Economies of Merit at play in Qinghai

Posted by on Mar 17, 2011 in Otherhood | No Comments

Last year, the Taer Monastery reported ticket sales revenues of 36 million yuan (US$5.48 million). The money was used to pay every monk about 10,000 yuan in living allowances and to maintain the monastery buildings. In 2010, the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Qinghai was 3,863 yuan, according to the National […]

Brands, beliefs, practices, objects, rituals and community

Posted by on Mar 12, 2011 in Otherhood | 2 Comments
Brands, beliefs, practices, objects, rituals and community

In developing ideas for an open-source monastic tradition in my last post, I’ve been thinking of religions and lineages as more or less illusory aggregates of individuals and their communities, unified by a common brand more than anything else. Individuals have beliefs. Communities support these beliefs, or they do not. Occasionally, especially in the early stages, […]

Economies of Merit

Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 in Otherhood | No Comments

In many monastic and religious traditions, ethical and spiritual “merit” gets traded like a commodity.1 Nuns and monks agree to live a certain way, abiding by a certain kind of behavior (which their society has deemed the most virtuous or ethical), and in exchange they don’t have to earn their own money to stay alive, […]