Caixin
Jan 19, 2018 04:52 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

How ‘Being Buddhist’ in China Morphed Into Ignoring Society’s Pressures

Buddhist monk sits in meditation at Shaolin Monestary in Henan province. “Foxi,” or “being Buddhist,” became a viral meme among Chinese millennials since December, who use it to refer to one who refuses to succumb to societal pressures. Photo: Visual China
Buddhist monk sits in meditation at Shaolin Monestary in Henan province. “Foxi,” or “being Buddhist,” became a viral meme among Chinese millennials since December, who use it to refer to one who refuses to succumb to societal pressures. Photo: Visual China

Although Chinese millennials have grown up without the level of poverty or political turmoil their parents or grandparents experienced, a string of viral internet memes hint at a growing despondency among those 18 to 35 years old.

The latest catchphrase, trending since December, is “foxi” (佛系, pronounced “fuo-shee”) —­ a twisted take on the Buddhist concept of giving up greed to find contentment. The term literally means “Buddhism,” but in its latest reincarnation, it refers to several things, including not succumbing to social pressure, worrying too much, not being too obsessed with a goal, or simply: “Whatever!”

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