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White Lotus (白蓮教 Pinyin: báiliánjiào Wade-Giles: Pai-lien chiao) is a type of Buddhist sectarianism that appealed to many Chinese, most notably to women and to the poor, who found solace in worship of the Eternal Mother who was to gather all her children at the millennium into one family. The doctrine of the White Lotus included a forecast of the imminent advent of the future Buddha Maitreya.

Official persecution by the Qing authorities of the White Lotus sect fuelled the White Lotus Rebellion which affected large areas of northern and western China between 1793 and 1804. Despite its suppression, many White Lotus ideas survived and contributed to the Boxer movement and Boxer Rebellion in the late nineteenth century.


  • Michael Dillon (ed), China: A Cultural and Historical Dictionary (London 1998)