Whatever the "flavor" of spirituality, this is a fascinating side effect of the economic growth in China. Even if it's not making the brass in Beijing nervous yet, all that freedom of conscience and devotion to a purpose deemed higher than the Communist Party may yet pose a challenge for the likes of Hu Jintao.
From the Christian Science Monitor, via Yahoo! News:
As China becomes more wealthy and worldly, it's also experiencing a growing interest in spirituality. Chinese are emerging with "more time and freedom to think," says Yuan Ci, a monk who works with the Buddhist Association of China in Beijing. In doing so, they are helping to revive China's venerable religions, like Buddhism.
Affluence. Leisure. Time to think. Sufficient education and training to question the status quo. Uh-oh.
In urban areas, China's new Buddhists are young, college-educated, and upwardly mobile. They are looking not only for purpose in their lives, analysts say, but for a way to cope with the pressures of modernization and high expectations.
A purpose beyond the Party and Motherland? Uh-oh. The Mao vs. Deng clashes of earlier decades may be coming home to roost, but Deng probably didn't foresee this side effect of his market reforms. It seems one can't have it both ways, aspiring to prosperity on the level of the United States, and at the other end of the spectrum, an ideological monopoly such as that which North Korea has maintained.