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On the Exchange of Beliefs and Practices between Esoteric Buddhism and Daoism in Medieval China



It has become increasingly acknowledged by the scholarly community that Chinese Buddhism and Daoism developed as separate yet closely related traditions in medieval and early pre-modern China through a prolonged interaction spanning many centuries. This inter-relationship contributed much to the formation and further developments of both two religions and impacted their respective belief systems and practices in a number of significant ways. It goes without saying that simplistic notions such as ‘sinification,’ used to explain the impact of Chinese culture on in-coming Buddhism or that of a ‘Buddhist transformation of China’ fall short of elucidating the issues at stake in this inter-religious transformation, which we for want of a better term shall refer to as ‘Buddho-Daoism.’ This workshop will address a number of issues relating to this development, including doctrinal concepts, ritual practices, religious icons, pantheons, literature etc. As such it features elements of both religious systems, not only in dialogue, but also manifesting simultaneously in the same material. The Buddho-Daoist exchange will be further highlighted through two presentations on developments outside China proper.