2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

The Significant Role of Music in Chinese Buddhism
Esther Chu
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Chinese Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in China, introduced in 65 C. E. during the reign of Emperor Han Mingdi. Chinese Buddhist music has contributed many artifacts, including musical instruments and specific concepts of life, which have certainly influenced the modern-day Peoples Republic of China. Despite early rapid growth, Chinese Buddhism suffered a huge setback during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) led by Mao Tse-Tung: then, an image of a city god would be labelled a tyrannical landlord; Goddess of Mercy Kuan-Yin called a ruined woman; and Lord Buddha termed a robber. Additionally, Buddhist monks were forced by the Red Guards to parade through streets wearing the dress of Christian ministers, and Buddhist monasteries were shut down. Despite the suppression of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Buddhism has managed to preserve its tradition and practices, including its music, from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E. 220 C.E.) to the present time.

Keywords: China, Buddhism, Musical instruments, Tradition, Music, Cultural Revolution


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 211-4
Location: MG 2090
Time: 11:45

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