Follow-up Report on the 1st Young Scholars Forum on Chinese Buddhism, June 26-27

As a young scholars’ platform for academic exchange to further explore studies and research on Chinese Buddhism, the “Young Scholars Forum on Chinese Buddhism,” co-organized by Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies (CHIBS), Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA), and Sheng Yen Education Foundation, was officially opened in the Education and Administration Building at DDM World Center for Buddhist Education at 9 A.M., on June 26.

DDM’s abbot president, Ven. Guo Dong, first explained about the reason and purpose for this innovative forum, which used the “newly-discovered literature, new perspective, and new approach” to catch on with latest technology and social impulses. Also, he urged these young scholars to jointly help purify human minds and society, and wished a success for this forum.

As the director of CHIBS, Ven. Guo Jing (果鏡), pointed out, academic Buddhist studies is meant to help build a complete picture of Buddhism, serving as an accurate frame of reference for those who aspire to engage in and serve Buddhism. Therefore, this forum, which has gone through two years of preparation, aims at providing PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers with opportunities to form a more complete and mature picture through the exchange of ideas. On the other hand, DILA’s president, Ven. Hui Min, reminded participants of the fact that in a new era where “digitalization” or “brain science” has come into focus, we need talent who can engage in dialogues and cross-disciplinary integration; he also encouraged young talent to keep a healthy body and mind, as well as get into a habit of lifelong learning while committed to research and studies.

With a focus on newly-discovered literature and innovative approaches to help young scholars broaden their visions based on former research, the forum allowed scholars to talk freely about topics ranging from Buddhism and poetry, monastery space, to taboos in practice and gender. By learning from and consulting with each other, they expanded the horizon of their personal views.

Liao Zhaoheng (廖肇亨), a preparatory committee member, expressed his expectation that, more than just an one-off seminar, this forum could also serve as an academic platform for the exchange of ideas, bringing together young scholars to further enhance Chinese Buddhist research and development. This is why it was designed as a 3-year project. Presentation groups that have been examined and approved are eligible to subsidies for 2016, to study abroad engaging in field work and collection of literature materials; well-researched essays, when recommended and approved, will be published in the Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies. Outstanding research works will be selected for 2017, to be published and distributed, with sponsorship from CHIBS.

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