Not Far from Anywhere

James Carter

in Heart of Buddha, Heart of China

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398854
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894413 | DOI:
Not Far from Anywhere

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The first quarter of Tanxu’s life was dominated by war, death, and dislocation. Figuring prominently in this chapter is Tanxu’s (then called Wang Futing) death and encounter in the underworld with the King of Hell. Illustrating cultural perceptions about the afterlife and social roles, Tanxu negotiates that he be allowed to live again, in part because he is his parents’ only surviving child. Returning to life, Tanxu began a career as a merchant and clerk, which was disrupted by the Sino-Japanese War (1894–5), the Boxer Uprising (1899–1900), and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5). Observing China’s relative weakness in these conflicts, Tanxu began to construct his sense of Chinese nationalism, which included drawing on foreign technology and ideas, but focused on building a strong moral foundation for China.

Keywords: Tianjin; Dalian; afterlife; cholera; Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895); Russo-Japanese War; Boxer Uprising; death experiences; syncretism

Chapter.  11910 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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