The Fajie Fojiao Zonghui: Rethinking Monasticism, Moral Selfhood, and Modernity


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


This dissertation explores modern Chinese Buddhist monasticism and the cultivation of moral personhood through the first ethnographic study of Master Xuan Hua's (1918-1995) transnational Buddhist monastic organization, the Fajie Fojiao Zonghui (Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, DRBA). Using the DRBA as a case study, this study situates the phenomenon of religious conservativism within a larger program of self-cultivation that promotes a particular vision of moral personhood. I show that this vision is inextricably modern, and has much to contribute to current discussions of personhood, agency, and ethics in the broader field of Buddhist Studies.