Over the past century and with varying degrees of success, China has tried to integrate Tibet into the modern Chinese nation-state. In this groundbreaking work, Gray Tuttle reveals the surprising role Buddhism and Buddhist leaders played in the development of the modern Chinese state and in fostering relations between Tibet and China from the Republican period (1912-1949) to the early years of Communist rule. Beyond exploring interactions between Buddhists and politicians in Tibet and China, Tuttle offers new insights on the impact of modern ideas of nationalism, race, and religion in East Asia.
After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, the Chinese Nationalists, without the traditional religious authority of the Manchu Emperor, promoted nationalism and racial unity in an effort to win support among Tibetans. Once this failed, Chinese politicians appealed to a shared Buddhist heritage. This shift in policy reflected the late-nineteenth-century academic notion of Buddhism as a unified world religion, rather than a set of competing and diverse Asian religious practices.
While Chinese politicians hoped to gain Tibetan loyalty through religion, the promotion of a shared Buddhist heritage allowed Chinese Buddhists and Tibetan political and religious leaders to pursue their goals. During the 1930s and 1940s, Tibetan Buddhist ideas and teachers enjoyed tremendous popularity within a broad spectrum of Chinese society and especially among marginalized Chinese Buddhists. Even when relationships between the elite leadership between the two nations broke down, religious and cultural connections remained strong. After the Communists seized control, they continued to exploit this link when exerting control over Tibet by force in the 1950s. And despite being an avowedly atheist regime, with the exception of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese communist government has continued to recognize and support many elements of Tibetan religious, if not political, culture.
Tuttle's study explores the role of Buddhism in the formation of modern China and its relationship to Tibet through the lives of Tibetan and Chinese Buddhists and politicians and by drawing on previously unexamined archival and governmental materials, as well as personal memoirs of Chinese politicians and Buddhist monks, and ephemera from religious ceremonies.
Tuttle's extensive original research lends itself to a lively and detailed account... Essential Reading.
This book offers a nuanced examination of a complicated relationship... Recommended.
Tuttle approaches this complicated history with courage and clarity of perspective... Tuttle has done us a great service.
Zvi Ben-Dor Benite
Gray Tuttle's scholarship is of the first order, and he provides a model other historians of the region would do well to emulate.
Derek F. Maher, East Carolina University
A welcome addition... [that] will serve as an important reference in the related fields for some time to come.
A scrupulous piece of historical scholarship... [that] should be compulsory reading for every journalist or academic working in this area.
An excellent piece of scholarship that definitely deserves reading by anyone interested in the history of either Tibet or China.
[A] stimulating and rich book... an important landmark in the field of both Tibetan and Chinese studies.
As the vanguard of a coming wave of new research, Tuttle's work raises the bar for a reinvigorated field of inquiry.
[An] excellent and important contribution to the history of the religious--and therefore political--relationship between Tibet and modern China.
Eric D. Mortensen
Map: Tibet and Tibetan Buddhist Activity in China
Countering Nationalist Historiography
Transitions: Making National, Going Global
1. Imperial Traditions
Traditions Linking Tibetan Buddhists and Dynastic Rulers
Tibetan Buddhist Intermediaries at the Qing Court
Traditions That Divided Tibet from China Proper
2. Global Forces in Asia (1870s-1910s)
Western Imperialist Commercial Interests in Tibet
Chinese Nationalist Strategies: Designs on Tibet and the Tibetan Response
Racial Ideology in China
3. Buddhism as a Pan-Asian Religion (1890s-1928)
The Shared Interests of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists
The Origins of Chinese Interest in Tibetan Buddhist Teachers and Practices
Tibetan Lamas Teach in China
Chinese Monks Study in Tibet
4. Overcoming Barriers Between China and Tibet (1929-1931)
Barriers to Chinese Studying Tibetan Buddhism
Forging New Links: Lamas Assist Chinese Monks
Sichuan Laity Elicits Government Involvement
The Political Monk: Taixu
5. The Failure of Racial and Nationalist Ideologies (1928-1932)
The Politicization of Lamasí Roles in China
Secular Educational Institutions
Sino-Tibetan Secular Dialogue on Chinese Terms
Failed Rhetoric: Tibetan Autonomy Denied
6. The Merging of Secular and Religious Systems (1931-1935)
Renewed Sino-Tibetan Dialogue on Tibetan Terms
The Zenith of Tibetan Buddhist Activity in China
Political Propaganda Missions by Lamas
7. Linking Chinese and Tibetan Cultures (1934-1950s)
Hybridized Educational Institutions
The Indigenization of Tibetan Buddhism among the Chinese
Postscript: Thoughts on the Present and the Legacy of the Past
The Legacy of the Past
Echoes of Imperialism
Appendix 1: Institutions Associated with Tibetan Buddhism in China
Appendix 2: Correct Tibetan Spellings