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The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple, March 4, 2017


The Emperor and the Lama: A walk and discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Cost: 300 RMB, 260 RMB for members includes all entrance tickets.

The Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the Confucian Temple/Imperial Academy are well-known for their association with Buddhism and Confucianism respectively. But these sites have also long played a significant role in state ideology and the ideology of empire building.

First, we’ll look at the religious and philosophical context for both locations. What are the origins of Buddhism in China and the Tibetan Plateau? Who was Confucius and why is he so important to China’s political culture?

Then we’ll consider how the Qing emperors appropriated the forms and functions of Tibetan Buddhism. What was the relationship between the Qianlong Emperor and the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Rolpe Dorje? Why did the emperor decide to consecrate his father’s palace as a Lama Temple? This connection between the state and Buddhism in Tibet has had profound implications for the history of Beijing’s relationship with the Tibetan Plateau.

At the Confucian Temple, we will talk about how Confucianism became the dominant ruling ideology and the role that the system of exams and academies, notably the adjoining Imperial College, played in perpetuating Confucianism through the centuries. How did students navigate the perilous journey through the exam system and what kinds of shortcuts might tempt the less scrupulous candidates?

Cost: 300 RMB, 260 RMB for members includes all entrance tickets to Lama Temple and the Confucian Temple.


Spaces for this walk are limited and registration is required. Details about the walk including meeting points and payment information will be sent by email as part of your your registration confirmation.

We never cancel and there are no minimums for our public walks. If you sign up, we’re walking!