This project explores the global spread of the two Taiwanese religious organizations Foguangshan (“Buddha’s Light Mountain”) and Yiguandao (“Way of Pervading Unity”) by studying their transnational religious spaces. Particularly since the gradual relaxation of political restraints in 1980s Taiwan, both religious organizations have started to spread their religious and cultural traditions on a global scale. Their endeavours connect, cross, and inhabit countries affected by Chinese migration as well as facilitate cross-border spatial arrangements such as transnational communities (including Chinese diaspora/Chinese cultural sphere/Buddhism). By focusing on three primary field sites, namely South Africa, the United States, and East Asia (China and Japan), and applying the methodological framework of multi-sited ethnography, we aim to understand the transnational organizational structures, the creation of transnational social spaces, and the dynamics of central control and decentralization of the two religious organizations.
This project is a part of the Collaborative Research Centre “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”, which deals with questions like what characterizes the spaces made by people, how they relate to one another, and whether resulting spatial orders are becoming increasingly complex within the context of globalization processes. Of all projects at this centre, this project is the only one dealing specifically with religion and processes of spatialization under the global condition.
This project explores the global spread of the two Taiwanese religious organizations Foguangshan (“Buddha’s Light Mountain”) and Yiguandao (“Way of Pervading Unity”) by studying their