List of Panels

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01: Arguing with Meditation | Wed., Aug. 20th, 16:00-18:00

 

New Chair:
Yi, Jongbok, (The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Voorhees, NJ, USA)

The question of the relationship between meditation and doctrine has attracted scholarly attention throughout the history of the academic study of Buddhism and is still at the center of a lively debate. The panel aims to move beyond this question as has hitherto been discussed. We thus take as our starting point the idea that meditation and doctrine are intertwined in practice, but advance the conversation to consider the implications this had for how discussions of meditation were used in the context of the Buddhist textual tradition. Panelists investigate the different ways that discussions of meditation in Buddhism have tended to serve as a platform for a wider range of issues, including sectarian identity, doctrinal and philosophical speculation, theorizing about the role of ethics in the life of Buddhist practitioners, and so forth. The question then becomes twofold – first, why has the Buddhist tradition so often chosen to discuss such and other issues in terms of, by appealing to, or drawing from meditation, and second, when and in what ways have these concerns proven decisive in influencing the formulation of meditative practices themselves.

proposed papers

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02: Authenticity, Uncertainty, and Deceit in Buddhist Art and Archaeology | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 14:00-16:30

 

Convener: 
Bayer, Achim (bayer_achim@yahoo.com)  

The accessibility of Buddhist antiques has rapidly increased over the last decades. While political developments have favoured the international assessment of works of art and archaeological sites, the information age allows instant access to catalogues and research articles, as well as to innumerable popular sources that vary greatly in reliability. These developments have not only increased the trade in counterfeit artefacts, but also led to a refinement in both, the techniques of forgery, as well as the techniques of scrutiny. This panel deals with the field of critical scrutiny, obvious forgery and unsettled cases in Buddhist art and archaeology. Furthermore, papers addressing the interplay between  the "classical" production of relics and their legends and the "modern" production of forged antiques are welcome, just as much as discussions of Orientalist myths underlying the production and interpretation of such imagery. 


proposed papers

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03: Buddhism on the Silk Road III - the Extent of Gandhāran Buddhism | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:30-15:30

 

Convener:
Walter, Mariko N. (mnwalter@acansrs.org


This proposed panel deals with the issue of the historical transmission of Buddhism along the Silk Road from India, Gandhāran region in specific, to China via Central Asia.  This would be a sequel to the session we had at the AAR in 2001 and IABS in 2011.  The period covers the first century BCE to the fourteenth century CE before the onset of Islam in Central Asia.  As Buddhism traveled from India to East Asia, it incorporated the various cultural elements of the regions.  Archaeological evidence as well as textual studies in Indic and vernacular languages show traces of such local transformations of Buddhism, which are largely understudied by the historians.  This is due to linguistic complexities of the region, as Central Asia was inhabited by many different ethnic groups, with at least twenty different languages.  Nevertheless, owing to the findings by the explorers of the early 20th centuries as well as more recent discoveries of Buddhist texts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, there is currently a heightened interest in the studies of the nature of the transmission of Buddhism from India to Central Asia.  This panel would contribute to the understanding of the integration of the transmission process as well as the transformation of Buddhism throughout many centuries in the vast area between the two major centers of Buddhism, Gandhāra and China.


proposed papers

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04: Buddhist Narrative Genres | Wed., Aug. 20th, 14:00-17:30

 

Conveners:
Appleton, Naomi (naomi.appleton@ed.ac.uk)
Muldoon-Hules, Karen (kmuldoon@unex.ucla.edu


This panel seeks to push forward our understanding of the notion of genre in relation to Buddhist narrative. It will explore the ways in which various genres – for example avadāna, jātaka, pūrvayoga, vinaya – overlap with and are differentiated from one another. It will seek to construct and critique definitions of generic terms, and to trace the ways in which generic definitions and notions of form changed across time and place. It will examine the rhetorical deployment of genre, in other words the use (and abuse) of generic expectations in shaping the reader’s understanding, and it will also assess the ways in which the genre or story may adjust to new contexts.

In addressing these themes, the panel will help us to come to a better understanding of how generic terms and forms were used in South Asian Buddhism and as texts migrated between religious traditions and beyond South Asia. We will seek to include a respondent and discussion slot at the end of the panel in order to assist the realization of this aim. The individual papers of this panel will also showcase some of the latest research into vinaya and hitherto understudied narrative texts, such as the Mahāvastu, Avadānaśataka and the narrative contents of the Gāndhārī manuscripts.

 

proposed papers

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05: Buddhist Rhetoric | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-12:30

  

Conveners
Steineck, Raji (raji.steineck@oas.uzh.ch)
Kaufmann Paulus

For most Buddhists salvation from suffering depends on having correct convictions about reality. Buddhist believers should thus aim at getting their beliefs right, but, out of compassion, they should also make others believe the truth about the world and the human condition. The capacity to lead others to salvation is referred to in Mahayana Buddhism by the general term "skillful means" (upāya kauśalya in Sanskrit, fang bian in Chinese, and hōben in Japanese). Rhetorical persuasion is one such means. It uses language as salvific tool and comprises a large repertoire of linguistic forms such as arguments, narratives, poetic language, citations, word-play etc. Theories and practices of persuasion have played an important role in the history of Buddhism, but Buddhist rhetoric has not received great attention of modern scholarship yet. We thus propose to organize a panel on Buddhist rhetoric that offers focused studies on rhetorical strategies and patterns from different areas of the Buddhist world and of different rhetorical styles to be found in Buddhist history, and reflections on pertinent methodologies. The panel thus aims at providing first insights into this important field and at framing questions for future study.

 

proposed papers

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06: Buddhist Theories of Causation | Wed., Aug. 20th, 14:00-15:30

 

Conveners
Westerhoff, Jan C. (j.c.westerhoff@durham.ac.uk)
Garfield, Jay

The aim of this panel is to investigate the Buddhist conceptions of causations and their implications for Buddhist metaphysics, for the conception of a self or agent, as well as their consequences for soteriology. Questions to be investigated include (but are not limited to) the following: Is there a coherent conception of causality across the various philosophical schools of Buddhism (Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, Yogacara)? Are there interesting differences between the Buddhist conceptions of causality and theories developed in Western philosophy? How can the notion of non-self be made coherent with the view of human beings as causally active agents? What notion of causation is necessary for a phenomenologically satisfactory conception of agenthood? How central is the idea of karmic causation for the Buddhist view of cause and effect? Is it possible to develop a 'naturalized Buddhism' that dispenses with the idea of karmic causation across different lifetimes?

 

proposed papers

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07: Chan Buddhism from the Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries: China and Beyond | Thurs., Aug. 21st, 09:30-12:30

 

Convener: 
Huang, Yi-hsun (yihsun.huang@gmail.com) 

The period from the 10th to 13th centuries, roughly covered by the Five Dynasties, the Song Dynasty, and early Yuan, saw the formation of Chan Buddhism as we know it. It was during this period that Chan became the mainstream representative of Chinese Buddhism. At the same time, this period witnessed the formation of national forms of Chan Buddhism. These new versions demonstrated specific selectivity in adopting the Chan heritage and absorbing contemporary Chinese traditions. This panel not only explores the formation of various traditions of mainstream Chinese Chan, but also examines lesser known Chan, or Chan-oriented traditions of the Kitan and Tangut Empires. The panel further includes developments in the early Yuan, such as the interrelation between Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism as seen from Yuan Buddhist texts.

proposed papers

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08: Creating Transnational Buddhist Networks Through International Travel | Tue., Aug. 19th, 14:00-17:30

 

Convener:
Schedneck, Brooke (brooke.s@mac.com)

With globalization and the rise in appeal of meditation, pilgrimage, and cultural exchange, global Buddhist networks are increasingly being created through international travel. Buddhists and meditators travel to work with a specific teacher, visit a Buddhist holy site, learn about the Buddhist way of life through cultural exchange programs, or attend a meditation retreat. In this way Buddhist teachings and practices travel and create new diasporic and international communities along the way. This phenomenon has generated a rise in branches of Buddhist monasteries and meditation centers throughout the world, which have become especially significant since the 1950s with the proliferation of Mahasi Sayadaw meditation centers as well as Thai forest monasteries. Relationships through meditation practice, pilgrimage, connections with Buddhist teachers and Buddhist monastic life programs demonstrate that global Buddhist networks are constantly being created and strengthened through international travel. This panel explores the routes and detours of this travel and details the sites where international communities of Buddhists meet and create new forms of practice and new global Buddhist networks. The aim of this panel is to both document these unique global occurrences as well as illuminate how these transnational networks transform and reimagine Buddhist practice and institutions.


proposed papers

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09: Experience and Doctrine in Yogācāra | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-12:30

 

Conveners:
Yamabe, Nobuyoshi (n1yamabe@nodai.ac.jp
Kritzer, Robert

Determining whether a doctrinal theory is based on experience is a difficult task, and Yogācāra theories are no exception. Some theories that appear or claim to be based on meditative experience may be products of theoretical speculation. Recently the hallmark theory of Yogācāra, vijñaptimātratā, has been subjected to critical examination in light of this problem. Specifically, Lambert Schmithausen’s argument for experiential bases of the vijñaptimātratā theory has been challenged by Robert Sharf, Johannes Bronkhorst, and Eli Franco. Referring to their arguments, in our panel, we would like to expand our discussion of the relationship between theory and experience (or practice) to other Yogācāra theories. For example, besides vijñaptimātratā, ālayavijñāna is another key concept of this tradition. We need to discuss whether ālayavijñāna was just a theoretical substitute for ātman, or was somehow tied to meditative experience. Also, the relationship between the systematization of practice in the Yogācāra tradition and the establishment of its doctrinal system has yet to be determined. Furthermore, an examination of the relevance of Yogācāra theories to modern cognitive science is a desideratum. The prospective panelists, who have published extensively in Yogācāra studies, will discuss these issues from various points of view.


proposed papers

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10: Interpreting Buddhist Canons: Commentators and their Commentaries | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 09:00-12:30

 

Convener:
Collett, Alice (a.collett@yorksj.ac.uk)

This panel explores the question of how commentators read / have read the Buddhist canon(s). Many commentators, the majority of whom have been or are committed practitioners, treat the canon as sacred and thus anything therein that might by modern scholarly standards be considered transmission error can be glossed otherwise by the commentators, who can adhere to the notions of verbatim oral and inerrable written transmission. This panel will address the question of the relationship between commentators and their canons, and look at various ways in which commentators have sought to understand Buddhist canons. Papers will examine issues born from linguistic problems, historical distance and differing social and cultural environs. The panel will include work on commentators from different Buddhist traditions and regions, who write in various languages such as Pāli, Chinese, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tibetan, etc.

 

proposed papers

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11: Knowledge and Power in Buddhist Thought | Tue., Aug. 19th, 09:00-12:30

 

Convener:
Fiordalis, David (dfiordal@linfield.edu)

What is knowledge, what is power, and how is their relationship conceptualized in Buddhist thought? Despite the demonstrably close connection between knowledge and power in much (but not all) of Buddhist doctrine and philosophy, modern scholarship has done relatively little to explore these questions. Indeed, they seem to strike a particularly modern chord, and prompt considerations of the conceptual paradigms through which the relationship between knowledge and power is conceived by ourselves and in either traditional or modern Buddhist thought: Is power or knowledge (or both) located within individuals or institutions? Does sovereignty or surveillance provide the most compelling paradigm for understanding their relationship? Feeling emboldened rather than burdened by such modern concerns, this panel proposes to bring together papers on a range of traditional or modern Buddhist sources that consider the nature of knowledge, power and their relationship (or lack thereof) in some way. We believe that such a focus may also allow us to interrogate, among other issues, the distinction between theory and practice of the path, philosophical understandings of techniques of self-transformation as means to and expressions of ethicized power, and Buddhist appropriations of broader sociopolitical discourses on sovereignty and mastery. We invite all those interested in exploring these or related issues in connection with traditional or modern Buddhist thought to make a proposal to David Fiordalis (fiordalisi75@gmail.com).


proposed papers

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12: Legal Cultures in Southeast Asian Buddhist Texts and Histories | CANCELLED

Convener:
Lammerts, Christian (dc.lammerts@rutgers.edu)

This panel examines legal culture and legal literature in Southeast Asian Buddhist history. Potential topics include Pali, Sanskrit, and/or vernacular vinaya-related textual materials and their transmission, authorship, and/or interaction in the region; non--vinaya texts bearing on regional monastic or lay Buddhist legal culture; the development and circulation of the Buddhist dharmaśāstra corpus; the dynamics of normative monastic and/or ritual practice and reform; and, the history of Buddhist socio-legal institutions (e.g., landholding, slavery, taxation). Recent scholarship has witnessed considerable intensification of interest in certain of these topics and the expanding epigraphic, manuscript, and/or ethnographic archives relevant to their study. This panel provides a forum for scholars working closely with such archives to share their research and articulate its implications for comparative reflection on Buddhist law and its varied texts and histories in the region.


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13: Manuscripts and Writing in Buddhist Monasteries: New Discoveries and Research | Thu., Aug. 21st, 09:00-12:30 | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 09:00-15:30

 

Conveners:
Baums, Stefan (baums@lmu.de)
Strauch, Ingo (ingo.strauch@unil.ch)

Our knowledge of the literature and doctrines of early Buddhism has been greatly improved by recent manuscript discoveries, especially in the northwestern regions of South Asia (ancient Gandhāra). At the same time, these oldest Indian manuscripts, among them many unknown and incompletely preserved texts, raise many new questions that can only be answered by detailed studies comparing this corpus to other Buddhist manuscript traditions. Among other topics, this concerns their modes of production and use, their relationship to oral modes of knowledge reproduction, and in general their Sitz im Leben. While the majority of the manuscripts in question contain religious texts, secular texts that were used by Buddhist monastic communities - such as administrative and legal documents - will also have to form part of this study. This panel will therefore present results from the ongoing research on the earliest Buddhist manus cripts and confront these with insights from the study of other Buddhist manuscript traditions. The intended geographical scope of the panel will extend beyond the South Asian cultural area to historical and contemporary manuscript traditions of Central and East Asia, Southeast Asia and Tibet.


proposed papers

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14: Meditative and Soteriological Developments of the "immeasurables" (apramāṇa) from Early Buddhist Thought to their Contemporary Receptions | Tue., Aug. 19th, 14:00-17:30

 

Convener:
Huimin Bhikshu (huimin@ddbc.edu.tw;dhammadinnaa@ddbc.edu.tw)


Throughout the development of Buddhist philosophy, as different means to different ends, the meditation instructions and doctrinal descriptions found in the texts reflect changing and diverse soteriological visions, paths, and goals. Textual and religio-historical research on the development of the notions and practice of the apramāṇas from early Buddhist thought to contemporary approaches shows continuities in innovation as well as major discontinuities. These reflect and in turn contribute to major shifts in the soteriological paradigms, namely the emergence of samādhis as ‘exclusive’ and self-sufficient paths to Buddhahood, the overarching importance assumed by ‘great compassion’ (mahākaruṇā) and ‘emptiness’ (śunyatā) in Mahāyāna thought, etc.

With contemporary religious and non-religious developments, doctrinally and practically selective approaches to the immeasurables come to be popularised in meditation circles, within a larger process of ideological de-contextualisation and re-contextualisation, and consequently of realignment of these doctrines and practices. Most notably, the immeasurables have attracted a great deal of attention among brain specialists and in the fields of the applications of mindfulness to education and social welfare programs. More or less positivistic, modernist, orientalist and occidentalist attitudes have characterised these encounters and cross-fertilisations between science and the Buddhist tradition(s), whereas philologists and scholars of Buddhism have only been peripheral to such discourse(s) and very rarely engage with them. 

The proposed panel intends to address these multiple processes of ideological development based on their textual roots and transformations, by taking into account both theoretical and practical perspectives.

 

proposed papers

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15: New Findings from Vinaya Texts| Sat., Aug. 23rd, 09:30-11:30

 

Conveners:
van der Kuijp, Leonard W.J. (vanderk@fas.harvard.edu)
Liu, Cuilan (liu@fas.harvard.edu)

The aim of this panel is to showcase recent Vinaya studies based on a wide variety of Vinaya materials to publicize new findings and promote collaboration among scholars working on different regions. Specifically, this panel explores what surviving texts can tell us about the documented history of Vinaya, with a focus on the compilation of the Vinaya rules and the transmission of Vinaya texts circulated in India, China, Tibet, and other Buddhist regions in South and East Asia. Among the three confirmed panelists, Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp (Harvard University) will discuss the Vinaya writings of Śākya mchog ldan (1428-1507), Sasaki Shizuka (Hanazono University) will analyze the pārājika rules to trace the historical changes of Vinaya rules in root and commentarial works, and Cuilan Liu (Harvard University) will survey the rare Vinaya manuscripts from the recently published Bka' gdams gsung 'bum phyogs sgrigs collection to discuss the transmission of Vinaya in Tibet from the 11th to the 15 th century. We are seeking three more contributions on Vinaya researches focused on Pāli, Japanese, Tibetan, Chinese, or Indian sources from potential panelists.


proposed papers

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16: New Studies in Buddhist Architecture: Stupas, Monasteries, and Gardens | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-14:30

 

Convener:
Chirapravati, Pattaratorn (patchira@saclink.csus.edu)

"This panels seeks to bring together art historians, scholars of material and visual culture, and specialists in Buddhist architecture to explore both new approaches to the study of built environments in Buddhist history. Papers include approaches to the relationship between relic history and the building of cetiya in Pagan, the history of narratives and physical manifestations of the Chulamani Cetiya in Ayutthaya and Bangkok, and the Chinese influence on ceramic decorative elements in Southeast Asian cetiya building.

While these scholars will be working on art and architectural history in monastic contexts, another speaker explores the creation of modern Buddhist parks, gardens, and museums. The panel organizers welcome scholars working in South, Southeast, East, and Central Asian Buddhist architectural history including ethnographers of Buddhist built environments.


proposed papers

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17: Plants and Food in East Asian Buddhist Culture | Tue., Aug. 19th, 14:00-17:30

 

Convener:
Lin, Peiying (bibo825@gmail.com)

This panel looks deeply at the symbolism of plants in the lives of Buddhists in China and Japan. PaneliststakeBuddhist plant and food culture of East Asia as a point of departure and focus on social and intellectual contexts of plants and plant-based foods in medieval and modern China and Japan.Studies grounded in the historical engagement of Buddhists with the flora of East Asia can examine symbolic representations and social practices.Vegetarian food and tea practices, for example, are among the most conspicuous contributio­­­ns that Chinese Buddhism made to East Asian cultures, and recent scholarship has demonstrated the vitality of the study of food and Buddhist teachings.Our visionof plantsincludes food, tea, and non-culinary plant-life, and brings the parallel histories of plants and cuisines into dialogue. Each paper focuses on a particular plant or comestible in a specific context of East Asian Buddhist history. Presenters will address flowers as images of purity, vegetables as a critical language of aesthetics, andthe cultural history of tea consumption. Taken together, these papers consider the symbolic disparity between comestibles and uneaten plants, and demonstrate that plants and their products were sites of significant discourse for Buddhists in East Asia.

proposed papers

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18: Pramana Across Asia: India, China, Korea, Japan. | Thurs., Aug. 21st, 09:00-12:30 | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 09:00-16:30 | Sat., Aug. 23rd, 09:00-10:00

(former title: Buddhist Epistemology and Logic from India to Korea)

Conveners: 
Franco, Eli (franco@uni-leipzig.de
Woo, Jeson (jwoo@dongguk.edu)

How can developments in Korean Buddhist thought be better understood by tracing their sources in India and China? How can a comparative study of the history and transmission of ideas in India and China enable a richer appreciation of the uniqueness and individuality of Korean thought? This panel will take a 'global' perspective to these questions, covering:

(i) the intellectual life of Gupta and post-Gupta India and Buddhist traditions, particularly as associated with developments in 'Pramāṇavāda' and the influence of Dignāga (c. 480-540) and Dharmakīrti (c. 600-660);

(ii) developments in Chinese Buddhist scholasticism during the Táng period and the role of figures such as Xuánzàng (c. 602-664) and Fāzàng (c. 643-712) in bringing together -both literally and metaphorically - Indian and East Asian ways of thinking; and

(iii) the flowering of Korean scholarship and the intellectual achievements of figures such as Woncheuk (c. 613-696) and Wonhyo (c. 617-686) as 'global thinkers', both inasmuch as they draw upon Chinese and Indian sources to create a uniquely Korean synthesis, and also insofar as they have an impact upon Buddhist thought beyond Korea, in China, Tibet and Japan.

The panel will be particularly concerned with understanding what specific aspects of logic and epistemology in the Buddhist Pramāna school - e.g., the formal theorization of direct perception and inference, particulars and universals etc., - helped render wider Indian and Chinese Buddhist models of metaphysics and soteriology amenable to cultural adaptation and transmission, particularly as evidenced in their reception and flourishing in Korea. So far, about ten scholars have expressed their intention of attending at this panel.


proposed papers

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19: Recent Research in Newar Buddhist Studies | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 09:00-12:30

  
Convener
Emmrich, Christoph (christoph.emmrich@utoronto.ca)

This panel will supply an update on the current state of Newar Buddhist Studies, presenting ongoing work by researchers in those areas in which the field has seen its most pronounced ongoing and recent developments: art history and ritual studies. How does the historiography of South Asian art locate Newar visual culture within or distinct from the larger and older South Asian lineages? What do ritual texts that take into account local events tell us about Newar historiography? How can we follow and identify a ritual backwards in time through the record of its manuals? And how can text and image be made to work together in helping to identify or differentiate the iconographic character and the ritual roles of specific deities? These will be some of the leading questions this panel will attempt to provide the answers to.

 

proposed papers

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20: Reconstructing the History of Late Indian Buddhism (Part II): Relationship between Tantric and Non-tantric Doctrines | Tue., Aug. 19th, 09:00-16:30

 

Convener
Kyuma, Taiken (kyuma@human.mie-u.ac.jp)

The fundamental purpose of this panel is to investigate the relationship between tantric and non-tantric doctrines in late Indian Buddhism, especially in the Vikramaśīla Monastery. In the monastic tradition of late Indian Buddhism, both doctrines were grasped as constituting a whole system of thought and practice. If we try to describe the history of late Indian Buddhism properly, it would be necessary to make clear how these two doctrines are related to each other.

Based on this principle, we had a panel under the same title in the XVIth Congress and dealt with the superiority of mantranaya to pāramitānaya, by examining how several famous authors of the Vikramaśīla Monastery argued this topic in their works.

In the present panel, however, the emphasis will be shifted more towards some significant non-tantric elements embedded in mantranaya, such as those of Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, Tathāgatagarbha and Pramāṇa. Usually mantranaya is explained as superior to pāramitānaya, but it is also true that the latter’s ideas are often woven into the former. Focusing on some important authors of the Vikramaśīla Monastery, the present panel attempts to undo the seams of mantranaya carefully.

 

proposed papers

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21: Reformulations of Yogācāra in Tibet | Wed., Aug. 20th, 16:00-17:30

 

Conveners:
Brownell, Paul (paul.brownell@anu.edu.au
Gilks, Peter


This panel will focus on alternative Tibetan interpretations of Yogācāra doctrines. While mainstream doxographical presentations of Yogācāra hermeneutics have been relatively well-researched to date, other interpretations have received less attention.

The convenors therefore invite papers that explore the following topics:

· New presentations of Yogācāra doctrines by prominent figures in the non-sectarian (ris-med) movement in Tibetan Buddhism, such as Khenpo Shenga (1871-1927), Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899), Ju Mipham (1846-1912), Jigme Lingpa (1729-1798), etc.;

· Commentaries on important Indian Yogācāra texts, such as Madhyāntavibhāga, Ratnagotravibhāga, etc, that reflect new or non-mainstream Tibetan interpretations of Yogācāra;

· How reformulations of Yogācāra influenced, and were influenced by, other philosophical and meditative traditions, such as Great Madhyamaka (dbu ma chen po) or "emptiness of what is other" (gzhan stong), or Mahāmudrā (phyag rgya chen po) and Dzogchen.


proposed papers

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22: Riding the Yoked Necks of the Lions of the Middle Way and Epistemology| Sat., Aug. 23rd, 09:00-16:30


Conveners:
Hugon, Pascale (pascale.hugon@oeaw.ac.at
Vose, Kevin (kavose@wm.edu)


The combination of the view of emptiness championed by Nāgārjuna’s Middle Way School with Dharmakīrti’s epistemology has been attempted in various ways in the course of the development of Buddhist philosophy in India and Tibet. It is revealed for instance by the doxographical classification of Dharmakīrti as a Mādhyamika, in the integration, in Madhyamaka exegesis, of conceptual tools developed in the epistemological tradition, or in the blending of the two systems in late Indian works classified as “Yogācāra-Madhyamaka.” More “conservative” representatives of the Madhyamaka system resisted on the other hand the incorporation of the tools of Buddhist logic. Candrakīrti’s works, which include a radical attack on epistemology, represented a further challenge for the juxtaposition of the two approaches, a challenge that came to full bloom when his works were transmitted to Tibet in the 12th century. While the marriage of Candrakīrti and Dharmakīrti is characteristic of later Tibetan scholasticism, earlier works portray both supporters and detractors of the Candrakīrtian approach as emphasizing their incompatibility.


This panel will welcome papers that explore the tensions between Buddhist epistemology and Madhyamaka-oriented views of reality in the Indian and Tibetan traditions. Contributions based on newly recovered texts that can broaden and refine our picture of the various approaches adopted by specific authors will be especially appreciated.

proposed papers

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23: Scriptural Formation and Authentication | Sat., Aug. 23rd, 09:00-15:30


Convener:
Tournier, Vincent (vt6@soas.ac.uk)


The proposed panel offers a venue for discussion about the historical processes of scriptural development throughout the Buddhist world. To be sure, the problem has been abundantly explored over the past decades, but it is so crucial that it deserves renewed scrutiny. By bringing together scholars of Buddhist texts in Indic, Chinese, and Tibetan languages, specialists of a wide range of literary genres and historical settings, the panel contributes to a deeper understanding of canonicity. Therefore, these scholars will discuss the inherent flexibility of Buddhist scriptures, how attempts were made by the transmitters of these texts to arrange them into corpora and compendia, and how borders of these collections were drawn and renegotiated. Attention will also be paid to the role played by the exegetical tradition in the definition of the “canons”, in particular through the assessment of scriptural authenticity. In relation to the latter issue, reflections will be presented on the discursive devices used, in the scriptures themselves, to justify their canonical status. Besides an opening contribution on the theoretical implications of canonicity, specific phenomena to be addressed by panellists will include inter alia the growth of the various Baskets (piṭaka) attached to the textual transmission of various Indian schools (nikāya), and the formation of scriptural collections of Mahāyāna sūtras, vidyās/dhāraṇīs, and “revealed” scriptures, within or besides the piṭaka framework.


proposed papers

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24: The Bsam yas Debate: Challenges and Responses | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-15:30

 

Convener:
Higgins, David (david.higgins@univie.ac.at)

This panel explores varying Buddhist responses to the influential Sino-Indian debate hosted by the Tibetan emperor Trisong Detsen at the end of the 8th century to decide the future of Buddhism in his country. While many historical details of the debate remain obscure, it is now widely accepted that a debate (or series of debates) did occur and that it was organized according to Indian Buddhist principles of formal debate well-known to Tibetans since early in the 8th c. with the emperor presiding in the role of the arbiter or “witness” (dpang po = sākṣin).

At issue was whether enlightenment is realized gradually through analytical meditation, as argued by the Indian participant Kamalaśīla, or all at once through contemplating the nature of mind, as proposed by his Chinese Chan (Zen) counterpart He shang Mo ho yen (Hva shang Mahāyāna/Mahāyan). The account of the debate preserved in Tibetan chronicles and in the cultural memory of Tibetans has Kamalaśīla roundly defeating his opponent, thereby securing Indian Buddhism as the official state religion. However, the standard debate narrative must be reconsidered in light of a variety of Tibetan, Chinese and Indian sources that show it to be an oversimplification of a perennial Buddhist epistemological problem: how to reconcile conceptual and non-conceptual modes of liberating knowledge. That this enduring problem and its reconstruction in the standard debate narrative have continued to be discussed and hotly debated by leading masters in all Tibetan traditions down to the present day makes the debate as relevant as ever for our understanding of some of the key epistemological and soteriological issues that have defined Tibet's cultural history.

proposed papers

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25: The Buddhist Cult of Images - New Perspectives | Thurs., Aug. 21st, 09:00-12:30

 

Convener:
Morrissey, Nicolas (nmorriss@uga.edu)

There can be little question that the introduction of the anthropomorphic image was one of the most consequential developments in the history of Buddhism. Yet it is perplexing that even some of the most fundamental aspects of this innovation are so poorly understood. Questions concerning the geographical and chronological origin of the Buddha image, in addition to who may have been responsible, remain contentiously unresolved. The goal of this panel is to shift the conversation away from these longstanding conundrums and toward the much neglected issue of process - the proverbial "how" and "why" the Buddhist cult of images became such a pervasive preoccupation within historical Buddhist communities. In addition, the papers in this panel will explore the varied responses engendered by the introduction and success of the image cult, a development clearly embraced in some Buddhist circles but in others viewed with considerable suspicion. Accordingly, the papers of the panel will draw from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and evidential bases: art historical, epigraphic and textual. A central theme of the panel will be the important issue of regional variation in the adoption of the Buddha image - this lack of uniformity will be addressed by papers which will include case-studies of specific Buddhist sites in Gandhara, Western India, Andhra and China. Other topics will include examinations of the different ways in which the goals or motivations of image donation found expression in inscriptions and how this can be compared to discussions in Mainstream and Mahāyāna Buddhist textual sources.


proposed papers

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26: The Development of Buddhist Monastic Communities or the Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion | Thurs., Aug. 21st, 09:30-12:30

 

Conveners:
Claire Maes (claire.maes@ugent.be
Paul Nietupski (pnietupski@jcu.edu)

This panel focusses on identifying and analysing specific historical dynamic and dialectical forces that triggered and still continue to trigger the (re)formulation of practices, precepts, or narratives within Buddhist monastic traditions. Buddhist monastic communities, whether in their formative stages in north India, in their expansion and settlement in Asia and beyond, or in their current establishment in modern societies, developed in constant dialogue with their wider “non-Buddhist” environments. The proximity of wider non-Buddhist lay, political and other religious communities, with their specific practices, structures and power relations, formed challenges to the authority and internal organisation of the Buddhist monastic communities. The aim of this panel is to offer by means of case studies a critical examination of various elements within Buddhist monastic literatures and specific monastic praxes that are best understood as responses to the challenges imposed by a Buddhist monastic community’s wider environment. This will offer an effective move away from the traditional Buddhist stories concerning their own monastic development. Instead, the boundaries of the Buddhist monastic communities will be in focus as it is there where inter-communal debates took place and the need for true self-definition was best felt.

Specific subjects that will be addressed by panelists include the examination of parameters for inclusion and exclusion of ideas, ritual practices, and persons in seventh and early eighth centuries north Indian Buddhist monastic communities; an examination of the precepts regulating the bodily care of Buddhist mendicants in ancient China as both a result of and means for interaction with the lay community, a study of the prominent narrative presence of brāhmaṇas in the Pāli Vinaya as an important category of early Buddhists’ ascetic others, a study of the interactions and adaptations of public and monastic opinions and behaviours, and an analysis of the Mahāsāṅghika-Lokottaravāda Bhikṣuṇī Vinaya as a literary document, a nun’s social model, and a document that negotiates a place for Buddhist nuns in the context of the Buddhist laity, the non-Buddhist laity, and the male sangha.

proposed papers

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27: The Ethics of Anatta/Anatman in Pre-contact and Post-contact Western Philosophy | Sat., Aug. 23rd, 11:00-12:30

 

Convener:
Davis, Gordon (gordon_davis@carleton.ca)


With respect to those currents in Western moral philosophy that take seriously a sceptical approach to selfhood or personal identity, we can speak of a pre-contact period and a post-contact period – in terms of the ‘contact’ that resulted from the arrival of Buddhist texts in the early and mid-nineteenth century, in Western centres of learning.  We shall compare the ways in which Hume and Kant linked themes of selfhood to themes in ethics, with the ways in which later philosophers – starting with Schopenhauer – linked these themes under the influence of the Buddhist critique of beliefs about personal identity and selfhood.  A favourable response to the Buddhist critique is evident in the writings of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Russell, Heidegger and William James, among others; but their ethical perspectives sometimes diverged, in various ways, from the main emphases of Buddhist ethics.  We consider the extent of their knowledge of Buddhist philosophical traditions, and we consider whether any ethical insights from those traditions found echoes or parallels in their works, despite those divergences.


proposed papers

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28: The Mountain of Five Plateaus: Studies of the Wutai cult in Multidisciplinary and Transborder/Cultural Approaches | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 09:00-15:30


Convener:
Chen, Jinhua (jinhuachen2013@gmail.com)


Buddhist sacred sites represent an important and complex phenomenon. This panel proposes to explore the pan-Asian significance of a single holy territory: Mount Wutai 五臺山(literally, “the mountain of five plateaus”). Located in central China, this site emerged as the focus of regional, dynasty-wide and international devotion during the seventh-century. Its holy status was rooted largely in scriptural claims that the marchmount was home to a major Indian bodhisattva  (Mañjuśrī). Mount Wutai’s construction as Mañjuśrī’s dwelling place contributed to the sense that the site and with it the dynasty constituted a new “dharma center.” The mountain cult’s expansion to neighboring territories had equally important implications for the cultural, sociopolitical, economic, commercial, military and religious landscape of region’s at once distant from and intimately connected to Mount Wutai of today’s Shanxi province. By investigating both the marchmount’s early history within China’s borders and its later and larger East Asian significance, this panel aims to shed new light on the multiple roles the Mount Wutai played in medieval East Asian society. It invites case studies exploring the mountain’s importance in East Asian countries or regions including (but not limited to) China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Vietnam, Xixia. It welcomes papers concentrating on one, two, or all three of the following topics: religious legends, relics, and images.

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29: The Nature of a Buddha | Tue., Aug. 19th, 09:00-17:00

 

Conveners:
Meinert, Carmen (carmen.meinert@ruhr-uni-bochum.de)
Shulman, Eviatar

Imagery is essential to any perception of the Buddha – he is "enlightened" from human or cosmic darkness, "awakened" from the "sleep" of ignorance, and "liberated", although we do not know for certain to what extent and from what. Although these images tell little about what a Buddha really is, the vagueness has not hindered the development of the religion that grew around him. Whether we speak of Buddhism or of "Buddhisms", any form of Buddhist belief, philosophy, action or ritual revolves around the figure of the Buddha and the understanding that he embodied a form of being that is the acme of human aspiration. Now that Buddhist studies are growing ever more suspicious of the rationalized, modernized Buddha of the West, it is time to inquire more deeply into the Buddhist conception of the Buddha  -- 

Why is it, for example, that the Buddha serves as a potent object for religious worship? Why is paying homage to the Buddha beneficial? Who is the intended hero of Buddhist narrative? Why are the Buddha's bodily remains venerated in sacred places such as stūpas and why are they considered pregnant with power? Where does the Buddha's religious might derive from and why is enlightenment so rich in creative force? Is enlightenment a psychological or a cosmological event? In what sense is it true that the Buddha, before or after his enlightenment, was a human being, or should he be seen as pertaining to a different ontological order? What, ultimately, is a Buddha?

This panel will work toward responses for questions of this sort by attempting to conceptualize and articulate the organic understanding of the Buddha in traditional Buddhist societies and cultures.


proposed papers

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30: The Universality of the Lotus Sutra | Wed., Aug. 20th, 09:00-12:30

 

Convener:
Tsuda, Shin'ichi (joselogansan@hotmail.com)

"Buddhism is a rational philosophy. It has no religious concept of God." This was Japanese Buddhism's answer to the introduction of Christianity into Japan and its strong influence on Japanese Society in the Meiji Era. The convener believes that it is time for this approach to be abandoned. Since the time of Gautama Siddhartha, Buddhism has consistently had the concept of God at its foundation, and without reaffirmation of that concept, Buddhism cannot convey the real meaning of its philosophy. 

In the history of Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra is the first sutra in which the existence of God is declared in its text. With the academic reestablishment of the Buddhist concept of God, the original form of the philosophy of the Lotus Sutra and its universal significance can be confirmed.
This Panel invites discussion on the Universality of the Lotus Sutra as well as on whether or not the convener's perspective can be supported.

 

proposed papers

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31: Theories and Methods in the Translation of Mahāyāna Sūtras | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 14:00-17:00

 

Convener:
Osto, Douglas (d.osto@massey.ac.nz)

Although much has been written on “early Mahāyāna” in the last century, the vast majority of Mahāyāna sūtras remain untranslated into any modern language. This panel will draw on the previous translation experiences and current research projects of its members in order to explore various approaches and pitfalls in the translation of Mahāyāna sūtras. The panelists will investigate various theoretical issues involved in the translation of this literature such as the utility of translation theory, tensions between source and target languages, audience of received texts, the idea of translation as interpretation and the concept of literary refraction. Also, the panel will consider more pragmatic issues such as what version of a text to translate, the value of critical editions, and the translation of technical terms.


proposed papers

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32: Tocharian Buddhism | Tue., Aug. 19th, 09:30-17:30

 

Conveners:
Habata, Hiromi (habata@t-online.de
Hackstein, Olav (olav.hackstein@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Hartmann, Jens-Uwe (juhartmann@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)


Tocharian Buddhism played an important role in the transmission and development of Buddhism in Central Asia. It flourished in an area which was characterized by an amazing multitude of ethnic, linguistic and cultural contact and interchange. Therefore its research usually requires an interdisciplinary approach involving the collaboration of Indo-Europeanists, Tocharianists, Indologists, Art Historians and experts of non-Indo-European languages like Chinese and Old Turkish.

The panel is intended to promote the cooperation between a variety of disciplines, including Indology, Indo-European linguistics, Art History, Turkology and Buddhology. Panel presenters will be expected to explore the multifaceted aspects of Tocharian Buddhism from a variety of perspectives including art, language, history and religious ideas and practices.

 

proposed papers

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33: Towards an Anthropology of Buddhism | Sat., Aug. 23rd, 09:00-17:00

 

Conveners:
Sihlé, Nicolas
Ladwig, Patrice (patrice@gmx.com

Through a recent series of panels/workshops, in Asia, America and Europe, the project of an “anthropology of Buddhism” as an ethnographically based, comparatively and theoretically informed shared endeavour of a community of scholars (in the way that we have seen the recent formation of an “anthropology of Christianity”) is starting to emerge. As a step in that direction, this panel will present the results of ethnographically based work, conducted in a wide range of Buddhist social settings. We particularly invite contributions that are framed by an assessment of the state of the art in the anthropology of Buddhism with regard to the central topics that they address.

 As possible directions, we invite contributions that deepen or question, substantively, comparatively and analytically, our knowledge of relatively better-studied contexts (e.g., rural, rather mainstream traditions subsumed under the categories of Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajrayana), but also contributions that explore less well-studied situations: ‘ethnic minority Buddhisms’ or high Buddhist elites; heterodoxies or praxies; urban, transnational or multiethnic settings. We seek contributions bringing fresh perspectives on classic themes and theories, or that attempt to open up the anthropology of Buddhism to less explored issues and approaches, such as (to name just a few): embodied moral traditions of asceticism, learning and healing; the ethnography of texts and other Buddhist media; or emergent Buddhist economics, politics and socialities in the face of contemporary changes. 

 

proposed papers

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34: Transference and Transmission in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist "Philosophical" Traditions | Fri., Aug. 22nd, 09:00-15:30

 

Conveners
Forgues, Gregory (gregory.forgues@univie.ac.at
Kemp, Casey (caseyakemp@gmail.com
Scheuermann, Rolf (rolf.scheuermann@univie.ac.at)

Twelve centuries ago, repeated intercultural encounters between India and Tibet resulted, within a relatively short period of time, in a vast transfer of ideas over the Himalayas. This transfer took place across physical, philosophical, and religious boundaries. A prominent feature of this transmission was a process of hybridization of various trends of thought, such as Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, and Pramāṇa.

The transfer of Buddhist ideas from India to Tibet was not without precedent. Centuries before Buddhism was first introduced in Tibet, frequent philosophical debates in India between groups and individuals with competing accounts of the real had created a dynamic situation in which new philosophical ideas spread across the Indian world, often resulting in syncretic movements, such as Yogācāra-Madhyamaka.

Methodological frameworks based on the notions of cultural transfer, cultural transformation, cultural appropriation, and their specific modes of transmission, in relation to a diachronic presentation of the evolution of Buddhism from India to Tibet enable us to better comprehend the complexity of these transfers of ideas.

The aim of this panel is to address such negotiation processes between source and target cultures within their own social, institutional, and intellectual context as found in the Indian and Tibetan “philosophical” traditions.


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35: Yogācāra: Modeling the Meaning of the Mahāyāna | Thurs., Aug. 21st, 09:00-12:30

 

Convener
Gold, Jonathan C. (jcgold@princeton.edu)


More than just philosophy of mind, Yogācāra texts provide interpretive structures that make sense of the Mahāyāna path and scriptures. Untethered, thus, from the later caricature of the Yogācāra as a mind-reifying stepping-stone to the Madhyamaka, early Yogācāra reveals itself to be centrally concerned with the nature of language and representation, always with one eye on the path and the other on the nature of essencelessness (nairātmya). The papers presented here examine Yogācāra structures of meaning in a broad range of related works: Asaṅga’s Bodhisattvabhūmi and Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī; Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośabhāṣya, Viṃśikā and Trisvabhāvanirdeśa; Sthiramati’s Triṃśikābhāṣya; the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra; and the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra. Asaṅga, Vasubandhu, Sthiramati and other Yogācāra authors were not failing to understand the Madhyamaka, and they were not merely reaching for some further, as-yet unarticulated idealism. Their subtle systems are attempts to account for the Buddha’s multifarious teachings in necessarily flawed language, without undermining the dharma’s utility. The panel thus explores Yogācāra philosophers’ attempts to articulate a distinctive, Mahāyāna understanding of reality and thought.

 

proposed papers


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