Cluster leader: Susan Andrews, Mount Allison University
Members of the “Merit and Market” group will investigate how commercial interests—especially those related to printing—intersect with the needs of religious practitioners who they bring together via networks moving people, information, and goods including the famous “book road.” Pursuing this topic, we will look at a collection of loosely Tendaishū-oriented sites where texts, images, and the “book road” emerged and continue to develop in East Asia today. These are Mount Tiantai 天台山 and Mount Wutai五臺山, Mount Hiei 比叡山 and Onjōji 園城寺, the newly revitalized Korean hub of Cheontae (Tiantai or Tendai) practice, Guinsa救仁寺, as well as locales affiliated with celebrated Cheontae cleric Uicheon 義天(1055-1101) and centers of practice with Cheontae ties in Kyongju. Examining the roles these sacred centers have played in the production, consumption, and dissemination of texts and other forms of material culture, contributors may wish to consider the implications of our findings for understanding the dynamics of replication in the preservation of and innovation in tradition, intersections between Buddhist and autochthonous forms of practice, relationships between tourism and pilgrimage past and present. In addition to enhancing our knowledge of East Asian religion, this work should contribute to the growing body of scholarship that explores how economic interests shape the ways religious life looks and how religious life informs economic activity.