From Universal Saint to Sectarian Saint
Born on the mainland, Jingkong moved to Taiwan with the Guomindang and became a Pure Land monk in the 1950s. Blocked by the conservative Buddhist establishment in Taiwan, he developed a following elsewhere, notably in Australia and Singapore. He employed various technological means of offering his teachings at a distance—first audio- and videocassettes, and ultimately the Internet and podcasts—and his patient explanations of his favorite scriptures won many followers. Jingkong was well-positioned to take advantage of the spiritual hunger that marked the post-Mao period; he quickly established a following in the 1990s, using his technological mastery to build networks and win adepts. At the same time, his success and his “sectarian” emphasis on exclusive practice of his Pure Land teachings excited the jealousy of competitors and attracted the attention of state religious authorities.
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