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Making Saints in Modern China$
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David Ownby, Vincent Goossaert, and Ji Zhe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190494568

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190494568.001.0001

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The “New Clothes” of Sainthood in China

The “New Clothes” of Sainthood in China

The Case of Nan Huaijin

10 (p.349) The “New Clothes” of Sainthood in China
Making Saints in Modern China

Catherine Despeux

David Ownby

Oxford University Press

Over the course of his long life, Nan Huaijin embodied the role of independent master of China’s spiritual traditions. Living in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States, he wrote books on Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism that became bestsellers in mainland China as learned guides to popular practice. He attracted wealthy followers, dispensing worldly and spiritual counsel in return for their connections and influence, which he used to pursue his diverse goals. One of these goals was the reunification of China and Taiwan, and he helped to engineer talks between the two sides, which ultimately failed. Late in life, he returned to his childhood home in Zhejiang on the mainland to establish a school and a cultural center, allowing him to continue to seek out the wealthy and powerful among the mainland Chinese elite in an effort to bring China’s spiritual traditions back to China proper.

Keywords:   Nan Huaijin, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Chan, Buddhism

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