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The Buddha PartyHow the People's Republic of China Works to Define and Control Tibetan Buddhism$
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John Powers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199358151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199358151.001.0001

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Patriotic Soul Boys and Other Chinese Myths

Patriotic Soul Boys and Other Chinese Myths

(p.92) 3 Patriotic Soul Boys and Other Chinese Myths
The Buddha Party

John Powers

Oxford University Press

The focus of this chapter is the techniques used by the Chinese government to attempt to take control over the system of reincarnating lamas (tulku). It analyzes the historical claims being made that justify it and how the program forces Chinese authorities—who are Marxist materialists and denounce religion as a remnant of feudal superstition—to enter into the logic of a system they do not understand and whose premises they reject. The chapter discusses the origins of the system and its doctrinal background, and it shows how laws are being crafted that require reincarnating lamas to seek official approval to reincarnate. It shows how well-known propaganda techniques are being deployed to convince Tibetans that government intrusion is nothing new and accords with traditional Buddhist practice and how these discourses have failed to convince their target audience.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Religion, propaganda, reincarnating lama

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