Shizu/The Shunzhi Emperor/Fulin (also Shih-tsu and Shun-chih)

During his time as emperor, Hung Taiji’s son Fulin was known as the Qing Shizu or the Shunzhi Emperor (1638-1661, r. 1644-1661). He was the third Manchu emperor, following Emperor Taizong (r. 1626-43). In 1653 he received the Fifth Dalai Lama in Peking and 20th century sources claim that he publicly demonstrated his support of Tibetan Buddhism during the Dalai Lama’s visit. The Dalai Lama is sometimes said to have presented Shunzhi with a golden plate that said, “ God of the Sky, Manjughosha-Emperor and Great Being” (Tib. Gnam gyi lha ‘jam dbyangs gong ma bdag po chen po) although this has not yet been confirmed by Qing sources. The Chinese monk Ngag dbang blo bzang whom the Shunzhi emperor appointed to oversee Wutaishan in 1660 requested the composition of one of the earliest examples of books printed in China for the Mongols. In this guidebook to Wutaishan, called Uta-yin tabun agulan-u orosil susugten-u cikin cimeg, the Qing emperor is referred to as the “reincarnation of Manjushri.” Shunzhi was also posthumously referred to as the “sublime Manjushri Shunzhi” in the first Lcang-skya Qutugtu’s biography written by Ngag dbang chos ldan in 1729. In addition to and perhaps surpassing his connections with Tibetan Buddhists, he was closely affiliated with Chan monks, some of whom lived in the imperial palace during his reign.

  • Crossley, Pamela. 1999. A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Farquhar, David. 1978. “Emperor as Bodhisattva in the Governance of the Ch’ing Empire,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 38 (1): 5-34.