On the Earthly Buddha: Taiwanese Buddhism, Capitalism, and Worldliness
This piece discusses the relationship between Buddhism and capitalism as well as depicts the role of Buddhist groups, associations, and organizations in modern Taiwan, especially the "trio" Fo Guang Shan, Tzu Chi Foundation, and Dharma Drum Mountain, in developing economic activities and humanitarian works. Furthermore this piece will review "theological bases" of current Taiwanese Buddhism - its religious ethics and teachings - in relation to the "worldly matters" (e.g. economics and other humanistic issues), and look at the historical roots of the above contemporary reformist Buddhist groups. Influenced by the works of Weber, this article reexamines his classical and controversial thesis regarding non-Western religions, especially Buddhism, and its linkage to the spirit of capitalism and worldliness.