I just stumbled across this book Anarchy in the Pure Land. I think it will be of interest to those of us with connections to Chinese Buddhism, like @cdpatton . However, anyone interested in the history of Buddhism, especially in different attempts to “modernized” it, would probably enjoy it. I haven’t read much of it yet, but it’s already quite good. I hadn’t ever heard of Taixu or the school he started before finding this book. I’ve also always been quite interested in Chinese Buddhism during this period (just before the Communist revolution).
This dissertation addresses an apparent anomaly of Republican-era reform Buddhism: Why did reformers who are often portrayed as demythologized and deritualized seek to promote devotion to the bodhisattva Maitreya and to secure rebirth in his heavenly paradise? I attempt to resolve this apparent contradiction by developing a theorization of alternative modernities derived from Charles Taylor’s analyses of the moral dimensions of modernity. I argue that the cult of Maitreya was reinvented by Taixu, the leader of the reform movement, in order to articulate a vision that provides a place for two hypergoods—Buddhahood and Utopia, perfected self and perfected society
This dissertation was published as a book, but I found the original dissertation online. @moderators is it OK to post a link to the dissertation? Or would that be a IP violation?