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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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Tibetology with Chinese Characteristics

Tibetology with Chinese Characteristics

(p.130) 4 Tibetology with Chinese Characteristics
The Buddha Party

John Powers

Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with how Marxist ideology pervades scholarship on Tibet and how Marxist discourses that had slipped into disuse for decades are being redeployed in the service of new propaganda relating to Tibet. In particular, it looks at the notion that societies progress in scientifically ordained stages and that scholars who use this methodology can describe the current state of a society and predict its future development. Tibet is persistently described as “feudal,” and its inhabitants are assured that their religion and culture will inevitably decline and disappear as a result of modernity. One of the most significant initiatives in this program is an attempt to redefine Tibetan Buddhism. It proposes to identify certain elements of the tradition that might be compatible with socialism, such as morality and deference to authority, and jettison the rest of the tradition.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Marxism, religion, Tibetan Buddhism, socialism, propaganda, modernity, feudal

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