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Tibeto-Mongol and Chinese Buddhism in Present-day Hohhot, Inner Mongolia: Competition and Interactions

Abstract : This chapter investigates the architecture, icons, and activities of two Buddhist monasteries of the Old City of Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China: the (Tibeto-)Mongol Yeke juu (Ch. Dazhao[si]) and the Chinese Buddhist Guanyinsi. In it, I present a global view of the Buddhist revival of the Mongol monasteries of Hohhot since the 1980s, with a focus on the material culture-architecture, cult objects, and "decoration"-of the sites. These monasteries survived in the 1980s and 1990s with many difficulties, and since the 2000s, while the old city was being destroyed, have benefited from an economic boom, the rise of ancient and new forms of religiosities, and the rapid development of tourism. Yet, under the constraints of bureaucratic control, monasteries have limited autonomy and face many difficulties such as isolation from the rest of the Buddhist world, especially that of Tibet and Mongolia, adaptation to modern life and the market economy, and folklorization. The main challenge, however, is sinicization: though monk communities are still ethnically divided, this is no longer the case of lay devotees, the majority of whom are Han Chinese. Considering the fact that the majority of their donors are Han Chinese, how does this affect the physical appearance of these monasteries? My aim is to analyze the competition between these two monasteries, the religious interactions, influences, and exchanges between Mongol and Chinese Buddhisms in Hohhot (including syncretic tendencies within the monasteries) and the impact that they have had on the city: to wit, how does the city change religion(s) and religion(s) in turn change the city?
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Submitted on : Friday, August 27, 2021 - 9:54:46 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, August 29, 2021 - 3:15:41 AM

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Isabelle Charleux. Tibeto-Mongol and Chinese Buddhism in Present-day Hohhot, Inner Mongolia: Competition and Interactions. Sino-Tibetan Buddhism across the Ages, 5, 2021, Studies on East Asian Religions. ⟨halshs-03327320⟩

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