ABSTRACT

On August 10, 1945, when the Japanese emperor announced the unconditional surrender of Japan, almost a half-century of Japanese incursion (1895–1945) and eight years of the Anti-Japanese War (1937–1945) finally ended. Although Chinese people had long expected the coming of the day of victory, the sudden surrender of Japan pleasantly surprised many Chinese, who were not yet prepared to undertake the task of rebuilding the nation. Similarly, numerous temples were either occupied or destroyed; Buddhist practices were disoriented; monks and nuns suddenly faced the tremendous task of rebuilding Chinese Buddhism nationwide. During the war, no charismatic figure, either monk or lay Buddhist, emerged in the Japanese-occupied areas to provide a united leadership for Buddhist institutions, which were much divided and influenced by Japanese Buddhism and politics. Although some well-known monks such as Taixu in the areas controlled by resistance forces continued to play a leading role in organizing Buddhist activities, and the victory of the war would reward them for their service to the nation, the challenge was great for them to unite all Chinese Buddhists divided by the war and to reorganize the Chinese Buddhist Society disorganized during the war. In this chapter, we will outline how Buddhist reform was carried out after the end of the war and the problems such reform encountered. However, before that, we should reexamine Taixu's views on war and nationalism and his attitude toward the peace and internationalism.