Chinese Buddhism and ethnic identity in Catholic Philippines

Contemporary Buddhism 13 (2):241-262 (2012)
In the waning years of Spanish colonization in the Philippines, the ethnic Chinese there began gathering in private homes to carry out devotions to the bodhisattva Guanyin. These seeds of Chinese Buddhism in the Philippines bore fruit as temples began to be built during the American colonial period, and peaked in the decades following the Second World War. Based on fieldwork and the review of available literature, this article traces the development of Chinese Buddhism in the Philippines up to the present time, and argues that religion played an important role in the preservation of ethnic identity for the Chinese Buddhists of the Philippines. This experience will be contextualized through references to the practice of Chinese Buddhism in other overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, and the efforts of Christian churches in the Philippines to link religion and Chinese identity
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