Monasticism: Asian Perspective

Second International Symposium

“Monasticism: Asian Perspective”

February 21-22, 2003

Royal Bank Cinema,
Chan Center for the Performing Arts, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Hosted by The Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia

Sponsored by  The Tzu Chi Foundation

Conference Program

Day One – February 21, 2003

8:30-9:00 breakfast & registration
9:00-9:30 Welcome
Dr. Nancy Gallini, Dean (Faculty of Arts, UBC)
Dr. Joshua Mostow, Chair (Asian Studies, UBC)
Mr. Gary Ho, President (Tzu-chi Foundation Canada)

Session 1 (9:30-11:10) The Buddhist Monastic Institution (Chair: T. Tillemans)
9:30-9:50 William Bodiford, “The Monastic Institution in Medieval Japan: The Insider’s View”
9:50-10:10 George Dreyfus, “Tibetan Monasticism: A Preliminary Approach”
10:10-11:10 discussion (Foulk on Bodiford, Tillemans on Dreyfus)

11:10-11:20 Coffee

Session 2 (11:20-1:10) Art and Architecture in the Buddhist Monastery (Chair: R. Sharf)
11:20-11:45 Eugene Wang, “Pictures and Monastic Programming–From Jing’ai Temple of Luoyang to Cave 217 at
11:45-12:10 Stephen Teiser, “The Architecture of Practice: What Monks Did with Pictures of the Wheel of Rebirth in Medieval
12:10-1:10 discussion (Lu Yang on Wang, Wang on Teiser)

1:10-2:30 Lunch

Session 3 (2:30-4:10) Monastic Rules (Chair: R. Buswell)
2:30-2:50 Koichi Shinohara, “Inviting monks in Daoxuan’s vinaya commentary”
2:50-3:10 Griffith Foulk, “Rules of Purity in Japanese Zen”
3:10-4:10 discussion (Buswell on Shinohara, Bodiford on Foulk)

4:10-4:20 Coffee

Session 4 (4:20-6:00) Women and Children in the Monastic Community (Chair: J. Stone)
4:20-4:40 Phyllis Granoff, “Fathers and Sons: Some Remarks on the Ordination of Children in the
Medieval Svetambara Monastic Community.”
4:40-5:00 Lori Meeks, “Nuns, Scholars, and Divine Monks: The Women of Japan’s Medieval
Ritsu-School Nuns’ Revival Movement.”
5:00-6:00 discussion (Stone on Granoff, Sharf on Meeks)

All sessions are open to the public

Day Two: February 22, 2003

8:30-9:00 Breakfast

Session 5 (9:00-10:40) Authority and Organization in the Monastery: Indian and Tibetan Perspectives (Chair: T. Tillemans)
9:00-9:20 Catherine Clementin-Ohja, “Legitimacy and Legitimation of Hindu Monastic Authority in Modern India.”
9:20-9:40 Bryan J. Cuevas, “Preliminary Remarks on the History of Mindroling: The Founding and Organization of a Tibetan
Monastery in the Seventeenth Century”
9:40-10:40 discussion (Granoff on Clementin-Ohja, Dreyfus on Cuevas)

10:40-10:50 coffee

Session 6 (10:50-12:30) “Marginal” and “Central”: Mountain Temples and Palace Chapels (Chair: R. Buswell)
10:50-11:10 James Robson, “Taking place: Facets of Nanyue’s Buddhist Monastic Records and the Conversion of Sacred
11:10-11:30 Jinhua Chen, “Neidaochang: The Buddhist Chapels within the Imperial Palaces of the Tang (618-690, 705-907)
and Great Zhou (690-705).”
11:30-12:30 discussion (Benn on Robson, Robson on Chen)

12:30-1:30 Lunch

Session 7 (1:30-3:10) The Erudite and Dumb Monk: Some Buddhist Monastic Ideals (Chair: R. Sharf)
1:30-1:50 Lu Yang, “The Quest for Knowledge: Travel and Learning in Medieval Chinese Buddhism.”
1:50-2:10 James Benn, “The Silent Samgha: Some Observations on Mute Sheep Monks”
2:10-3:10 discussion (Sharf on Lu, Teiser on Benn)

3:10-3:20 Coffee

Session 8 (3:20-5:00) Monastic life in Medieval Japan (Chair: J. Stone)
3:20-3:40 Michael Como, “Hata Gods and Heian Buddhism”
3:40-4:00 Paul Groner, “The Kurodani Lineage and the Revival of Tendai Monastic Discipline.”
4:00-5:00 discussion (Stone on Como, Como on Groner)

5:00-5:20 Coffee


Abstracts of Papers

James A. Benn
The Silent Saṃgha: Some Observations on Mute Sheep Monks

In this paper I should like to examine the rather odd and distinctive category of the “mute sheep monks” in medieval Chinese Buddhism. Of course that some monks and nuns did refuse to open their mouths except to eat, and that in other ways they tried to emulate dumb animals is known to us through the surviving records of the Sanjie (Three stages) movement of the Sui and Tang. What is less well-known, I think, is the origin of this category. It has been claimed that the Chinese term “mute sheep” (ya yang) is a mistranslation of what was originally “deaf mute” in Sanskrit. In other words in the compound eḍamūka eḍa (deaf)has been misunderstood as eḍa (sheep). These mute sheep monks—who do not break the precepts, yet have dull faculties and lack wisdom; who cannot distinguish between beauty and ugliness, trivial and serious, nor between sin and virtue—are said, in the Dazhidu lun (Great Perfection of Wisdom Treatise attributed to Nāgārjuna) to be like “white sheep who cannot make a sound right up until the point when they reach the abattoir.” This suggests that an apocryphal term has not only made its way into the Dazhidu lun, but is actually glossed within the text. But other evidence may show that the mute sheep monk is a category of Sarvāstivādin origin.
I will use the ideal, the practice, and the term “mute sheep monk” both to investigate the nature of the saṃgha in medieval China, and to shed some new light on the most important repository of Buddhist knowledge for medieval Chinese, the Dazhidu lun.

William M. Bodiford
The Monastic Institution in Medieval Japan: The Insider’s View

The transition from the court-centered society of Heian period (ca. 794–1221) to the more tumultuous warrior governments of the medieval period (ca. 1192–1582) witnessed the unprecedented production of numerous first-person accounts of institutional Buddhism and its role in society. Written both by laymen and by Buddhist monks, these works range from prescriptive exhortations (e.g., Eisai’s Overview of Monastic Life, 1193), to edifying tales (e.g., Muju’s Sand and Pebbles, 1283), to descriptive annals (e.g., Kokan Shiren’s Genko Era Account of Buddhism, 1322), to collected notes on key practices (e.g., Koso’s Leaves Gathered from Stormy Streams, 1348) and so forth. Despite having different formats all of these works share a perceived need to provide a changing society with a comprehensive explanation of the key features of Japanese monasticism and their genealogical bases. With only a few exceptions, previous scholars have examined these works merely as raw databases to be mined for names and events, to be cited or dismissed according to modern standards of historical accuracy. I propose a different approach. In my presentation I will examine these works (and others like them) on their own terms as first-hand ethnographies, insider accounts of a world long lost, that not only reveal the lives and concerns of medieval monks and nuns but challenge the ways that modern scholars have studied Buddhism in Japan (and elsewhere).

Jinhua Chen
Neidaochang: The Buddhist Chapels within the Imperial Palaces
of the Great Tang (618-690, 705-907) and Great Zhou (690-705)

This article surveys the development of the institution of Buddhist palace chapels under the Tang dynasty (618-690, 705-907) (including the Great Zhou dynasty, which interrupted the Tang for fifteen years, from 690 to 705). Buddhist palace chapels in this period played multiple religious and political roles. First of all, they functioned as a translation office, or as a location for the state ceremony inaugurating the project of translating an important Buddhist text, which was usually attended by the emperor. Second, they were the locations for some state-sponsored Buddhist observances and the places where bodhisattva-precepts were administered to Tang emperors and their empresses, consorts, princes and princesses. Third, it served as the “shrine” for “sacred bone” was enshrined during the repeated veneration of the Famensi relic, which played an important role in the politico-religious life almost throughout the whole of the Great Tang. It is interesting to note that a Buddhist relic was so conspicuously enshrined and so fervently worshipped at the innermost heart of the secular authority. Finally, at some periods the palace chapels acted as the central office of the highest national monastic leadership, known as the shidade (ten-bhadanta) committee. As far as I know, at least two of the Tang palace chapels, the Biankongsi and the Linguang Chapel, served in this capacity under the reign of Empress Wu and that of Zhongzong. The palace chapels under the Tang constituted a very unique and complicated institution, and one that often eluded the sustained attention of Chinese historiographers, both religious and secular. These palace chapels were the most direct and central arena for Buddhist monks to interact with the highest secular authority. To study the development of this significant aspect of the monastic institution under the Tang will provide valuable new light on the state-church relationship.

Catherine Clémentin-Ojha
Legitimacy and legitimation of Hindu monastic authority in modern India

The paper’s topic concerns monastic rules observed in Hindu monastic establishments.
After some precisions concerning the organization of Hindu monasticism, it will address the varying modes of designation of abbots and other heads of Hindu monasteries, taking as examples the practices followed in Northern India monasteries in the 19th and 20th centuries. The paper will focus both on the principles of selection of monastic chiefs and on the rituals marking their investiture ceremony. It will also examine the nature of their authority and how and over whom they exercise their control. Finally, an attempt will be made to explain the role played by the secular powers (political and economical) in the process of their legitimation.

Michael Como
Hata Gods and Heian Monasteries

The construction of the Heian capital in the Kadono district of Yamashiro in 794 transformed not only the physical topography surrounding the court, but the cultic topography as well. Although this event has often been spoken of in terms of the physical and cultic space that it provided for the formation of new Buddhist movements and institutions, the event also set in motion a dramatic realignment of the relationship between the court and the kami of Japan. Many of these kami were closely associated with the Hata, an immigrant kinship group from the Korean kingdom of Silla that had been the dominant group in the region prior to the construction of the capital. This paper traces the influence of immigrant kinship groups such as the Hata on the rapidly evolving accommodation between the court, the newly ascendant kami in the area of the capital, and Heian Buddhist movements that were figuratively and literally rooted in the same soil.
In order to do this, the paper focuses in large part upon an examination of the role of the Hata in three pivotal events of the Nara and early Heian periods: the importation of Hachiman and other deities from Northern Kyushu to the Kinai region, the construction of the Heian capital, and the Kusuko incident of 810. Each of these events played a major role in establishing the parameters of religious and political discourse in which early Heian monastic institutions developed. As such they shaped relations between temples, shrines and the court for centuries to come. The paper concludes by suggesting that cross linkages among courtiers, deities and monks from middle-ranking immigrant lineages such as the Hata played a major role in the development of the political and cultic roles of Buddhist monastic institutions for centuries to come.

Bryan J. Cuevas
Preliminary Remarks on the History of Mindroling:
The Founding and Organization of a Tibetan Monastery in the Seventeenth Century
To better comprehend the complexities of social and religious life in premodern Tibet it is necessary to have some understanding of the nature, structure, and day-to-day organization of the Tibetan monastic institution. In this paper I consider the early history of the Nyingmapa monastery of Mindroling (est. 1670) and the content of its first monastic constitution (bca’-yig) compiled in 1689. My objective is to consider the potential value of the monastic constitution as an illuminating social-historical document and to offer a few insights into the nature of religious life and polity of one of the most influential Nyingmapa monasteries in central Tibet in the late seventeenth century. During this period, Mindroling was one of the principal centers for the preservation of Nyingma ritual, arts, and learning and its success was due in part to the close intimacy the leading members of the monastery’s ruling family cultivated with the fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682). In addition to my focus on the early history of Mindroling, I also introduce preliminary materials for the study of the institution’s family history from roughly the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. The role of family relations, alliances, and conflicts in shaping the history of Tibetan religion and politics remains a significant topic still largely neglected by scholars in Tibetan Studies.

George Dreyfus
Tibetan Monasticism: A Preliminary Approach

Tibetan monasticism has often been exorcized and portrayed as being quite at odds with other Buddhist monastic traditions. Goldstein, for example, describes the Tibetan situation as being characterized by mass monasticism and thus makes a strong separation between Tibetan and Theravada monastic traditions. This paper argues that it is highly misleading to compare twentieth century Theravada monasticism, a tradition highly affected by modern reforms, with the Tibetan tradition, on which the impact of modernity has yet to emerge fully. After briefly discussing Buddhist monasticism in general terms, I characterize what is more specific about Tibetan monasticism. I argue that Tibetan monasteries are not just residencies for monks and nuns, as they are classically conceived in the Vinaya, but are corporate entities based on their own constitutions (bca’yig). I analyze the role of these constitutions and show the degree to which they shape Tibetan monastic communities and thus partly account for the specificity of Tibetan monasticism. I conclude by presenting a brief typology of Tibetan monastic establishments, distinguishing local monasteries from central ones, the latter being the training grounds for the monks of the former.

T. Griffith Foulk
Rules of Purity in Japanese Zen

This paper traces the history of the Japanese Zen appropriation and adaptation of Chinese monastic codes known as “rules of purity” (qinggui, shingi) from the Kamakura period down to the present. It shows how, through a series of “revivals” that took place from the 17th through the 20th centuries, various ritual forms deriving from Song Chinese Buddhism were sustained in Japan, while the social, political, and religious meanings assigned to them changed dramatically.

Phyllis Granoff
Fathers and Sons: Some Remarks on the Ordination of
Children in the Medieval Svetambara Monastic Community

In this paper I discuss the evidence for the ordination of children in Svetambara Jainism.The paper draws on information from the lineage history of two of the major groups in Northwest India, the Kharataragaccha and the Tapagaccha. It also reviews stories about child monks in the didactic story literature. The paper concludes that ordination of children was an accepted practice; morever it suggests that many of child monks were ordained by close relatives. The paper in addition explores the role such kinship ties may have played in the medieval Jain monastery, using as well the evidence of donor inscriptions and book colophons, which indicate that ties of kinship linked monk to monk and linked the more active lay community to the monastic community.

Paul Groner
The Kurodani Lineage and the Revival of Tendai Monastic Discipline

The Kurodani-ryū 黒谷流 (Dark Valley lineage), named after a location on the site of the location of the Tendai establishment on Mount Hiei, referred to a lineage of Tendai monks who strove to adhere to the Tendai precepts at a time when they were ignored by most other Tendai monks. This paper investigates the rituals, institutions, and doctrinal stances that they used to define their differences with the Tendai establishment. The Kurodani-ryū were influenced by both Tendai and Jōdoshū traditions, but ultimately were closer to Tendai. At the same time, they preserved certain differences from the Tendai establishment. In this paper, some of the strategies they used to define their position will be examined. I will discuss the biographies of several of the key figures in the movement, particularly focusing on Kōen 興円 (1263-1317), who played a central role in the development of the tradition. The use of elements of hongaku (original enlightenment) doctrines and attitudes by Kōen and others is noteworthy because hongaku views are usually associated with lax monastic discipline. The Kurodani-ryū created a new ritual called the “consecrated ordination” (kai-kanjō) in which a teacher assured the recipient that he was indeed a Buddha. Finally, the movement attempted to revive many aspects of Saichō’s proposals concerning the precepts.

Lori Meeks:
Male Monastics, Aristocratic Women, and Ritual Authority
in Heian and Kamakura Japan: What Constitutes “Official” Ordination
(And Who Needs It, Anyway)?

Past research on women’s ordination in premodern Japan has tended to center on the question of whether or not women had access to “official” precepts platforms, failing to problematize definitions of “official” (whose “official”– official according to what regulations or voice of authority?) Throughout these studies, “official” ordination is used inconsistently, at some times referring to state-recognized or institution-specific ordination (that is, ordination as initiation into a particular group, ordination that marks one as an employee of the state or as a cleric belonging to a certain monastic institution), and at other times referring to ordination based on scriptural guidelines such as those included in the Four-Part Vinaya or the Net of Brahma Sutra. But as I will show, the term is both slippery and highly contested. Not only is it difficult to define what, exactly, constitutes “official” ordination for monks during this period (as various levels of ordination were offered by various schools following different precepts traditions), but it is even more difficult to define who considered what type of women’s ordinations “official” during this period.
My study argues first that male monastics and imperial women constructed very different models of “official” ordination and secondly that imperial women were more concerned with their own definitions of “official” ordination than with those of the male monastic community. While male monastic communities stressed the importance of scriptural regulations, tending to base their understandings of “official” ordination on specific scriptures, imperial women considered court precedent to be the marker of all things “official.” The question, then, is one of ritual authority: who can claim the right to determine what is authentic, and how are definitions of ritual authenticity and authority grounded in claims regarding class, gender, knowledge, and power (political, cultural, and economic)?

Yang Lu
The Quest for Knowledge:
Travel and Learning in Medieval Chinese Buddhism

One striking feature of medieval Chinese Buddhism consists in the widespread travel of monks. Between the fifth and tenth centuries, both outstanding figures such as Zhiyi or Xuanzang and equally less prestigious monks spent a substantial portion of their lives traveling to centers of learning in order to pursue advanced studies. While there is an increasing quantity of studies on pilgrimage in traditional China, little attention has so far been paid both to the pivotal role played by travel in the formation of social and intellectual networks of medieval Buddhism and to the rise of some of its distinctive scholastic features. As a part of a project studying the phenomenon of learning through travel in medieval China, this paper concentrates its investigation on social, economic, and cultural conditions under which such practice became possible and desirable. It argues that travel not only posed challenges to, but also served as an important means for aspiring members of the Buddhist community to establish their reputation within a wider institutional and non-institutional circle. A systematic investigation of the historically shifting destinations of such travel serves to map out the changing landscapes of Buddhist learning. Based on some preliminary observations, this paper studies: (1) the patterns of clergy travel as well as the distinction and connection between travel and pilgrimage, and (2) the possible connections between the decline of such practice and the changing nature of Buddhist learning.

James Robson
Taking place: Facets of Nanyue’s Buddhist Monastic Records
and the Conversion of Sacred Sites

The study of Chinese monasteries has in large part been dominated by a focus on people over places. In discussions of monasteries, for example, the actual monastery-the site or place itself-is rarely discussed as attention turns quickly to the types of monastic offices, regulations, and religious practices that take place there. In this paper I suggest that we also need to turn our attention to the sites themselves and how they are represented in monastic records, inscriptions and gazetteers. In this paper I discuss the local records for a collection of Buddhist monasteries located in the south at the Southern Marchmount [Nanyue], also known as Hengshan, located in modern Hunan province. The main sources that are used include a detailed Song dynasty mountain monograph titled Record of the Collected Wonders of the Southern Marchmount [Nanyue zongsheng ji], which is located in both the Buddhist (T. #2097) and Daoist (HY 606) canons, a local gazetteer and extant inscriptions. Some of the main issues to be discussed include the siting of monasteries at particularly efficacious places on the mountain (and their miraculous stories), the sacred character of monastic sites, the conversion of non-Buddhist sites into Buddhist monasteries, and the relationships between Buddhist monasteries and Daoist abbeys.

Koichi Shinohara
Inviting Monks in Daoxuan’s Vinaya Commentary

As part of a larger project that examines Daoxuan’s commentary as an effort to define and legitimize medieval Chinese monastic practices I hope in this paper to examine the chapter on inviting monks (jiqing sheze, T. 1804: 25.135a-138a). Section 39 of the encyclopedic anthology, Fayuan zhulin, prepared by Daoshi at the Ximingsi monastery is also devoted to the same topic (shouqing, T. 2122: 53.607b-617a). I hope to see whether a critical examination of this material throws some light on the ritual or ceremonial construction of the basic relationship between the monastery and lay community.

Stephen F. Teiser
The Architecture of Practice: What Monks Did with Pictures
of the Wheel of Rebirth in Medieval China

According to the vinaya of the Mūlasarvāstivāda sect, the historical Buddha prescribed the painting of a wheel of rebirth (samsāracakra, wuqu shengsi lun) on the porches of temples, and he further directed that an eloquent, knowledgeable monk be stationed in front of the mural to explain the workings of karma to lay people. This paper begins with this canonical account, known throughout the medieval Buddhist world, and concentrates mostly on architectural evidence to see how the Buddha’s directives were carried out by later generations. I confine myself to three kinds of sites. The first is the complex of cave-temples at Kumtura (modern Xinjiang province), where the wheel is rendered in miniature on the wall of a tiny meditation cave. The second is in Tang-dynasty metropolitan temples, where the wheel of rebirth may have been painted in the outer buildings of large temple complexes. The third is the complex of cave-temples at Yulin (modern Gansu province), where the wheel of rebirth is painted in the entryway of a private cave-shrine commissioned by the Cao family. In all of these sites, the architectural space in which the wheel is displayed (tiny meditation cell, large public hall, semi-private chapel) has a direct connection to how and by whom the wheel was viewed. My analysis concentrates on the relationship between architectural form, patrons, tour-guides/preachers, and audience.

Eugene Y. Wang:
Pictures and Monastic Programming –
From Jing’ai Temple of Luoyang to Cave 217 at Dunhuang

What gives a Buddhist monastery its character? The question becomes especially pointed with regard to the Tang period. Many monastic precincts in capital cities of Tang were converted from aristocratic residences. So architectural layout may not be a distinctive feature that makes a monastery what it is. By Tang times, the Buddha hall had replaced the stupa to hold the pride of place in the monastery. What made the hall distinct, however, was the program of images–statues and wall paintings–that imbued the setting with transcendent qualities.
The point of departure for the paper is the Monastery of Benevolence and Love (Jing¹ai-si) in the early 8th century Luoyang, which was initially founded in the name of a young emperor for his mother Wu Zetian and subsequently renovated by Zhongzong in memory of Wu as well. The pictorial program of the wall paintings in the Buddha hall of the monastery survives only in some Tang-period accounts, especially courtesy of Zhang Yanyuan. However, much of Zhang¹s documentation does not add up for close scrutiny. It will be shown that Zhang made some iconographic blunders in his identification of the wall paintings. By looking at the parallel iconographic program of Cave 217 at Dunhuang, which in many ways was both contemporary–and circumstantially related–to the Jing¹ai-si program, the paper reconstructs the latter¹s pictorial program that would have made sense in view of both the early 8th century circumstances and the general soteriological interests of the medieval lay community. In so doing, it further reveals the two key factors that shaped the character of a Buddhist monastery–its responsiveness to both the short-term political climax and long-term soteriological needs of the community. It will be shown how the pictorial program was fashioned in such a way that it answered and negotiate between both needs.

T. H. Barrett
The Monastic Cat in Cross-cultural Perspective

Though most academics today are not monastics, in some of the older universities of Europe it is still possible to see traces of the times when Western European learning depended largely on monasteries to survive. From this it is still possible to tell that such communities have two features – the need to store food on a scale attractive to rodents, and the presence of a cross-section of different types of personality – which make them ideal homes not only for scholars but also for cats. This paper will track the history of the monastic cat through the poetry of East Asian Buddhist communities, and suggest some reasons why monks and cats have found this symbiosis a satisfying one, drawing evidence also from Western cultures and asking some broader questions about the holy man and the non-human realm.

Antonino Forte
The Great Fuxian Monastery in Luoyang

After the death of her mother on 22 August, 670, the Empress Wu decided to establish a monastery in Chang’an for her posthumous well-being. Built on the basis of her mother’s mansion in the Xiuxiang Quarter and named after the aristocratic title of her parents, Taiyuan, the monastery was founded between November 9, 670 and February 14, 671, as is attested by a document of July 3, 671. Some years later, another Taiyuansi was built in the eastern capital Luoyang. The Tang hui yao, the only known source for the date of this new Taiyuansi, gives the first year of the Shangyuan era (1 February 675 to 20 January 676) as its date. This Taiyuansi was established on the basis of the same mother’s house in the Jiaoyi Quarter of Luoyang.
Under its new name of Fuxiansi, this monastery became the most important dynastic monastery in China at the time of the Zhou dyanasty (690-705), and was the Chinese pendant of the celebrated Nalanda in India. After the Tang restoration in 705, the monastery lost its influence but not its splendor. It then gradually entered an irreversible crisis, until it was completely destroyed by an unprecedented disastrous flood of the Luo River in the late Ming Dynasty. It was reconstructed by the people in a different place and some dilapidated buildings are still extant, though they have lost their religious function.
Despite its importance, the Great Fuxian Monastery has long been forgotten by historians. This paper presents and examines some significant evidence on the monastery. To study the Great Fuxian Monastery means to treat the most glorious period of Chinese Buddhism. It was in this monastery that the translators Divakara (d. 688), Devendraprajna (d. 690 or 691), Yijing, Manicintana (d. 721), Bodhiruci (d. 727) worked. In addition, some key members of Northern Chan, such as Du Fei and Yifu, also lived there.


James Benn, born in 1964 in Shifnal, Shropshire (UK), was educated at Cambridge University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (with T. H. Barrett), where he obtained his M.A. He later studied at the Italian School of East Asian Studies (Kyoto) and University of California, Los Angeles, where he was awarded his doctorate in 2001. He spent one year as Visiting Assistant Professor at Lewis and Clark College (1998-99). He has been teaching at Arizona State University since 2001. He is currently revising the manuscript of his book on self-immolation for publication. Three articles on aspects of self-immolation are scheduled to appear in conference volumes in the near future.
William M. Bodiford is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University in 1989 and has taught at Davidson College, the University of Iowa, and Meiji Gakuin University. He is the author of _Soto Zen in Medieval Japan_ (University of Hawai’i Press, 1994) and the chapter on Zen Buddhism in the revised edition of _Sources of Japanese Tradition_ (Columbia University Press, 2001) as well as other articles on Japanese religious life. He is the editor of _Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya (University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming), and serves on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism_ (Macmillan Reference, forthcoming) and as a member of the Soto Text Translation Project.

Robert E. Buswell, Jr. (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1985), is professor of Chinese and Korean Buddhist Studies and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. Buswell founded the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies in 2000 and the Center for Korean Studies in 1993. For over a decade, he has also served as editor of the journal Korean Culture. Buswell is the premier Western expert on Korean Buddhism, specializing in the Son (Zen) tradition. He has authored three books on the Korean Son tradition and edited three other books on different aspects of Chinese, Korean, and Indian Buddhism. He is also the author some forty articles concerning the Korean, Chinese, and Indian Buddhist traditions. Before returning to academe, Buswell spent seven years as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Korea, experiences that served as the basis for his book The Zen Monastic Experience. Buswell also serves as editor-in-chief of the new two-volume Encyclopedia of Buddhism, forthcoming in 2003 from Macmillan.
Jinhua Chen was born in August 1966 in Minhou, Fujian, China. He had studied at Beijing University (1983-1990) and the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1990-1991) before coming to Canada in 1992 for further education. After receiving his doctorate from McMaster University in 1997 with a dissertation on the formation of Tendai Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, he conducted his post-doctoral research at Kyoto University (November 1997 – April 2000). He taught at the University of Virginia for one year before joining the University of British Columbia in the summer of 2001, where he also serves as Canada Research Chair in East Asian Buddhism. In addition to a dozen of articles, he also published Making and Remaking History: A Study of Tiantai Sectarian Historiography (Tokyo, 1999) and Monks and Monarchs, Kinship and Kingship: Tanqian in Sui Buddhism and Politics (Kyoto, 2002). Newly finishing a book on early Chan, he is currently trying to bring to completion several more book manuscripts, on Fazang, 5-7th century Chinese meditation and vinaya traditions, and Taimitsu (based on his dissertation).
Catherine Clémentin-Ojha was born in Vietnam in November 1947. She obtained a Certificat of Indology, Sanskrit language (Paris III-Censier) in 1975; a Diploma in Hindi (Paris, INALCO) 1976; a Master of Arts – Ethnology (Paris X-Nanterre) in 1978; a Ph D – Ethnology (Paris X-Nanterre) in 1984 and an Habilitation – Anthropology) ( EHESS, Paris) in 1997. Between December 1991 and November 2001, she was a research scholar (chargee de recherche) at the Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient (Paris). Since November 1991, she is professor (directeur d’etudes) at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (Paris). She is also a member of the editorial board of the Bulletin de l’Ecole francaise d’Extreme Orient (BEFEO) and of Archives de Sciences sociales des religions (ASSR), Paris.
Her field of study is Indian religious anthropology. Her methods of work include classical indology and history of religion as well as field investigations. In addition to numerous articles, her publications include two books, La divinite conquise. Carriere d’une sainte (1990, Paris) and Le trident sur le palais. Une cabale anti-vishnouite dans un royaume hindou de l’epoque coloniale (1999, Paris), and four more that she co-authored and edited.
Her research interests focus on Hinduism. They include: Hindu female ascetics; the image of the Hindu guru and the question of his deification ; the history and organization of Hindu sects and monastic orders; the relationship between Hindu ascetics and the State in colonial India; the evolution of sectarian religious practices; the definition of orthodoxy within Hinduism and the practice of proselytism in Hinduism. She has also studied the processes of acculturation of Christianity and the methods of formation of the indigenous Catholic clergy in contemporary India.

Michael Como is a graduate of Harvard University (B.A.) and Stanford University (M.A., Ph.D.). He has been an Assistant Professor in the Religion Department at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia since 1999. He is currently revising for publication a manuscript on the formation of the cult of Prince Shotoku during the Nara and Heian periods. Three articles on the role of immigrant lineages in the formation of both the Japanese Buddhist tradition and the Imperial cult during these periods are also scheduled to appear in academic journals this year. He is also finishing a second manuscript on the role of Chinese cults and ritual systems in Nara Japan.

Bryan J. Cuevas, Ph.D. (University of Virginia) is Assistant Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the Department of Religion at Florida State University and has held visiting appointments at Princeton University and Emory University. He is author of The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Oxford, 2003) and is presently completing a book entitled Travels in the Netherworld: Popular Perceptions of Death and Afterlife in Buddhist Tibet and a co-edited volume (with Jacqueline Stone) titled The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations. He serves as co-director of the Tibetan History Collection of the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library (, an international organization providing web-based research and archiving services. His current research interests include Tibetan history and historiography, Tibetan popular religion, monastic politics in premodern Tibet, the sociology of ritual, and the history of written culture.

Georges B. J. Dreyfus studied for fifteen years in Tibetan monastic universities in India and was the first Westerner to receive the title of Geshe. He then did a Ph.D at the University of Virginia before joining Williams College where he is presently Professor and chair of the department of religion. His first book, Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirti’s Philosophy and its Tibetan Interpretations (Suny: 1997), explores the Tibetan reception of Buddhist epistemology. He has also written on Madhyamaka philosophy, co-editing a volume with Sara McClintock, The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction: What Difference does a Difference make? (Wisdom, 2003). His most recent work, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: the Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk (University of California, 2003), explores the education of Tibetan monks and the intellectual practices that foster this education.

T. Griffith Foulk teaches Asian religions at Sarah Lawrence College. He was trained in both Rinzai and Soto Zen monasteries in Japan; has published extensively on the institutional and intellectual history of Chan and Zen Buddhism; and is currently co-editor-in-chief of the Soto Zen Translation Project based in Tokyo.


Phyllis Granoff has been professor of Indian Religion and Sanskrit in the department of Religion Studies at McMaster University since 1985. She has a degree in Sanskrit and Indian Studies and Fine Arts from Harvard University. She has so far published eight books (five written by herself and three co-authored and co-edited by her) and nearly seventy articles on medieval Jainism and Buddhism. She is the editor of Journal of Indian Philosophy.
Prof. Granoff has recently completed work as co-investigator with Dr. Shinohara on a SSHRC grant on sacred space in Asia. She studied medieval texts in Sanskrit and vernacular languages that dealt with holy places or pilgrimages. Dr. Shinohara and she have recently received another SSHRC grant on the religion of Gandhara. She maintains her interest in modern literature and continue translating from Oriya. She is also a book of translations from Oriya dealing with the theme of aging.

Paul Groner, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1979. His research focuses on the early and medieval Japanese Tendai School and includes books on the schools founder, Saichō (767-822), and Ryōgen (912-985), the monk who enabled the school to dominate Japanese Buddhism for the next several centuries. His articles have developed these interests in several other directions including studies of the revival of ordinations by the Shingon Ritsu Schools founder, Eison (1201-1290), the history of Buddhist nuns, and Tendai interpretations of monastic discipline, and the realization of Buddhahood with this very body (sokushin jbutsu). He is also the translator of Hirakawa Akira’s History of Indian Buddhism.

Leslie Kawamura has been a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary since joining the Department in July, 1976. Prior to this, he served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Far Eastern Studies, University of Saskatchewan, the Department from which he received his PhD in Far Eastern Studies (1976). He did his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at San Mateo College (AA, 1956) and at San Francisco State (BA, 1958), and his MA (1961) in Buddhist History at Ryūkoku University and an MA (1964) in Indian Philosophy (Buddhism) at Kyoto University. He has been a member of various learned societies including IABS, CSSR, AAR, IASBS, and others.
He has co-authored, edited, translated, or authored 10 books including Mind in Buddhist Psychology, Madhyamaka and Yogacara, and the Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhism. He has over 30 articles published and has presented over 60 papers. His major academic interest is in the area of Yogacara Buddhism for which he investigates Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese sources. Currently, he is in the process of coordinating a translation of G.M. Nagao’s Japanese translation of the Mahayana-samgraha-sastra and in the process of compiling a compendium of Yogacara works.
Yang Lu is assistant professor of Chinese history at Princeton University. His main focus is the social and cultural history of medieval China, Tang dynasty in particular. He has completed a monographic study of the political and institutional transformations of the eighth and ninth century China. It is entitled “Power and Authority in Late Tang: A Study of Emperor Xianzong and His Reform.” His latest interests include the rise of literature and its relationship to the social transformation of the Tang, and the formation of monastic network and scholastic tradition in medieval China.
Lori Meeks is currently finishing her Ph.D. in East Asian Religions at Princeton University. She plans to defend her dissertation, tentatively titled, “Nuns, Scholars, and Divine Mothers: The Women of Japan’s Medieval Ritsu-School Nuns’ Revival Movement,” in the summer of 2003. In September she will join the religious studies faculty at the University of Puget Sound as Assistant Professor. Her primary scholarly interests include Buddhist history and literature; premodern Japanese history and literature; and women, gender, and religion.

James Robson is Assistant Professor of East Asian Religions in the Department of Religion at Williams College. He recently completed a dissertation from the Dept. of Religious Studies at Stanford University (2002) entitled “Imagining Nanyue: A Religious History of The Southern Marchmount Through the Tang Dynasty [618-907].” His main work is on the interaction between Buddhists and Daoists in medieval China, the relationship between religion and landscape, and local history. His other interests include a study of Buddhists mummies (“A Tang Dynasty Chan Mummy [roushen] and a Modern Case of furta sacra?: Investigating the Contested Bones of Shitou Xiqian” [2003]) and the use of esoteric talismans and diagrams within Chinese Buddhism.

Robert H. Sharf is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Michigan. He received his B.A. (Religious Studies) and M.A. (Chinese Studies) from the University of Toronto, and Ph.D. (Buddhist Studies) from the University of Michigan. He is author of Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism: A Reading of the Treasure Store Treatise (2002) and coeditor of Living Images:Japanese Buddhist Icons in Context (2001). His interests lie in the relationships between Buddhist doctrine, art, and monastic ritual, as well as in broader methodological issues in the study of religion. He is currently working on the doctrinal purport and institutional function of the early Chan gongan genre.

Koichi Shinohara has been Professor of East Asian Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, where he also serves as Director of Japanese Studies Program. He is also a coordinator of Toronto-McMaster University Buddhist Studies Seminar sponsored by the Numata Foundation. In addition to over twenty articles and book-chapters, several of which are monograph-length, he co-author and co-edited five books with Phyllis Granoff.
As an internationally acclaimed authority on the Chinese monastic hagio/biographical literature, he has gradually shifted the focus of his research from the Chinese context (Confucian, Daoist, and more secular writings in Chinese), to the broader Buddhist world of which Chinese Buddhism was a part. He is now looking more at Chinese Buddhist texts as translations that can be compared with related texts in Indian languages and with translations into other languages, for example, Tibetan. His study of a large number of biographies of Chinese Buddhist monks, in which he attempted to read these biographies as religious literature in their own right rather than simply as sources for historical reconstruction, has led him to the study of sacred places in Buddhism, both in China and in India, and to an investigation into the Buddhist cult of images. He continues to base these investigations on the study of Daoxuan (596-667), a prominent vinaya scholar, a historian (compiler of a major biographical collection), and a figure around whom a remarkable story of new revelations developed. He is also translating the encyclopaedic anthology of scriptural passages and miracle stories compiled by Daoxuan’s collaborator Daoshi. The records of Chinese monks who travelled in India, particularly of Daoxuan’s contemporary, the great translator Xuanzang (602-664), is a new topic of interest for him.

Jacqueline Stone received her Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of California at Los Angeles, Department of East Asian Studies, with a focus in Buddhist Studies. Her chief area of research is medieval Japanese Buddhism, where she has focused on the Tendai, Nichiren and Pure Land traditions; she has also worked on transformations of Buddhism in modern Japan. Her book, Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (1999), received an American Academy of Religion award for Excellence in the Study of Relligion, Historical studies category, in 2001. Her current research project investigates Buddhist deathbed practices in medieval Japan. Dr. Stone has served as president of the Society for the Study of Japanese Religions and co-chair of the Buddhism section of the American Academy of Religion. Currently she is professor of Japanese Religions in the Religion Department at Princeton University.

Stephen F. Teiser attended Oberlin College (B.A.) and Princeton University (M.A., Ph.D.). He has taught at Middlebury College, University of Southern California, and the École pratique des Hautes Études. He is currently D.T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Princeton University. His first book, The Ghost Festival in Medieval China (Princeton University Press, 1988) won the ACLS prize for the best first book in the field of history of religions. His next book, The Scripture on the Ten Kings” and the Making of Purgatory in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (University of Hawaii Press, 1994), won the Joseph Levenson Prize for books on pre-modern China awarded by the Association for Asian Studies.
He has worked collaboratively with the former Équipe de Dunhuang in Paris and is completing a joint project with colleagues in history, archaeology, and art history in China, the latter funded by a grant from the Luce Foundation. His paper for this conference grows out of a book he is near finishing. It deals with paintings of the wheel of rebirth in Buddhist temples in India, western Tibet, central Asia, and China during the medieval period. It is tentatively entitled Reinventing the Wheel: Pictures of Rebirth in Buddhism and will have many pictures.
He is editing an English translation of Michel Strickmann’s Mantras et mandarins and a research guide to sources for the study of Chinese Buddhism. After finishing those he hopes to return to the study of prayers for rebirth in the pure lands and the heavens, utilizing manuscripts, inscriptions, canonical texts, cave-temples, and paintings of paradise as sources.

Tom J.F. Tillemans, a Canadian and Dutch citizen, has been Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland since 1992. His initial studies were in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, after which he studied for a number of years with Tibetan refugees before studying Chinese, Sanskrit and Philosophy at the universities of Geneva and Lausanne. He was a researcher in Japan and has taught for various periods at the Universities of Hamburg, Calgary and Michigan (Ann Arbor). Publications consist in fifty articles and five
books: Agents and Actions in Classical Tibetan (co-authored with D. Herforth, Vienna 1989), Materials for the Study of Aryadeva, Dharmapala and Candrakirti (Vienna 1990), Persons of Authority (Stuttgart, 1993), Scripture, Logic and Language (Boston, 1999) and Dharmakirti’s Pramanavarttika, an annotated translation of the fourth chapter (Vienna, 2000). Tom Tillemans is currently the Secretary General of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and Editor in chief of the journal. He is also chair of the editorial board of the series, Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, published by Wisdom Publications, Boston.

Eugene Y. Wang is Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. He has published numerous articles on a wide range of topics in medieval and modern Chinese art and visual culture, including Buddhist wall paintings, relics, relief sculpture in cave shrines and on pagodas, history of perceptions of landscape views, bronze mirrors, sarcophagus, as well as modern Chinese painting and cinema. His book, Shape of the Visual: Imaginary Topography in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Art, which addresses the issues of world-making in the visual representations based on the Lotus Sutra, will be published by the University of Washing Press in 2004. He is also associate editor of Encyclopedia of Buddhism, ed. Robert Buswell (New York: McMillan).


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