CERES-Palais, Raum "Ruhrpott" (4.13)
Lunchbox guest lecture in English given by Gareth Fisher (Syracuse)
Lay Buddhism is the fastest growing religious movement in China today. As such, it is embroiled in a complicated dance with the communist, atheist state which, on the one hand, seeks to promote it as a source of China's cultural heritage, but, on the other, is concerned about losing control of the religion's spread and influence. Based on long term ethnographic research on lay Buddhist practice and social organization, this presentation will explore how urban lay Buddhists in 2010s China are taking advantage of the state's openness to the spread of Buddhism as a form of cultural heritage to create spaces for the practice and discussion of Buddhism in semi-public settings such as teahouses. In this way, lay Buddhism is spreading even as the state exerts greater control over traditionally Buddhist religious spaces such as temples.