State, Bureaucracy and the Formation of Regional Vinaya Traditions in Tang Buddhism


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Department of Languages and Cultures


The aim of this project is to explore regional vinaya monastic communities in Tang China. These groups are identified through analysis of epigraphic sources and contextualized within the religious and social landscapes of specific localities. It is argued that the An Lushan Rebellion of 755 caused significant depopulation in China’s imperial heartland and the mass migration of adherents of the vinaya tradition to the southern regions. The consequent dissemination of vinaya throughout southern China occurred in parallel with an enhancement of regional society due to an influx of state bureaucrats, literati and military men, many of whom engaged with their local Buddhist communities.