The White Lotus Society

3926 Words16 Pages
The White Lotus Society: Ideology and Rebellion Introduction The White Lotus Society was a group of religious sects mainly located in the North of China, with origins in the Yuan dynasty. It was a syncretic sect, combining aspects of different religions, which predominantly appealed to the peasant class. The White Lotus Society had an enduring impact through its beliefs, practices, and rebellions, throughout the Qing dynasty, culminating in the White Lotus Rebellion of 1796-1805. It had a long history full of events significant in China from the time of its origins though to the White Lotus Rebellion. The White Lotus Society had a large belief system which evolved over time, shaping its practices. Its practices and beliefs were attractive to many people, for the organization was rooted in equality and granted opportunities that were often not readily available. The White Lotus Society also gave advantages to the peasant class through mutual aid, rebellion, and a hope of a new society tied to their religious beliefs. Rebellion had always been an element of the White Lotus Society, but during the late Qing dynasty they were seemingly synonymous in Northern China. There was a great deal of unrest and the White Lotus Society was at the forefront of many uprisings, using them as a means of communication to the government. The qualities of the White Lotus Society are evident, as are the effects of its rebellious activities. Literature Review One of the sources used for reference in this paper, Prophets and Pretenders: Inter-Sect Competition in Qianlong China by Blaine C. Gaustad, has taken the view that the White Lotus Society did not exist as an association so much as loose grouping of religious sects. Gaustad bases this on the fact that there were many disconnected sects under various names in the mountainous area shared by the provinces of Sichuan, Hubei, and

More about The White Lotus Society

Open Document