White Lotus Society

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A Chinese secret society. It had religious affiliations, tracing its origins to a Buddhist monk of the 4th century ad. The lotus, springing unsullied from the mud, is a Buddhist symbol. In times of trouble, its leaders preached of the coming of the Buddha and of the establishment of a new dynasty. Its supporters, bound by blood ceremonies and claiming magic powers, came from an impoverished peasantry. Major risings occurred in the mid‐14th century during the decline of the Yuan dynasty, and from 1796 to 1804, when they successfully opposed Manchu troops in southern Shaanxi province. This setback weakened Chinese belief in the invincibility of the Manchu troops and the authority of the Qing dynasty.

Subjects: Religion — World History.

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