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The Modern Spirit of AsiaThe Spiritual and the Secular in China and India$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128146

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128146.001.0001

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Spirituality in Modern Society

Spirituality in Modern Society

Chapter:
(p.35) Chapter 2 Spirituality in Modern Society
Source:
The Modern Spirit of Asia
Author(s):

Peter van der Veer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691128146.003.0002

This chapter illustrates how in the nineteenth century the category of spirituality received a global modern meaning. It became part of an alternative modernity in different places around the globe. In India and China indigenous forms of spirituality were invoked as alternatives to Western imperialism and materialism. Spiritual superiority became part of Pan-Asianism in the writings of some Indian and Chinese intellectuals. At the same time state-centered religious ideologies as well as nation-centered ideologies focused on spirituality as part of national character. These ideologies are crucial even today in China, India, Taiwan, and Singapore. The chapter then moves to a discussion of spirituality in India, focusing on figures like Gandhi and Tagore, and in China, focusing on figures like Taixu and Chen Yingning.

Keywords:   spirituality, India, China, imperialism, materialism, Pan-Asianism, Gandhi, Tagore, Taixu, Chen Yingning

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