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A study on the Buddhist thought of Ven. Master Hongyi

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Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies


Long, Darui
Shakya, Miroj
Gabriel, Victor


Master Hongyi 弘一 (1880–1942), original name Li Shutong, was an outstanding representative of the Chinese modern cultural movement during the time of the Republic of China. One of the four renowned Buddhist monks from the Republic of China, he is widely considered to be the eleventh patriarch of the Vinaya school of Chinese Buddhism. He accomplished remarkable achievements in both the secular world and the Buddhist society. Not only during the period of the Republic of China but also today, Master Hongyi has been a very influential figure in Chinese Buddhism. This dissertation takes Master Hongyi's works as its main object of research. Referring to commemorative documents written by his relatives, friends, and students, the dissertation aims to analyze and present his profound thoughts on Buddhism and great contributions to Buddhism.

This dissertation first reviews the life and work of Master Hongyi and then explores the causes and conditions of his Buddhist ordination to analyze the characteristics and origins of his faith and beliefs with regard to Buddhism. On the level of his Buddhist thought, exploring his collation of the Nanshan Vinaya works, lectures and disseminations, and his practice of Vinaya precepts, it explores the connotations and characteristics of Master Hongyi’s thought on Buddhist precepts and presents his contributions to the Vinaya school of Chinese Buddhism. Further, based on Master Hongyi’s commentaries, annotations, lectures, and letters to relatives and friends, this dissertation also discusses the ideological connotations and characteristics of Hongyi’s thought in the Pure Land school and Huayan school. Through examining Master Hongyi’s practice of reciting the Buddha’s name in the Pure Land school and his interpretation of caring for the dying, this research explores Master Hongyi’s views on living and dying. In addition, this dissertation also views in conjunction the compassionate spirit of Buddhism and the social environment of the time to study his views on protecting life and protecting the country. Regarding Buddhist social engagement, by exploring Master Hongyi’s Yangzheng Yuan(養正院)in Xiamen and his cultivation of students, this dissertation analyzes his views on and contributions to the education of the sangha.

Degree Granter

University of the West



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