Translocal Chinese Religiosity in Southeast Asia: Kek Lok Monastery and the Rise of Chinese Monastic Buddhism in Penang, 1887 to 1987


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


Chinese Studies


This study brings to light the late-nineteenth century pioneering introduction of Chinese monastic Buddhism to Malaya and its dramatic transformation of the socio-political and religious milieus of the Straits Settlements’ Chinese community and their evolving relations with China. This dissertation examines an important case of propagation, establishment, institutionalization, and perpetuation of Chinese Buddhist monasticism in Southeast Asia. My findings offer new insight into the modern interconnections and trans-regional religious exchanges between this monastic Buddhism in Malaya and Buddhist monastic communities in Fujian Province and later in Taiwan and their influence on Chinese Buddhist modernism.