Criticism is made in the pursuit of progress; religious criticism is no different. During the Japanese colonial age, Taiwanese religion was also the object of criticism for the purpose of ＂modernization.＂ Zeng Jing-lai was one of the representatives of this movement. Zeng Jing-lai, who was deeply influenced by the teachings of the Āgamas, emphasized that the Buddha was an ＂Enlightened One in the human world＂. He criticized both the many malpractices of traditional Buddhism and the superstitions of Taiwanese folk religion. Behind Zeng Jing-lai's ＂religious criticism＂, we could see the common ideals of other modern Buddhist reformers (such as that of Master Yinshun). However, Zeng Jing-lai's ＂religious criticism＂, following the official position, viewed ＂modernization＂ as a process of ＂Japanization＂ (becoming part of the empire), directly or indirectly compromising his ideals of Buddhist and religious reform, subordinating them to political considerations. But considering the special historical context, Zeng Jing-lai may have experienced difficulties regarding his own identity. Thus, it would be necessary to regard this moment in history with a sympathetic understanding.
Zeng Jing-lai, Religious Criticism, Ven. Yin-shun, Buddhist Modernization, Imperial Japanization