Modernization or globalization?

Authored by: Lionel Obadia

Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415635035
eBook ISBN: 9781315758534
Adobe ISBN: 9781317636465


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In spring 2013, in Lyon, France, a group of Chinese Buddhists in yellow robes took part in a conference at a local university of social sciences and humanities. The group was led by the head monk of the Beijing Longquan Monastery, who was touring France and Europe, after having sent out proposals to give talks on Buddhism. The conference was nothing more than a classical presentation of Buddha’s teachings and an attempt to present the official doctrine of this Buddhist school. After Lyon, the group left for Paris, before continuing their tour of other large European cities. In the almost empty amphitheater, nobody, except the members of the delegation, was of Asian origin. The rest of the audience was composed of a handful of students, one or two persons “interested in Buddhism” after having reading books on the subject, and a French monk wearing a purple robe. The French monk headed a group of Western converts and practitioners in a Tibetan-oriented community affiliated to the New Kadampa Tradition. He was of French origin and has been trained in France, under the supervision of Tibetan monks. The content of the conference was a recurrent topic of the last three decades: the “relevance of Buddhism for modern times.”

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