Monastic Wealth in Qing China’s Buddhist Inner Asia
Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History, Mount Holyoke College
Abstract: How did monasteries amass wealth in Qing China’s Buddhist Inner Asia? How did the Qing imperial enterprise affect Buddhist praxis on the ground? In this lecture, I will discuss a wide range of practices that brought wealth into Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the eighteenth century. At the center of my study is the making of Beijing’s Yonghegong, which exemplified the evolving practices that contributed to the proliferation of wealthy Buddhist communities across Inner Asia. Through a study of land transfer deeds, administrative paper trail, and letters, I explore how the Qing imperial state crafted a new relationship between the laity and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and in turn shifted its own imperial undertakings in that process.