agencies

Stefania Travagnin

Education reforms have played a key role in the turning points of Chinese history. Slogans like ‘saving the country through education’ (jiaoyu jiuguo 教育救國) and ‘omnipotence of education’ (jiaoyu wanneng 教育萬能) became well known when the republic succeeded the empire, at the dawn of the Mao era, and with Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s.[1] China has based its reinvention on education reforms, and the parallel reconstructions of Chinese Buddhism has been also partly based on reforms of the education system for the saṃgha.

As the title underlines, this article focuses on ‘concepts’, and so on the history of the terminology used to indicate education in the Buddhist contexts, as well as on ‘institutions’, and will thus articulate a taxonomy of the new structures of learning for the saṃgha. The Buddhist universities that had been established in Japan since the Meiji period, as well as the Christian colleges that have been present in China since the late Qing, were important reference points for the Chinese saṃgha while they were creating their own educational institutes.[2] A third part of this research discusses the main individuals who changed the history of the Buddhist educational programs and policies within the ideological and political context of early twentieth-century China. Since a comprehensive discussion on all the Buddhist educators and the Buddhist seminaries that were established in China in the first half of the twentieth century would go beyond the limitations of an article, this article addresses mostly ideas and projects of the reformer monk Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947) and his actions between and within the agencies of the state.[3]

Through the analysis of specific case studies, this research will argue why and how, in crucial historical contexts when China had to reinvent itself without deleting the fundamental value of its past, education projects in the secular and religious spheres undertook similar patterns of reconstruction. My research thus demonstrates the interrelations between politics, government law, social history and Buddhist educational policies in the period that goes from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. This study also unveils different levels of intervention of the state in the formation of those concepts and institutions that defined the identity of the new Buddhist monastic education. Finally, the investigation on concepts, institutions, individuals and state agencies will reveal patterns of tension within Buddhist China in the first half of the twentieth century: the tension between state and religion, tradition and modernity, Chinese identity and Westernisation.

My work links the recent field of modern Chinese Buddhism with the scholarship on the history of secular education in China,[4] and integrates recent Western studies on religion and education in modern China that have covered Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, and Islam.[5]

Historical and Intellectual Background of the New China

If China would justify her existence and retain her past glory, she is bound either to substitute her spiritual civilization for this material civilization, or modify her civilization by adopting the necessary part of Western civilization. Undoubtedly, this falls within the realm of education.[6]

As Theodore Hsia argued above, the renewal of China at the end of the Imperial period and the beginning of the Republican era was rooted in educational reforms. However, it also clearly concerned all sectors of Chinese culture. The new intellectual movements, the mixed feelings for the efficacy of Confucianism, the new challenges posed by Christianity, and the generational movement of scholars to Europe, America and Japan to pursue higher education, all formed the historical and intellectual framework for adopting concepts such as nation and nationalism,[7] ensuing political and religious reforms,[8] and especially for new educational projects.[9]

Douglas R. Reynolds argues that ‘foreign interactions are responsible for China’s most radical discontinuities of the twentieth century’, and, as a result, China started ‘to reinvent itself according to outside rules (European, American, Japanese, Soviet)’.[10] In other words, China’s reinvention was not immune to confusion and hybrids, which were crucial features of the intellectual atmosphere at that time. This formed the background for the reinvention of Chinese civilisation, and provided models that were appropriated by both the reformers of Chinese secular education and the theorisers of modern Buddhist seminaries.

The major concern of Chinese intellectuals and reformers in the early Republican period was the preservation and adoption of Confucianism. On one hand, this was seen as contributing to cultural weakness, and as the principal reason for China’s repeated defeat by Western powers in conflicts during the nineteenth century. Intellectuals thus debated the position that Confucianism could or should have played in the hypothetical ‘Chinese Renaissance’, and the clash between Confucian ethics (and thus the moral principles at the basis of Chinese society) and Western scientific knowledge and religion.[11] A parallel situation was developing in the Buddhist world, where traditional doctrine and practice, which had marked the identity of Chinese Buddhism and the Chinese monastic community, were being questioned, and often replaced by secular (and foreign) cultural discourses.

The dialectical encounter with Western science and ideas dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, and developed through a historical narrative in four main stages: the mid-nineteenth century,[12] the end of the nineteenth century (and of the Qing dynasty),[13] the first decade of the Republic of China,[14] and the second phase of the Republic of China.[15] Each of these periods brought different changes and a continuous renewal in the conceptual structures and cultural practices of China.

From a different perspective, Chinese intellectuals and officials of this historical period expressed three main reactions in their encounter with Western ideas and programs: rejection, acceptance, domestication. In other words, these decades showed the rejection of the Confucian-based pattern of education, the acceptance of foreign models of schooling and learning, and finally the integration of those new ideas and ideals within the frame of Chinese culture. As Gang Ding put it, ‘During the twentieth century Chinese educators encountered varied foreign knowledge patterns and influences and became more and more proactive in utilizing them to pioneer their own national path toward educational development’.[16]

To conclude, the encounter between the tradition and policies of China (and East Asian in general) and the new models arriving from Europe and North America led to a period of intellectual, social and political dynamism. However, it was also often problematic. Buddhist thinkers and reformers experienced this constructive but controversial confrontation too, and, as the following sections of this article will demonstrate, undertook similar paths in terms of conceptual reforms, shared leading figures and institutional reconstruction.

‘Education’: A New Word for a New World

As the concept of education moved from that of an individual, private pursuit to that of an organized, mass activity controlled from above, the language mirrored the change. A new word, or rather an old one retrieved from antiquity through Japan, came into use to describe this phenomenon: jiaoyu.[17]

The history of education in pre-modern China has been a Confucian history. A righteous government, social morality, and a correct family structure formed the core of the Confucian social project. Knowledge (zhi 知) was conceived of as a combination of learning (xue 學) and thinking (si 思).[18]

As Alexander Woodside and Benjamin Elman report in late Imperial China, we see the adoption of a different terminology. The essence of the educational program became embodied in the three categories of teaching (jiao 教), learning, and culture or literature (wen 文).[19]

Almost at the same time, China recovered the term jiaoyu 教育 (literally meaning ‘teach and rear’) from Japan as a new word to translate the Western concept of education, and to help define the new modern educational policies in China. Jiaoyu was one of many words that the Japanese were adopting at the end of the nineteenth century to translate Western ideas and ideologies, and its reception in China became one of the most important aspects of the new educational reforms. Jiaoyu gradually became the main word for education.[20] The Chinese adoption of this new term indicated the implicit acceptance of the foreign model of education, a new way of thinking about education, and therefore shaped the restructuring of the Chinese systems of pedagogy.

The new word, jiaoyu, opened up a new world. At the institutional level, modern education was founded on the blueprint provided by Christian colleges that had been established by Protestants. The increase in Chinese translations of Western philosophical and literary works in the late nineteenth century facilitated the adoption of both Chinese and Western methods of learning as essential parts of the new curricula in schools, and heated the debate concerning the modalities of integration of Western thought into the system of Chinese traditional values. At the same time the word xue came to identify the Western concept of ‘science’ in the sense of scientific study and knowledge of subjects.[21] Quoting Lancelot Forster:

The mistake of the past was the exclusion of scientific thought from China’s scheme of Education, the danger of the present is the crowding out, and therefore the exclusion, of cultural and ethical studies.[22]

The new term jiaoyu, and the newly conceptualised education manifested in a concrete form at the governmental level as well. At the beginning of the twentieth century, China established several organs for educational affairs. Finally, in 1905, the Qing authorised the foundation of the first Ministry of Education (jiaoyu bu 教育部).

The renewed adoption of the term jiaoyu to define ‘education’ had an impact on modern Buddhist educational projects as well. We see a change in terminology between the Imperial and Republican periods, and that provided the theoretical foundations of renewal in educational infrastructures and policies. For instance, in the early twentieth century there was the appearance of the first study hall (xuetang 學堂), and later on the adoption of the concept of Institute of Buddhist Studies (Foxueyuan 佛學院), which represented more complex types of institutions than the previous monastic study-meetings. The first turning point in the history of Buddhist monastic education occurred in the Song dynasty, when the structures of Buddhist education influenced the new form of Confucian institutes of classical learning (shuyuan 書院).[23] During the Ming dynasty, Buddhist monastics undertook an in-depth and parallel study of Buddhist scriptures as well as Confucian texts.[24] During the Ming and the Qing periods there was an increased focus on the study of Chan and Consciousness-Only (Weishi 唯識), and the gradual emergence of lay Buddhist intellectuals and teachers. In fact, at the end of the Qing dynasty, we count the first Buddhist schools opened by the laity and thus a new system of Buddhist intellectual centres.[25] The Hunan Saṃgha Study Hall (Hunan seng xuetang 湖南僧學堂), built in 1903, was the first new-style study hall established in China.[26]

The change in terminology also included the use of the word jiaoyu itself. Monastics started using the expression fojiao jiaoyu 佛教教育 and seng jiaoyu 僧教育 to indicate a more comprehensive and modern pedagogy, and several local saṃgha education societies (seng jiaoyu hui 僧教育會) started appearing from 1906.[27]

Since the end of the nineteenth century, Yang Wenhui 楊文會 (1837–1911) had underlined that the reforms of educational structures and institutions in Buddhism had all to be based on the reinvention of the concept of education.[28] Beginning in the early 1920s, the reformer monk Taixu, who was one of Yang Wenhui’s students, lectured on the modernisation of education for monastics and discussed the concept of jiaoyu in general terms. In his lecture ‘On Education’ (Lun jiaoyu 論教育) delivered at the Wuchang Buddhist Institute in 1924, Taixu explained that Confucianism had embodied the theoretical principles of Chinese education for more than 2000 years, but since the Western ‘invasion’ at the end of the Qing dynasty, the Chinese had also had to deal with the (Western) concept of jiaoyu, and restructure their local educational projects. Taixu classified jiaoyu into four main types:

  • education in biological sciences (dongwu jiaoyu 動物教育), which he saw as originating and developing in the West, reaching an important turning point with Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and only recently imported to Japan. According to Taixu this form of education was still missing in China.
  • humanistic education (renlun jiaoyu 人倫教育), which referred to the study of systems of thought like Confucianism
  • theological education (tianshen jiaoyu 天神教育), which referred to the study of Jesus or God in the West, and Brahma in Hinduism
  • Buddhicised education (fohua jiaoyu 佛化教育), which was the study of the Buddhist five vehicles (wu cheng 五乘), and also a methodology of study to be applied in other fields and disciplines.

Taixu held a Chinese (and Buddhist) position by arguing that ‘Buddhistic education’ was the most comprehensive and superior type of jiaoyu, because it included each of the other forms of education.[29] Throughout the 1930s, Taixu gave several talks on the state of clerical education and clerical jiaoyu, laying a clear distinction between jiaoyu and the former methods of learning and training for the Buddhist saṃgha, and drawing parallels and comparisons between the reforms for saṃgha education and the change of educational policies in secular schools.

In the 1920s, several Buddhist lay intellectuals and monks engaged in the debate on the overall state of education in China, on the shortcomings of the current education programs for the saṃgha, and on the possible improvements that could have been implemented.[30] The Haichao yin wenku 海潮音文庫 dedicated half a volume to the subject of ‘education’, and this confirms the extent of the debate on the topic. An overview of the most relevant articles that have been published in the journal Haichao yin 海潮音 between 1919 and 1929 shows which themes were mostly under discussion in Buddhist circles. We count writings on the relations between foxue and jiaoyu,[31] as well as articles on the history of the study of Buddhism in China.[32] The changes in jiaoyu were all supported as in line with the correct Mahāyāna Buddhist practice.[33] This way to frame the debate could prove the adoption of a terminology familiar to the Buddhist readership, as well as a sign that significant changes in the education system for the saṃgha had to be justified in terms of Buddhist practice in order to be accepted by the reticent part of the Buddhist community. Finally, education had to be reformed into a moral and virtuous education (daode jiaoyu 道德教育) in order to create and maintain the Great Harmony (datong 大同).[34]

Cai Yuanpei and Yang Wenhui: Two Modern Ministers of Education?

Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao led the Hundred Days of Reform in 1898, and Zhang Zhidong, in not always similar projects, tried to provide China with a different scope of education, which had to be integrated with Western (and Japanese) models but framed within Chinese values. Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1868–1940), the first minister of education in the Republic of China, reinforced those principles in post-imperial China. As William J. Duiker correctly stated at the beginning of his book, ‘Ts’ai can be viewed as a representative of his age, symbolizing the dilemmas of an intellectual caught between the cultural worlds of East and West’.[35]

In parallel, within the Buddhist context, Yang Wenhui was the pioneer of educational reforms for Buddhists, monastics as well as laity. Yang tried to provide Chinese Buddhism with a different conception of education, and proposed alternative curricula that included traditional Chinese Buddhist subjects and Western knowledge. Similar to what was happening to secular education, Buddhist education was reshaped not only in terms of the curricula, but also in the methodological approaches. Cai and Yang travelled in the West (mainly in Europe), and made those foreign experiences into leading events in the making of modern educational programs. Cai studied in Germany and France, while Yang’s thought and projects were influenced by his visits to France and England in 1878. While in England, Yang met Nanjō Bunyū 南条文雄 (1849–1927), who was a well-known modern Japanese scholar of Buddhism, and came in contact with the Western Buddhologists in Oxford.[36]

These figures all placed importance on maintaining emphasis on the ‘Chinese tradition’, which was identified with Confucian classics and, in the case of Yang Wenhui, Chinese Buddhist doctrines. Yang founded the Jetavana Vihāra (Zhihuan jingshe 紙洹精舍) in 1908, and the Buddhist Research Society (Foxue yanjiu hui 佛學研究會) in 1910, with the aim of nurturing a modern Buddhist saṃgha. Yang also tried to negotiate different tendencies in his program, fostering coherence between monastic and secular educational systems, and promoting the union of intellectual learning with Pure Land cultivation, as well as the combined study of Madhyamaka and Yogācāra.

The programs issued by Kang Youwei and Cai Yuanpei became the bases of the formation and plans of the next generations of educators, including Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962).[37] Another instance of Cai’s legagy in current Chinese education is the fact that the classification of Five Types of Education (wu yu 五育) that Cai promoted in 1912 have remained as the structure of the learning system in China ever since. It is relevant to mention that Cai Yuanpei’s fivefold division of education was applied to the Buddhist educational system too, and still constitutes the system of classification of the curricula in the Chinese Buddhist seminaries today.[38]

In the same way, Yang’s two main students, the monk Taixu and the lay scholar Ouyang Jingwu 歐陽竟無 (1871–1943),[39] became the main representatives of the second generation of reformist educators in Buddhism who became active in the Republican era: the former initiated a drastic reform of the saṃgha’s structure and system of education, while the latter established new study programs for the laity. The students of Taixu and Ouyang Jingwu formed a third generation of educators, who developed their programs during the Communist regime in China, and set the foundation for later Buddhist institutions in Taiwan.

These projects in secular and Buddhist education occurred simultaneously or were interlinked, as a confirmation of the argument that the making of the state and the making of religion in China were two intertwined and mutually related projects. The new educators were not just embarking on parallel projects, but also participating in dialogue and exchange, so to create a new channel of relations between religion and state.

The First National Conference on Education (quanguo jiaoyu huiyi 全國教育會議), held in 1928, initiated a new era in secular education with the KMT decision to adopt the Three Principles of the People (sanmin zhuyi 三民主義) as core of a new education for the nation. In the same year, the monk Taixu wrote his Buddhist response to that meeting, where he firmly supported the Three Principles of the People the basis of a general educational system (and not merely of a political ideology) — indeed he used the expression education of the Three Principles of the People (sanmin zhuyi de jiaoyu 三民主義的教育), and then proposed his education of the ‘Buddhism for human life’ (rensheng fojiao jiaoyu 人生佛教教育), which he defined as scientific and in line with the new KMT policies. In 1928, Taixu invited the monk Jichen 寄尘, a graduate from the Wuchang Buddhist Institute (Wuchang foxueyuan 武昌佛學院), to teach a course on the Three Principles of the People at the Minnan Buddhist Institute (Minnan foxueyuan 閩南佛學院). The course ran until the end of Taixu’s tenure at Minnan in 1933. In 1927, Taixu had called for the organisation of an International Conference on Education (shijie jiaoyu huiyi 世界教到會議), and planned the theory of a ‘moral and virtuous education of the Great Harmony’ (datong de daode jiaoyu 大同的道德教育) as a form of education embracing the essence of the Three Principles of the People and the core of the Buddhism for the Human Life that could have benefitted the overall society and helped the establishment of world peace.[40] In 1930, Taixu wrote the essay Cong Zhongguo de yiban jiaoyu shuodao seng jiaoyu 從中國的一般教育說到僧教育 and sent it to the minister of education seeking feedback. The KMT minister expressed agreement and support for the projects proposed by Taixu. Taixu’s efforts to present Buddhism as a modern religion for the modern nation continued with the series of lectures that he delivered in the 1930s on the policies of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Ministry of Education concerning the saṃgha, and why he felt that clerical education had to follow the principles of the Nationalist government, especially the Three Principles of the People. He did, however, stipulate that the members of the Buddhist saṃgha were not merely common citizens (putong jumin 普通居民), but rather religious teachers (zongjiaoshi 宗教師).[41] During a lecture at the Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Institute in 1938, Taixu was still rethinking the saṃgha education in parallel with the renewal in secular education but sadly concluded: ‘I realise that the general form of education in China has already created its own methods for improvement, but the clerical education (seng jiaoyu) that we need still lacks a concrete plan for renovation’.[42]

The debates and decisions of these secular and religious educators were all in line with the joint project of nurturing the new citizens (xin jumin 新居民) of a new nation, for the final purpose of creating a new modern China. The sharing of these foundational ideas and intentions was then followed by the creation of similar educational structures and adoption of similar programs of study.

Schooling in Practice: Modernisation, Globalisation, and Nationalism

The major changes in the structures of Buddhist monastic education occurred around the beginning of the twentieth century. This was partly due to the emulation of Western and Japanese institutions, as well as of the influence of Christian colleges built in China. Those major changes involved amendments in the organisation of the educational system and the curricula, and one of the main revisions in the curricula of the schools was the inclusion of foreign languages and scientific subjects.

Previous scholarship has disagreed on when the renewal of Buddhist seminaries started and the very first modern Buddhist institutes were established. While Chen Bing and Deng Zimei considered 1908 (when Yang established his institute) as the year in which monastic educational reforms began in earnest;[43] other scholars have traced the roots of these educational initiatives to a time before Yang. The monk Dongchu 東初 (1908–1977) identified 1898 as the year in which the theoretical foundations of the new clerical education system were established; in other words, they were a product of the ‘Hundred Days’ Reform’. However, according to Dongchu, the years 1914 to 1944 saw the actual establishment of at least 30 Buddhist institutes, and that represented another important turning point in the history of the saṃgha education in China. Dongchu specified that one of the big changes embodied in this new Buddhist education was the shift from a sectarian-doctrinal form of education to a style based on the ‘school’ format (xuexiao hua zhi seng jiaoyu 學校化之僧教育).[44]

The study of science was part of the ‘modern scientific knowledge’ that monks had lacked beforehand, but was then introduced in line with the spirit of practical education.[45] Dongchu was not very enthusiastic about these educational changes, and especially disagreed with the adoption of a program of scientific education, which he argued was turning monasteries into ‘social institutes’ (shehui xuexiao 社會學校).[46] Finally, Holmes Welch considered 1904 to be the year in which real changes occurred in monastic schools, although his study does not mention any specific science program for monks.[47]

The layman Yang Wenhui and the monk Taixu were the first Buddhists who integrated Buddhism with non-Buddhist (or otherwise religious) subjects in their educational programs. However, we need to wait until the second decade of the twentieth century before we see monks studying subjects such as biology and astronomy in Buddhist seminaries. It was Taixu who finally made Buddhist monks study natural sciences such as biology, astronomy and physiology — subjects that he wanted mainly lay teachers to lecture on. Quoting Karl Reichelt writing in 1954:

The leading monk in the new Buddhist movement is the famous T’ai-hsü … . The movement is especially strong in the Wu-han centre. There the Chü-shih have provided T’ai-hsü with the funds necessary for opening a Buddhist academy. This is situated in Wuchang and is styled ‘Fu-hsüeh-yüan’. A group of about sixty students, mostly young monks of good education, listen daily to the eloquent and stirring lectures given by T’ai-hsü and the other ‘Fa-shih.’ The curriculum is practical and includes the study of some of the most urgent secular questions of to-day.[48]

In 1923, Taixu emphasised the importance of monastics receiving a general education (putong jiaoyu 普通教育) that included the study of sciences such as physiology and psychology.[49] In his mind, education in the Buddhist seminary should have been divided into five main levels: a Buddhist institute constituted by three grades (corresponding to the secular elementary and high schools, as well as the university level), the institute of monastic discipline, and finally the graduate program. The elementary and high school programs included the study of mathematics (as in secular schools), while the science classes took place at the university level.[50]

In the early 1920s, Taixu added psychology and biology to the curricula (besides other non-Buddhist subjects such as logic and Western languages), and claimed to have identified similarities between Western psychology and Buddhist Chan 禪 (Zen).[51] In the late 1920s, the curricula of the Minnan Buddhist Institute listed a number of non-Buddhist subjects, such as a gen- eric science program (kexue 科學) and mathematics, as well as history, geography, education policies, the Three Principles of the People, arts, and world religions.[52]

This implementation to the traditional curriculum was only the partial realisation of more ambitious plans that Taixu had drafted in his ‘Reforms of Saṃgha Structures’ (Zhengli sengqie zhidu lun 整理僧伽制度論) in 1915. In the reforms that he had planned for the saṃgha, Taixu also envisioned structures of learning that could update and thus upgrade the current education model; this update implied especially the addition of new subjects to the current monastic education.

For instance, the planned Guangwen Vihāra (Guangwen jingshe 廣文精舍) included the following five departments:

  • the Department of Chinese Languages (hanwen ke 華文科) for the study of classical Chinese, Japanese, Korean
  • the Department of Indian Languages (fanwen ke 梵文科) for the study of Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Manchu
  • the Department of European Languages (ouwen ke 歐文科) for the study of English, German, French, Greek, and Latin
  • the Department of Translation (fanyi ke 翻譯科) for the practice of translation between the languages taught in the other three departments
  • the Department of Miscellaneous Subjects (zuanshu ke 纂述科) for the study of Buddhist history, annual records, gazettes and arts.

Given its emphasis on languages and translation, this vihāra, as Taixu himself admitted, had been planned on the model of Yang Wenhui’s previous Jetavana Vihāra.

The planned Zhongyi Vihāra (Zhongyi jingshe 眾藝精舍) also included five departments and was thought as complementary to the Guangwen Vihāra. The curriculum of the Zhongyi Vihāra included courses on fine arts and literature, logic and mathematics, the study of agriculture, trade, and technology, the study of human sciences (sociology, education, religion, politics, and economics), and sciences such as chemistry, psychology, physics, and physiology. In a more detailed explanation of what was included in the areas of physics and physiology, Taixu listed astronomy, botany, zoology, geology, biology, and the theory of evolution.[53] Obviously, these subjects were still neither very popular nor common in China, and therefore the taxonomy of the courses were translated and explained in a way that would be understandable in the Chinese and Buddhist context.[54] Taixu explained that the subjects taught in the Guangwen and Zhongyi reflected the five classifications of learning (wu ming 五明) that, according to the Mahāyāna tradition, Bodhisattvas have to practice.[55]

Science was also included in the curriculum of the World Buddhicised University (Shijie fohua daxue 世界佛化大學), whose project was drafted in 1925. Here, Taixu laid plans for a college of science (kexue yuan 科學院) that included the curriculum of the vihāra mentioned above.[56]

As discussed above, the new structures and fields of learning were only partly implemented in the modern Buddhist seminaries that had been finally established in the early 1920s. Initially, the Minnan Buddhist Institute was structured into a three-year program. However, in order to face different levels of literacy of the student-monks, Taixu created two distinct programs: the ‘specialisation program’ (zhuanxiu ke 專修科) in two years and for those with a higher level of education, and the ‘regular program’ (putong ke 普通科), in four years and for those with a lesser education; a preparatory phase for those who lack of elementary school was also included in the Minnan system.[57] This was also done in order to mirror the multilevel education in the secular schooling. The curriculum in the initial phase of the Minnan Buddhist Institute (1925) included the study of foreign languages (Japanese and English) in all three years; world history (in the second and third year); natural science (such as biology, chemistry, physics) and social science (including aesthetics, arts, sociology) in all three years; subjects such as psychology, metaphysics and Chinese philosophy in the second year; but Western philosophy and world religions in the third year; and finally the Three Principles of the People were taught for all three years.[58] Policies and contents of the curricula of those seminaries changed further at a later date, which is clearly indicative of the reception that the reformed education that Taixu had planned was receiving in the Buddhist community. If we take Taixu and his institutes as case studies, we can see that the seminaries that he founded in the late 1930s did not require the study of many scientific subjects. Documents from the Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Institute indicate that in the late 1930s, the study of Buddhism and Buddhist languages was integrated with the study of Chinese classics, logic, history and geography, but there is no mention of biology or other natural sciences.[59]

An essential and preliminary part of the project to modernise clerical education was in fact the investigation of secular and religious institutions of higher education overseas. For this purpose, Taixu travelled to Japan (in 1917 and 1925), where he examined local Buddhist seminars for clerics and officially recognised Buddhist academia,[60] and to Europe and the United States (in 1928 and 1929), where he looked at Christian schools, vocational schools and general programs of higher education.[61] In doing this, Taixu followed the path of modernisation undertaken by the reformers of secular schooling in China, who restructured national education policies according to the model provided by the Western and Japanese cases. Indeed the development in the curriculum dated to the 1930s seems to mirror more the systems of learning that were adopted in Buddhist academia in Japan. Besides taking Japanese and Western institutes of learning as reference cases, Taixu had the responsibilities to make the new monastic education fit the overall national system of education (guojia jiaoyu zhidu 國家教育制度).[62]

As stated above, Taixu is the main, but not the only, pioneer in the arrangement of new structures of learning for Buddhist monks and nuns. Yuanying 圓英 (1878–1953) also distinguished himself for his efforts in developing education structures for the saṃgha; the advanced seminaries that he founded included the Yuanming Buddhist Institute (Yuanming foxueyuan 圓明佛學院), which was opened in Shanghai in 1942. However, Yuanying’s education programs never included the secular curriculum that Taixu proposed. Other saṃgha members and Buddhist institutes that have already been documented by Holmes Welch include the Tianning Buddhist Institute (Tianning foxueyuan 天寧佛學院), which was opened at the Tianning Monastery in 1931 in Changzhou 常州 as an upgrade of the previous Tianning Vinaya Hall. TheHongfa Buddhist Institute (Hongfa foxueyuan 弘法佛學院) was the seminary opened at the Guanzong Monastery 觀宗寺 in 1930 in Ningbo; this school was a modernisation of a previous vinaya hall that had been inaugurated by Dixian 諦閑 (1858–1932) in 1913, and that was transformed into a ‘research centre’ (yanjiu she 研究社) in 1918.[63]

The writings on education that Buddhist monks compiled in the first decades of the twentieth century revealed the social and political pressure to create a new Buddhism that could fit the demands of a new China. Chinese people were called to embody a new concept of citizenship, to endorse patriotism, and to defend the nation, and similarly Buddhists of Republican China embarked on a social and political mission. The monk Fafang opined that the monastic community had lost their sense of social responsibility, as well as their sense of belonging to a country, and urged them to regain these:

It cannot be said that once they have left family life [chu jia 出家], monks should also neglect their role in the country [guomin de diwei 國民的地位] … . The monastic community, regardless of whether they are scholar-monks or professionalmonks, are all members of nations, and in any country they have to uphold their national and social duties. Only then they can enjoy the rights guaranteed by their nation. From a more general perspective, it is not only the Buddhist clergy that should be like that; the followers of any religion in any country all over the world have to follow this principle. Buddhists, of course, cannot be an exception.[64]

Fafang affirmed the need for a reformed and socially active Buddhist saṃgha, and argued that this should be achieved through a renewal of the monastic education system, which should, in turn, be aligned with the renewal of China.[65] And even if it was not politically motivated, the training of monastics who were socially useful was generally supported in Buddhist monastic institutions. This shows a clear entanglement between social reality and the religious sphere, and thus between the Buddhist world and China’s ‘awakening’.

There were three ways for Buddhism and Buddhists to be socially and politically engaged in the new China. One was by making the new Buddhist institutes not only the depositary of Buddhist wisdom, but also the point of circulation for certain forms of secular knowledge. Quoting Reichelt:

There was another difficulty; at that time patriotic feelings ran high, and many students of the Academy maintained that it was their right and duty to follow the spirit of the times. In the reading-room were laid out a number of modern periodicals and these contained things both good and evil. Several magazines were not only decidedly atheistic but also anti-religious.[66]

These educational structures were therefore nurturing ‘reformers’ or ‘reformed monks’, and also hiding ‘political rebels’. This was putting Buddhism in a difficult position, and made monastic leaders, Taixu first of all, worried about the reputation of the Buddhist community.[67]

A second way was for Buddhists to present the Dharma as the premier tool for changing society. This was clearly a way to underline the usefulness of Buddhism at a time of anti-religious campaigns. Obviously, in order to create a correct understanding and form of propaganda for the Dharma, Buddhists had to receive a proper education. The monk Xuming 續明 (1919–66) — a colleague of Yinshun — expressed the same thought and intention in Taiwan a few decades later:

What Buddhism hopes for is for you to be able to handle the correct teachings [zheng jiao 正教], to transform and guide the people. And what any society needs is to improve [gailiang 改良] itself, and to change existing habits and customs. In order to achieve this objective, it is naturally essential that we have deep insights into Buddhist studies.[68]

A third social and political aspect of the Buddhist institutes was their role as headquarters for refugees. The best examples of those are found in Taiwan, and to a later period, the mid-twentieth century. The Maitreya Inner Hall (Mile neiyuan 彌勒內院) and the case of the senior monk Cihang 慈航 (1893–1954) is one of them.[69] Whereas Taixu was reforming Buddhist education in Mainland China in a context of national reform, in the mid-twentieth century, political pressures forced the previous group of political and religious reformers to flee to ‘free China’ (ziyou zhongguo 自由中國) Taiwan — in order to nurture new generations of monastics who were one day supposed to return to the mainland and continue reforming Buddhism. Yinshun stated:

Nowadays there are plenty of disasters, and Buddhism in Mainland China is suffering unprecedented calamities as well. If there is a counterattack against Mainland China, you will certainly all have to go back. You must go back, and propagate anew the seeds of the correct Dharma [zhengfa 正法], in that place where Buddhist activities have already decayed.[70]

It is worth noting that this intention was in line with the aims of the KMT. In subsequent decades, however, as the intention to retake China by military force was gradually abandoned in favour of seeking political independence, Chinese monks also altered their objectives. Instead of seeing Taiwan as a place of temporary refuge, they came to regard it as the starting point of a new path.[71]


It is a fair comment that what has happened in Chinese education repre-sents a transformation of the past as well as a transformation along modern times.[72]

With the end of empire, the creation of the Republic and then of the Communist regime, educational reforms were indeed conceived of as the most important undertaking in the effort to rescue the nation. Although named and structured differently, China associated the education mission with Confucius, and for centuries made Confucius the patron saint of the educational endeavour.[73] The twentieth century, with the push towards secularisation and modernisation (and so Westernisation), debated whether to challenge or maintain Confucian ideas and ideals of mentoring and learning.

The particular nature of the Chinese modernisation project involved an intertwined process of making the state and making religion. The contexts of state and religion creating each other through conflict and negotiations found a parallel in the mutual borrowing and confrontation between the secular system of the state and religious education.[74] This article explored the concepts that constituted the theoretical foundations of the secular and Buddhist educational projects, the main individuals involved in the process of renewal, and the institutional structures that represented the concrete application of intellectual ideas to the learning environment.

This study also demonstrated that Buddhists followed the same narrative in which I divided the history of secular education. At the end of the nineteenth century, we see the first debates on reforming Buddhist education, with the early reformers (lay Buddhists, with the first important pioneer being Yang Wenhui) inspired and instructed during their travels to Western countries and Japan. This important step in renovating the saṃgha occurred as a reaction to the state of corruption that Buddhist monastics had reached by that time. The first years of the Republic of China saw the actual establishment of the first modern Buddhist institutes with the first changes in the curricula (mainly addition of foreign languages, mathematics, history), all changes promoted in line of the contemporary reforms in secular schooling. It was between the 1920s and the 1940s that reformer monks made a further step in the path of modernisation, attempting to emulate the Christian colleges built in China mainly by American Protestants, including science classes into the curricula, rearranging the overall structure of Buddhist pedagogy, and reinforcing the dialogue with offices of the government in order to create not just parallels but also a constructive conversations with the KMT. Finally, and similarly to the pioneers of the modern secular education who encountered strong critiques and opposition, Buddhist reformers did not receive full support from the saṃgha for their innovation in education either. Indeed, important senior monks like Dongchu hesitated to embrace the new curricula, the newly formed saṃgha (xin seng 新僧) and the new generation of scholar-monks (xueseng 學僧).

Given the ‘religious question’ (zongjiao wenti 宗教問題) that had been pervasive in China since the end of the nineteenth century, Buddhists were forced, explicitly or implicitly, to comply with the new vision of China as a modern nation.[75] The project of a new saṃgha became based on founding new models of monasteries, education, and social missions. The social and intellectual dynamics examined in this article reveal that an important part of this Buddhist response to the ‘religious question’ was indeed a negotiation within and between state agencies.

Stefania Travagnin
Assistant Professor of Religion in Asia and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia
University of Groningen



1 Glen Peterson, Ruth Hayhoe and Lu Yongling, eds, Education, Culture, and Identity in Twentieth-Century China (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), p.1.

2 For Buddhist universities in Japan see: Eisaburo Nakura 英三郎名倉, ed. Nihon kyōikushi 日本教育史 (Tokyo: Yachiyo, 1984); Makoto Hayashi 淳林, ‘Shūkyō kei daigaku to shūkyōgaku’ 宗教系大学と宗教学, Kikan Nihon shishōshi 季刊日本思想史 72 (2009): 71–88; Makoto Hayashi, ‘General Education and the Modernization of Japanese Buddhism,’ The Eastern Buddhist 43.1/2 (2012): 133–52; Hayashi Makoto’s study ‘The Birth of the Buddhist Universities’ presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, 23 November 2013. Personal accounts of being a student-monk in a Japanese Buddhist academia, as well as the earlier history of the modern Buddhist education in Japan, can be found in Shengyan 聖嚴, Cong dongyang dao xiyang 從東洋到西洋 (Taipei: Dongchu, 1979). For a detailed account of general study in Japan, see Huang Fu-ch’ing, Chinese Students in Japan in the Late Ch’ing Period (Tokyo: The Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1982). For Christian Colleges in mainland China, see, for instance, Daniel H. Bays and Ellen Widmer, eds, China’s Christian Colleges: Cross-Cultural Connections 1900-1950 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).

3 Taixu was born in 1890 at Chongde 崇德, Zhejiang province, with the name Lü Gansen 吕淦森. His tonsure ceremony took place in 1905, and the full monastic ordination in 1907 at the Tiantongsi 天童寺 in Ningbo 寧波 under the monk Jichan 寄禅. Taixu became well known for his plans for reform of Chinese Buddhism, including the threefold reform of the Buddhist Order, teachings and monastic property. In line with his reforms, Taixu founded Buddhist journals such as Haichao yin 海潮音, Fohua bao 佛化報, Fohua xin qingnian 佛化新青年, and Buddhist institutes such as the Wuchang Buddhist Institute (Wuchang foxueyuan 武昌佛學院) in 1922 and the Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Institute (Hanzang jiaoliyuan 漢藏教理院) in 1931; Taixu was also dean of the Minnan Buddhist Institute (Minnan foxueyuan 閩南佛學院) from 1927 to 1933. See Don Pittman, Toward a Modern Chinese Buddhism: Taixu’s Reforms (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2001).

4 Among the main titles, see the following: Don Adams, Education and Modernization in Asia (London: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969); Paul J. Bailey, Reform the People: Changing Attitudes Towards Popular Education in Early Twentieth-Century China (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990); Sally Borthwick, Education and Social Change in China: The Beginning of the Modern Era (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1983); John Cleverley, The Schooling of China: Tradition and Modernity in Chinese Education (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1991); Cong Xiaoping, Teachers’ Schools and the Making of the Modern Chinese Nation-State, 1897–1937 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007); Benjamin A. Elman and Alexander Woodside, Education and Society in Late Imperial China (1600–1900) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Ruth Hayhoe, ed., Education and Modernization: The Chinese Experience (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1992); Theodore E. Hsia, The History of Modern Education in China (Peiping: Peking University Press, 1932); Peterson, Hayhoe and Lu, eds, Education, Culture, and Identity in Twentieth-Century China; Gotelind Müller-Saini, ed., Designing History in East Asian Textbooks: Identity Politics and Transnational Aspirations (London: Routledge, 2011). As for Chinese sources, see Chen Qingzhi 陈青之, Zhongguo jiaoyu shi 中国教育史 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 2009).

5 Bays and Widmer, China’s Christian Colleges; Ji Zhe, ed. Religion, éducation et politique en Chine moderne / Religion, Education, and Politics in Modern China, Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident 33 (2011); Wai-Yip Ho, ‘Teaching Islam to Educate Multiethnic and Multicultural Literacy: Seeking Alternative Discourse and Global Pedagogies in the Chinese context,’ in Tahir Abbas, ed. Islam and Education: Volume II Education in Eastern Europe, Central Eurasia, South Asia and South-East Asia (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), pp.7–29; Yang Derruey, ‘The Education of Taoist Priests in Contemporary Shanghai’ (PhD diss., London School of Economics, 2003); Yang Derruey, ‘Revolution and Temporality: The Modern Schooling of Daoist Priests in Shanghai at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century,’ in eds David Palmer and Xun Liu, Daoism in the Twentieth-Century: Between Eternity and Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012). For an overview of the history of Buddhist education in Chinese see Ding Gang 钢丁, Zhongguo fojiao jiaoyu 中國佛教教育 (Chengdu: Sichuan jiaoyu chubanshe, 2010).

6 Hsia, The History of Modern Education in China, p.19.

7 Prasenjit Duara analysed this factor in Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives in Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).

8 As for the reinvention of the relations between religion and state starting from the end of the Qing, see: Vincent Goossaert and David A. Palmer, The Religious Question in Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); Rebecca Nedostup, Superstitious Regimes: Religion and the Politics of Chinese Modernity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009).

9 See especially Sin-wai Chan, Buddhism in Late Ch’ing Political Thought (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1985); Huang Fu-ch’ing, Chinese Students in Japan in the Late Ch’ing Period (Tokyo: Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1982); D.W.Y. Kwok, Scientism in Chinese Thought 1900–1950 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1965); Y.C. Wang, Chinese Intellectuals and the West 1872–1949 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966).

10 Douglas R. Reynolds, ‘Sino-Foreign Interactions in Education,’ in eds Peterson, Hayhoe, and Lu, Education, Culture, and Identity in Twentieth-Century China, p.29.

11 See Lancelot Forster, The New Culture in China (London: Feorge Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1936).

12 The mid-nineteenth century saw the burst of the Opium Wars (1839–1942 and 1856–1860), and so coincided with a moment of awareness of both the weakness of Chinese civilisation and the power of Western ideologies. Those years created the basis of a time of change and led to new theories in the sphere of education. See Chen, Zhongguo jiaoyu shi, pp.415–500.

13 The year 1898 was characterised by the unfolding of important modern reforms. Specifically within education, 1898 was the year of The Hundred Days’ Reform (wuxu bianfa 戊戌變法) and the movement of funding schools with temple properties (miaochan xingxue 廟產興學). Scholars and politicians, including Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 (1837–1909), Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858–1927) and Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929) were the main advocates of educational reform at the end of the nineteenth century and the following decade (see, for instance Chan, Buddhism in Late Ch’ing Political Thought). They were all involved, each in a different way, in transforming the examination system, promoting the translation of Western works, and encouraging Chinese youth to study abroad (R.P. Scott, ‘The Boxer Indemnity in its Relation to Chinese Education,’ Journal of the British Institute of international Affairs 2.4 (1923): 149–67). These years indeed brought a significant change in the curricula and structure of the schools, and important foreign challenges to Confucianism and the Confucian-based concept of morality. Scientific subjects were introduced in schools as less space was given to Confucian texts; Christian models took over the Confucian system; the imperial examinations (keju 科舉) were abolished (1905); and the traditional figure of the literati (wenren 文人) became gradually replaced by the new concept — rooted in the Western culture — of the intellectuals (Wang, Chinese Intellectuals and the West, pp.vii–xiv). The year 1898 also saw the establishment of Beijing University (Beijing daxue 北京大學), the first Chinese university that was built according to Western models. For more details on education in this period, see Chiang Monlin, ‘Chinese Education: Force for Democracy,’ Far Eastern Survey 14.13 (1945): 181; Chen, Zhongguo jiaoyu shi, pp.503–94.

14 The establishment of the Republic of China in 1911 initiated a second stream of reforms that were based on democratic values. Those years saw the development of what Daniel H. Bays and Ellen Widmer defined as ‘national cross-cultural experiences’, with the increasing number of American Christian colleges built in China (China’s Christian Colleges, pp.xv–xvi). The first decade of the ROC continued encouraging study abroad programs, and especially referred to Japanese education as the main model to emulate. For more details on education in those years, see Chen, Zhongguo jiaoyu shi, pp.597–640.

15 The school reforms in 1922 marked a turning point in the history of education in China, were influenced by the larger quantity of Christian colleges built in various Chinese provinces, and brought the Western system to gradually replace the Japanese models. According to Gang Ding, there were two critical moments in the evolution and revolution of Chinese education in the twentieth century. The first occurred between the 1920s and the 1930s, and involved taking Western theories and systems of schooling as a model for new Chinese institutions of higher learning, while the second occurred from the 1980s and throughout the 1990s (Gang Ding, ‘Nationalization and Internationalization: Two Turning Points in China’s Education in the Twentieth Century,’ in eds Peterson, Hayhoe and Lu, Education, Culture, and Identity in Twentieth-Century China, pp.161–86). This new pattern led to a new understanding and practice of ‘national cross-cultural experiences’, and the birth and formation of a new style of Western (mostly American) leadership in the overall world of Chinese academia and culture. See Barry C. Keenan, ‘Educational Reform and Politics in Early Republican China,’ Journal of Asian Studies 33.2 (1974): 225–37; J.N. Keys, ‘Recent Movements in Chinese Education,’ Phi Delta Kappan 6.2 (1923): 21–23; Harold S. Quigley, ‘The Challenge to American Educational Leadership in China,’ Pacific Affairs 6.7 (1933): 382–86; Zhixin Su, ‘A Critical Evaluation of John Dewey’s Influence on Chinese Education,’ American Journal of Education 103.3 (1995): 302–25; Chen, Zhongguo jiaoyu shi, pp.643–714.

16 Ding, ‘Nationalization and Internationalization,’ pp.161.

17 Borthwick, Education and Social Change in China, p.43.

18 A famous Confucian quote about ‘knowledge’ says that thinking without learning is dangerous, while learning without thinking is useless (‘Zi yue: xue er bu si ce gang, si er bu xue ce dai’ 子曰:学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆, in Lunyu 論語 2:15).

19 Woodside and Elman, ‘Introduction,’ in Education and Society in Late Imperial China, p.3.

20 Borthwick, Education and Social Change in China, pp.38–64.

21 Michael Lackner, Iwo Ameling and Joachim Kutz, eds, New Terms for New Ideas: Western Knowledge and Lexical Change in Late Imperial China (Leiden: Brill, 2001); Michael Lackner and Natasha Vittinghoff, eds, Mapping Meanings: The Field of New Learning in Late Qing China (Leiden: Brill, 2004); Wang Hui, ‘Scientific Worldview, Cultural Debates, and the Reclassification of Knowledge in Twentieth-Century China,’ Boundary 2 35.2 (2008): 125–55.

22 Forster, The New Culture in China, p.173.

23Ding, Zhongguo fojiao jiaoyu, pp.123–54.

24 Ibid., pp.157–65.

25 Ibid., pp.165–74.

26 Ibid., p.167.

27 He Jinlin 贺金林, ‘Qing mo seng jiaoyu hui yu siyuan xingxue de xingqi’ 清末僧教育会与寺院兴学的兴起, Anhui shixue 安徽史学 6 (2005): 28–34.

28Gabrielle Goldfuss, ‘Binding Sutras and Modernities: The Life and Times of the Chinese Layman Yang Wenhui (1837–1911),’ in Studies in Central and East Asian Religions, Vol.9, 1996, pp.54–74; Gabrielle Goldfuss, Vers un Buddhisme du XXe siècle. Yang Wenhui (1837–1911), rèformateur, laïque et imprimeur (Paris: Collège de France, 2001); Lou Yulie 樓宇烈, ed. Yang Wenhui, Ouyang Jian, Lü Cheng-juan 杨文会,欧阳建,吕澂倦 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei jiaoyu, 1996), pp.1–267; Holmes Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968), pp.2–15.

29 Taixu, ‘Lun Jiaoyu’ 論教育 (1924), in ed. Yinshun 印順, Taixu dashi quanshu 太虛大師全書, Vol.23, (The collection of Taixu’s works was edited by Yinshun in 1947-1948, and published in Hong Kong only in 1957), p.1804. Manzhi 滿智, a monk graduate of Taixu’s institutes and later a collaborator with the same Taixu in the education reforms, explained Taixu’s ideas further in the essay ‘Yuanzhang Taixu shangren lun jiaoyu’ 院長太虛上人論教育, in Haichao yin wenku 海潮音文庫, Vol.5, pp.91–95.

30 Su Huichi 蘇慧持 and Wang Jisheng 汪濟生, ‘Dangjin jiaoyu jie zhi genben wenti’ 當今教育界之根本問題, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.153–60.

31 Tang Weihong 唐蔚鴻, ‘Foxue yu jiaoyu zhi guanxi’ 佛學與教育之關係, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.99–102.

32 Huasheng 化聲, ‘Foxue yanjiu zhi lishi guan’ 佛學研究之歷史觀, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.55–76. This article is dated to 1930.

33 Taixu, ‘Shijie foxueyuan yuanqi’ 世界佛學院緣起, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.102–107.

34 Taixu, ‘Quanguo jiaoyu huiyi tiyi’an’ 全國教育會議提議案, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5 (1928): pp.85–91; Tang Dayuan 唐大圓, ‘Daode jiaoyu shuoyao’ 道德教育說要, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5 (1928): pp.128–35.

35 William J. Duiker, Ts’ai Yüan-p’ei. Educator of Modern China (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977), p.2.

36 In 1866 Yang Wenhui established the Jinling Scriptural Press (Jinling kejing chu 金陵刻經處), which was the first Buddhist cultural organisation founded by the laity in modern China. One of the outcomes of the meeting between Yang and Nanjō in England was the return to China of important scriptures dated Sui and Tang dynasties — a total of about 280 texts, more than 1000 fascicles, which were reprinted by the Jinling Scriptural Press. Main sources on the subject are: Chan, Buddhism in Late Ch’ing Political Thought, pp.20-21; Chen Bing 陈兵 and Deng Zimei 邓子美, Ershi shiji zhongguo fojiao 二十世纪中国佛教 (Beijing: Minzu, 2000), pp.103–107; Goldfuss, ‘Binding Sutras and Modernities’, in Goldfuss, Vers un Buddhisme du XXe siècle. Yang Wenhui (1837–1911); Pittman, Towards a Modern Chinese Buddhism, pp.41–50; Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, pp.2–10, 98–100.

37 For more about Hu Shi, see Chou Min-chih, Hu Shih and Intellectual Choice in Modern China (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1984).

38 Zhang Qi 张琪, ‘Xiandai fojiao siyuan de jiaoyu gongneng’ 现代佛教寺院的教育功能, Foxue yanjiu 佛学研究 19 (2000): 106–11.

39 Ouyang Jingwu inherited the management of the Jinling Scriptural Press from Yang Wenhui. In 1912 he established the Chinese Buddhist Association (Zhongguo fojiao hui 中國佛教會), which was ratified by Sun Yat-sen, but never managed to preside over all the Buddhist monasteries in the country. In 1919 Ouyang founded the Chinese Metaphysical Institute (Zhina neixueyuan 支那內學院). Teachers and students of the institutes were lay Buddhists, and the curricula centred on Wei-shi philosophy and Confucian classics. See Holmes Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, pp.117–20; Gotelind Müller, Buddhismus und Moderne (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993), pp.27–30, 100–11.

40 Taixu, ‘Quanguo jiaoyu huiyi tiyi’an’ 全國教育會議提議案, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.85–91. This is an important short article where Taixu analyses how society under capitalism, imperialism and communism cannot experience Great Harmony and peace, while the Datong de daode jiaoyu, which is imbued of Chinese inner values, can contribute to create and maintain peace; the study of religions (zongjiao xue 宗教學) became an essential aspect of this Datong de daode jiaoyu. See also Tang Dayuan 唐大圓, ‘Daode jiaoyu shuoyao’ 道德教育說要, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.128–35.

41 Taixu, ‘Seng jiaoyu zhi mudi yu chengxu’ 僧教育之目的與程序 (1931), in ed. Yinshun, Taixu dashi quanshu, Vol.9, pp.473–80; Taixu, ‘Fojiao yingban zhi jiaoyu yu seng jiaoyu’ 佛教應辦之教育與僧教育 (1931), in Taixu dashi quanshu, Vol.9, pp.481–88; Taixu, ‘Lun jiaoyubu wei ban sengxue shifu neizhengbu ziwen’ 論教育部為辦僧學事覆內政部咨文 (1933), in Taixu dashi quanshu Vol.9, pp.489–92; Taixu, ‘Zhongguo de seng jiaoyu ying zenyang’ 中國的僧教育應怎樣 (1938), in Taixu dashi quanshu, Vol.9, p.492–97; Taixu, ‘Xiandai xuyao de seng jiaoyu’ 現代需要的僧教育 (1938), in Taixu dashi quanshu Vol.9, pp.498–502.

42 Taixu, ‘Zhongguo de seng jiaoyu ying zenyang,’ p.493.

43 Chen and Deng, Ershi shiji zhongguo fojiao, p.112.

44 Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi (Taipei: Dongchu, 1974), pp.203–205.

45 Ibid., p.202.

46 Ibid., p.217.

47 Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, p.103.

48 Karl Reichelt, The Transformed Abbot (London: Lutter Worth Press, 1954), pp.301–302.

49 Taixu, ‘Yi fojiao ban xuefa’ 以佛教辦學法 (1923), in Taixu dashi quanshu, ed. Yinshun, Vol.9, p.468.

50 Taixu, ‘Wo xin jin lixiang zhong zhi foxueyuan wanquan zuzhi’ 我新近理想中之佛學院完全組織 (1923), in Taixu dashi quanshu, Vol.9, p.461.

51 Chen and Deng, Ershi shiji zhongguo fojiao, pp.115–16.

52 Nanputuosi 南普陀寺 ed., Nanputuosi zhi 南普陀寺志 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu, 2011), pp.233–38.

53 Taixu, ‘Zhengli sengqie zhidu lun’ 整理僧伽制度論 (1915), in Taixu dashi quanshu Vol.9, pp.141–45.

54 Ibid., p.145.

55 The same concept is repeated in the Huayan jing 華嚴經, T4 n223: 406b).

56 Taixu, ‘Jinggao yazhou fojiaotu’ 敬告亞洲佛教徒, in Haichao yin wenku, v.5, pp.114–16; Taixu, ‘Shijie foxueyuan yuanqi,’ in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.102–107.

57 Manzhi, ‘Foxueyuan yuanzhang Taixu fashi duiyu xueren zhi xunci’ 佛學院院長太虛法師對於學人之訓辭, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.95–99; Manzhi, ‘Zai Minnan fo-xueyuan zhuanxiuke biye jiangyan ci’ 在閩南佛學院專修科畢業講演辭, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.135–42.

58 See Nanputuosi, Nanputuosi zhi, pp.458–61. Holmes Welch summarised the curricula of Taixu’s seminaries in his The Buddhist Revival in China, pp.110–13.

59 Other debates on the new system and programs of education for the saṃgha published in the 1920s include Qian Chengshan 錢誠善, ‘Fojiao xue wu fang an jianyi’ 佛教學務方案建議, in Haichao yin wenku Vol.5, pp.160–65; Jijing 機警 [is the tonsure name of Daxing 大醒], ‘Foxueyuan yu conglin’ 佛學院與叢林, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.165–74.

60 Shingon, Jōdō and Rinzai groups started opening modernised institutes for educating and training their own clerics in late nineteenth century. The first Buddhist universities to be accredited by the government were Ryūkoku University and Ōtani University (1922), Risshō University (1924), Komazawa University (1925), Taishō University and Kōyasan University (1926). At the time of Taixu’s visits, Buddhist seminaries and universities in Japan did not include life science subjects in their curricula but indeed offered courses on Buddhist history, languages and philosophy. Taixu discussed the theories advanced by Mizuno Me 水野梅晓 (1877–1949) on new Buddhist education programs, and listed lack of funding and lack of adequate teaching staff as the main obstacles to its realisation (see Taixu, ‘Yi fojiao ban xue fa’ 議佛教辦學法, in Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.13–22). In 1923 Kimura Taiken 木村泰賢 (1881–1930) wrote an important paper on ‘Main Policies for Buddhist Studies’ (Bukkyō kenkyu no dai houshin 仏教研究の大方針), where he presented the situation of Buddhist studies in Japan since the Meiji, and his own suggestions for improving structures and curricula. This piece was translated into Chinese and published in the journal Haichao yin , 5.8 (1924): pp1–13. Taixu wrote his own response to Kimura’s positions in the article ‘Du Mucun boshi fojiao yanjiu zhi da fangzhen shu hou’ 讀木村博士佛教研究之大方針書後, see Haichao yin wenku, Vol.5, pp.54–55.

61 In the article ‘Zai Lundun wuxiandian zhong gao quanqiu de foxue tongzhi’ 在倫敦無線電中告全球的佛學同志, Taixu expressed his comments on the situation of Buddhist studies in Europe, especially London and Paris; see Haichao yin wenku,Vol.5, pp.23–26.

62 Details of Taixu’s trips to Japan are included in Taixu, ‘Youji’ 遊記 (1928), in Taixu dashi quanshu, Vol.19. See also Taixu, ‘Lun jiaoyubu wei ban sengxue shifu neizhengbu ziwen’ (1933), in Taixu dashi quanshu, Vol.9, pp.490–91.

63 Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, pp.103–17.

64 Fafang 法舫, ‘Xueseng jinhou zhi lu’ 學僧今後之路, Haichao yin 15.4 (1934): 21–30.

65 Fafang, ‘Xueseng jinhou zhi lu,’ pp.217–34.

66 Reichelt, The Transformed Abbot, p.89.

67 Ibid., p.88.

68 Xuming 續明, Xuming fashi yizhu 續明法師遺著 (Taipei: Huiri jiangtang, 1986), p.1307.

69 For more details on Cihang, see Kan Zhengzong 闞正宗, Taiwan gaoseng 台灣高僧 (Taipei: Puti changqing, 1996), pp.47–91; Charles B. Jones, Buddhism in Taiwan (Honolulu: The University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999) pp.105–11. Cihang’s works have been collected in the Cihang fashi quanji 慈航法師全集, twelve volumes published in 1981.

70 Yinshun, Jiaozhi jiaodian yu jiaoxue 教制教典與教學 (Xinzhu: Zhengwen, 1972), p.216.

71 As for the founding of new Buddhist education in Taiwan, see the following: Hongyin 宏印, ‘Tan seng jiaoyu’ 談僧教育, in Putishu 菩提樹 315 (1979): 32; Zhaohui 昭慧, ‘Cong Taixu dashi dui seng jiaoyu zhi gaige, ping xiandai zhongguo seng jiaoyu zhi fazhan quxiang’ 從太虛大師對僧教育之改革,評現代中國僧教育之發展趨向, in Shizikong 獅子孔 29.1 (1990): 23–29. The Zhonghua Institute of Buddhist Studies edited a volume (Taiwan foxueyuan suo jiaoyu nianlan 台灣佛學院所教育年覽, published in 2002) on the development of the system of Buddhist education in Taiwan from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day, including the period of Japanese occupation, and a detailed account of the main Buddhist institutes established on the island. The introduction of the book lists Yinshun, together with the monks Cihang, Wushang 無上 (1918–66), Baisheng 白聖 (1904–89), Zhixing 智性 (1884–1964) and Shengyin 聖因 (1930–96) as the leading figures in the development of Buddhist seminaries after the Japanese colonial period.

72 Cleverley, The Schooling of China, p.14.

73 Chen Jingpan, Confucius as a Teacher: Philosophy of Confucius with Special Reference to Its Educational Implications (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1990).

74 Yoshiko and Wank, eds. Making Religion, Making the State, pp.1–21.

75 Goossaert and Palmer, The Religious Question in Modern China, pp.2–13.