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Accounts of Buddhist monks and laymen who made offerings of their bodies by fire or other means often hint at larger themes of resistance to state authority and millenarian or Utopian hopes on the part of religious communities. I will put some of these sources, drawn from hagiographical...
In the early medieval period, many Chinese viewed the growing popularity of Buddhism, and the rapid integration of Buddhism into Chinese religious life, as a challenge to their own civilisation. A major aspect of the resistance to the growing dominance of Buddhism was a discourse known as the...
After the fall of the Northern Song (960–1127) capital of Kaifeng to Jurchen invaders in 1127, diasporic literati of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) recreated and revisited its lost sites through textual commemoration, especially in memorabilia literature (biji , lit. ‘brush...
This article discusses Buddhism’s conflicting relation with kingship through an analysis of the figure of the Mahāsammata, the first mythical ruler according to Buddhist scriptures and canonical commentaries. The Mahāsammata, literally the ‘Great Elect’, was a human being elected by the...
The present article examines how classical, early medieval and medieval Taoist sources theorise inequality as an outcome of cosmogonic processes, and how these same sources project eliminating inequality through a reversal of those processes. The first part of the article considers utopias from...
The official corpus of Chinese historiography contains a wealth of valuable information on what may be termed local resistance to the centralised empire in early medieval China (third to sixth century). Sinologists specialised in the study of Chinese religions commonly reconstruct the religious...
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