Buddhism under Mao shows what kind of a problem Buddhism presented to the Chinese Communists and how they solved it. Relying largely on materials from the Mainland press, Holmes Welch has made what is probably the most detailed study so far available of the fate of a world religion in a Communist country. He describes how Buddhist institutions were controlled, protected, utilized, and suppressed; and explains why the larger needs of foreign and domestic policy dictated the Communists’ approach to the institutions. Over eighty photographs illustrate the activities of monks, laymen, and foreign visitors.
Welch worked for over a decade on the trilogy here completed. The preceding volumes, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 1900–1950 and The Buddhist Revival in China, dealt with Buddhism in the years before the Communist victory. Buddhism under Mao ends with a discussion of the possibility of the survival of certain elements of Buddhism in new forms.