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 ChinaIntroductionCountering Nationalist HistoriographyTransitions: Making National, Going Global1. Imperial TraditionsTraditions Linking Tibetan Buddhists and Dynastic RulersTibetan Buddhist Intermediaries at the Qing CourtTraditions That Divided Tibet from China Proper2. Global Forces in Asia (1870s-1910s)Western Imperialist Commercial Interests in TibetChinese Nationalist Strategies: Designs on Tibet and the Tibetan ResponseRacial Ideology in China3. Buddhism as a Pan-Asian Religion (1890s-1928)The Shared Interests of Chinese and Tibetan BuddhistsThe Origins of Chinese Interest in Tibetan Buddhist Teachers and PracticesTibetan Lamas Teach in ChinaChinese Monks Study in Tibet4. Overcoming Barriers Between China and Tibet (1929-1931)Barriers to Chinese Studying Tibetan BuddhismForging New Links: Lamas Assist Chinese MonksSichuan Laity Elicits Government InvolvementThe Political Monk: Taixu5. The Failure of Racial and Nationalist Ideologies (1928-1932)The Politicization of Lamasí Roles in ChinaSecular Educational InstitutionsSino-Tibetan Secular Dialogue on Chinese TermsFailed Rhetoric: Tibetan Autonomy Denied6. The Merging of Secular and Religious Systems (1931-1935)Renewed Sino-Tibetan Dialogue on Tibetan TermsThe Zenith of Tibetan Buddhist Activity in ChinaPolitical Propaganda Missions by Lamas7. Linking Chinese and Tibetan Cultures (1934-1950s)Hybridized Educational InstitutionsThe Indigenization of Tibetan Buddhism among the ChinesePostscript: Thoughts on the Present and the Legacy of the PastThe Legacy of the PastEchoes of ImperialismAppendix 1: Institutions Associated with Tibetan Buddhism in ChinaAppendix 2: Correct Tibetan Spellings