The Multiplicity of Chinese and Indian Religions: A Critical Reappraisal of the Notion of “Eastern Religion”

Researching Global Religious Landscapes - A Methodology between Universalism and Particularism - Peter Nynäs

Måns Broo [+-]
Åbo Akademi University
Dr. Måns Broo is lecturer in the Study of Religions at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and an associate research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. His research interests include historical and contemporary forms of yoga, Gaudiya Vaishnavism and globalised Hinduism. His most recent monograph is a Finnish translation of the Shandilya- and Narada-bhakti-sutra (Gaudeamus 2021).
Ruby Sain [+-]
Jadavpur University / Adamamas University
Having completed her studies from University of Kalyani (B.A.,M.A., Ph.D.), professor Ruby Sain has been serving the profession of Sociology for over 30 years at Jadavpur University and then joined at Adamamas University as Emeritus Professor. She established the Centre for the Study of Religion and Society at Jadavpur University and founded the Jadavpur University Journal of Sociology. In addition she has served as Guest Faculty at University of Manitoba, Lund University , Gothenborg University, University of California , Grand Valley State University, and been Visiting Fellow in Oxford University and developed research collaborations with many of these and other universities. She has published several articles and book chapters and among her many edited or authored books we find titles such as “Sociology of Religion: Past, Present and Future”, “Contemporary Social Problems in India”, “Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Society and “The Future of Religious Studies in India“.

Description

The distinction between “Eastern” and “Western” religion has often been used as a generic model for comprehending basic distinctions in the study of religion as well as in relation to debates on religious change in the West. Campbell (2007) discussed the Western understanding of “Eastern religions” marking a watershed in contemporary religious change. But what really are this “Eastern” religions, outside the desk of scholars? This chapter explores Campbell’s basic model and in particular questions the inherent stereotypical assumption of “Eastern” or “Asian” religion (see e.g. Hamilton 2002). Embedded in the rich mixed methods material, the chapter points to the inherent and neglected diversity in the Asian countries the People’s Republic of China (henceforth, China), and India. Our results show that while categories such as “Muslim,” “Buddhist” and “Taoist” are naturally useful in many ways, they tell us little about the types of worldviews that the young university students studied here hold as additional and relevant crossings of the lines of religious affiliation are significant.

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Citation

Broo, Måns; Sain, Ruby. The Multiplicity of Chinese and Indian Religions: A Critical Reappraisal of the Notion of “Eastern Religion”. Researching Global Religious Landscapes - A Methodology between Universalism and Particularism. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2024. ISBN 9781800503915. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=44298. Date accessed: 07 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44298. Feb 2024

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