The Gender of Charisma: Notes from a Taiwanese Buddhist Transnational NGO

  • C. Julia Huang-Lemmon
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


In 1997, at the beginning of the end-of-the-year convocation of volunteers at the Taipei branch of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi (Ciji) Foundation, a young emcee in staff uniform asked the full house of 700 mainly middle-aged women: “Why do you volunteer for Compassion Relief?” There was a brief silence, then slowly an answer was sounded by diffident yet distinct female voices from different corners of the auditorium: “[Because we] love the supreme person (ai shangren).” Blushing, the emcee smiled and in a schoolteacher-like tone said: “Oh. Of course, we all love the supreme master. But we volunteer for Compassion Relief because we are shanxin dashi (benevolent persons). We are here because of da’ai (great love, universal love).”


Filial Piety Charismatic Leader Collective Body Gender Matter Permed Hair 
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Copyright information

© Charles Lindholm 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Julia Huang-Lemmon

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