The Transnational Cult of Mount Wutai

Historical and Comparative Perspectives


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The Transnational Cult of Mount Wutai explores the pan-East Asian significance of sacred Mount Wutai from the Northern Dynasties to the present day. Offering novel readings of comparatively familiar visual and textual sources and, in many cases, examining unstudied or understudied noncanonical materials, the papers collected here illuminate the roles that both local actors and individuals dwelling far beyond Mount Wutai’s borders have played in its making and remaking as a holy place for more than fifteen hundred years. The work aims to contribute to our understanding of the ways that sacred geography is made and remade in new places and times.

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Susan Andrews, Ph.D. (2012), Columbia University, is Associate Professor of East Asian Religions at Mount Allison University. Her research explores sacred place and pilgrimage, Buddhism’s interactions with autochthonous forms of practice, the economics of religious life, and participative pedagogy.
Jinhua Chen is a professor at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at several major universities, including Tokyo University (2003-04), Stanford (2012) and Capital Normal University (2019-20). He has published extensively on state-church relationships, monastic (hagio/)biographical literature, Buddhist sacred sites, relic veneration, Buddhism and technological innovation in medieval East Asia.
Kuan Guang, Ph.D.(2010), SOAS, is a Research Fellow in Chinese Buddhism at King’s College, London. Kuan Guang's principle research interests lie in the history and texts of Chinese Buddhism, with a particular expertise and interest in translating classical Chinese Buddhist and historical texts. His current study is focused on Ming Buddhist history, particularly on an internationally well-known Buddhist pilgrimage centre Wutai Shan.

Figures and Tables
Susan Andrews and Chen Jinhua

Part 1: Court Patronage and State Control

 1 From Mount Wutai to the Seven Jewel Tower: Monk Degan and Political Propaganda of the Wuzhou Period
Yinggang Sun
 2 Faith and Realpolitik: Tang Dynasty Esoteric Buddhism at Mount Wutai
Geoffrey Goble
 3 Monastic Officials on Wutai Shan under the Ming dynasty
Kuan Guang
 4 Beyond Seeking for Sacredness: Shedding New Light on the Carving of the Jiaxing Canon on Mount Wutai
Dewei Zhang

Part 2: Pilgrims and Sacred Sites

 5 A Japanese Pilgrim’s Visit to Wutai in the Winter of
Robert Borgen
 6 The Pilgrimage Account of Duke Miγvačir of Alaša to Mount Wutai in
Isabelle Charleux
 7 Visions in Translation: A Qing-Gelukpa Guidebook to Mount Wutai
Wen-shing Chou
 8 Mount Wutai and Mañjuśrī in Old Uigur Buddhism
Peter Zieme
 9 How Important is Mount Wutai? Sacred Space in a Zen Mirror
T.H. Barrett

Part 3: Changing Practices at Mount Wutai

 10 Lama Nenghai’s imprint on Mount Wutai: Sino-Tibetan Buddhism among the Five Plateaus since the 1930s
Ester Bianchi
 11 The Pure Land Teachings of Fazhao and the Mañjuśrī Cult of Mount Wutai
Sheng Kai
 12 Fazhao Jin Bifeng, and Constructed Histories of Buddhist Chant and Music at Mount Wutai
Beth Szczepanski

Part 4: Replicating Mount Wutai

 13 The Legacy of the True Visage: The Mañjuśrī Statues at Zhenrong yuan and Shuxiang si of Mount Wutai
Sun-ah Choi
 14 Khotan and Mount Wutai: The significance of Central Asian actors in the making of the mountain cult
Imre Hamar
 15 Transnational Mountain Cult, Local Religiopolitical and Economic Concerns: Mount Wutai and the Kamakura period miracle tales of Tōnomine
Susan Andrews
 16 The Emergence of the “Five-Terrace Mountain” Cult in Korea
Sangyop Lee
 17 Flying Mañjuśrī and Moving Mount Wutai Towards the Xi Xia Period: As Seen from Dunhuang Caves
Wei-Cheng Lin
This work will be of great interest to not only Buddhist Studies scholars but also individuals in fields including Religious Studies, History, and Asian Studies.
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