In looking at digital Buddhist communities in the Chinese-speaking world, this article joins Peter Van Der Veer in his call for “more poetic accounts” of urban life in Asia and the “practical, everyday urban aspirations to “self-cultivation” and “self-presentation” (van der Veer, 2015: 3). The phrase “technologies of salvation” is advanced as a potential cornerstone for contemporary urban Buddhist life. Following John Lardas Modern’s conception of “the ever-evolving habitus of techno-modernity” (2013: 184), this article argues that urbanites who live in post-secular China and Sinophone Asia’s city-regions––Beijing, the Shanghai-Suzhou-Hangzhou-Ningbo corridor, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei––find solace and purpose in Buddhist technologies of salvation and digital religious goods that blur the boundaries between local and global, private and public. The study of the communicative fabric of the social media life of elite clerics sheds light on the role that digital technology plays in the processes of re-articulation of their relationship with practitioners. Examining the spheres of pious self-making and social imaginary that are opened up by Buddhist technoculture, this article suggests that deep-rooted attitudes towards the circulation of knowledge and charisma inform the current recuperation of monastic ideals and the production of digital “dharma treasures” (fabao 法宝). These are key to establishing and maintaining local, trans-regional, and international networks of online and offline followers. The hyperspace-biased conversations within and around urban Buddhism represent a development of significance and complexity. Buddhist lives, I argue, are produced and mediated by the ever-expanding incidence of clerical blogging and engagement with the smartphone-based social media platform WeChat (weixin 微信).
|Titolo:||Technologies of Salvation: (Re)locating Chinese Buddhism in the Digital Age|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Articolo su rivista |