Next Article in Journal
The Damned Neighbors Problem: Rousseau’s Civil Religion Revisited
Next Article in Special Issue
Humans as Animals and Things in Pre-Buddhist China
Previous Article in Journal
Why Teach about Religions? Perspectives from Finnish Professionals
Previous Article in Special Issue
What Does It Mean To Be a Badly Behaved Animal? An Answer from the Devadatta Stories of the Pāli Jātakas
Article Menu
Issue 6 (June) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Animals in Medieval Chinese Biographies of Buddhist Monks

Department of Religious Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
Religions 2019, 10(6), 348;
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 21 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
PDF [551 KB, uploaded 7 June 2019]


In this paper, I examine the presentation of animals in medieval Chinese Buddhist biographies. These biographies tell stories about strange animals, whose behavior signals that they are far from ordinary—some local deities, underlings of such deities, or even former friends from a past life. By focusing on two biography collections separated in time by over 100 years, in this paper, I argue that the differing presentation of animals reflects the changing fortunes of Buddhism in China, from its early establishment to its successful reception by the imperial court. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism; China; snakes; birds; tigers; monks; biography Buddhism; China; snakes; birds; tigers; monks; biography
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Shinohara, K. Animals in Medieval Chinese Biographies of Buddhist Monks. Religions 2019, 10, 348.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top