This book explores the remarkable religious renaissance that has reformed, revitalized, and renewed the practices of Buddhism and Daoism in Taiwan. Democracy's Dharma connects these noteworthy developments to Taiwan's transition to democracy and the burgeoning needs of its new middle classes. Richard Madsen offers fresh thinking on Asian religions and shows that the public religious revival was not only encouraged by the early phases of the democratic transition but has helped to make that transition successful and sustainable. Madsen makes his argument through vivid case studies of four groups—Tzu Chi (the Buddhist Compassion Relief Association), Buddha's Light Mountain, Dharma Drum Mountain, and the Enacting Heaven Temple—and his analysis demonstrates that the Taiwan religious renaissance embraces a democratic modernity.
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A Note on Romanization
1. The Taiwanese Religious Context
2. Tzu Chi: The Modernization of Buddhist Compassion
3. Buddha’s Light Mountain: The Buddhist Contribution to Democratic Civil Religion
4. Dharma Drum Mountain: Transcendent Meaning in a Broken World
5. The Enacting Heaven Temple: Hybrid Modernity
Richard Madsen is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is coauthor of Habits of the Heart(UC Press, 1985) and The Good Society (1991), and is the author of China’s Catholics (UC Press, 1998) and many other books.
“Rich historical and phenomenological detail.”—Buddhadharma
"Madsen is a genial and well-informed guide, both to social-political change in Taiwan and to the ins and outs of religious movements. His engaging writing skillfully interweaves profound insights and themes into the descriptive analytical narrative. Democracy's Dharma
presents new material based on recent research while offering a fresh spin on thinking about Asian religions."—Thomas Gold, editor of Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi