Mount Jizu: The Creation and Development of a Buddhist Sacred Site in Dali


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




This study examines the transformation of Mt. Jizu in Dali from a local mountain to a regional, national, and international pilgrimage destination. It explores how this development reflects the aspirations of marginalized ethnic groups, such as Bai, Nakhi, and Tai, to reclaim their religious and cultural identities in the face of political changes. The construction of Mt. Jizu as a Buddhist sacred site serves as a means for these ethnic groups to reestablish their connection to the religious and civilized center, despite their loss of central status in geopolitical competition. Buddhism, with its translocal and transnational nature, offers cultural capital for these marginalized groups to reconstruct their social identities within the new empires.