Scholars gathered at Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts to study Buddhism and East Asian Culture

Scholars gathered at Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts to study Buddhism and East Asian Culture

On January 13, the 2018 International Buddhism and East Asian Culture Winter Workshop was launched at Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA). More than 130 scholars, graduate and post graduate students from 23 countries and regions gathered together to explore the bright future of Buddhist research.




This nine-day workshop lasted from January 13 to January 21, and contained various activities including keynote lectures, seminars, symposiums and field studies. The youth scholar symposium held on January 18 and January 19 had received 41 papers submitted by young scholars.

The hosts of this workshop, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Sheng Yen Education Foundation, Buddhist Research Center in Sun Yat-Sen University and the University of British Columbia (UBC) Buddhist Studies Forum invited famous historian Professor Chen Jinhua from UBC, East Asian linguist Professor James Robson from Harvard University, social and cultural historian , Professor Barend ter Haar from Oxford University and Professor Barrett from SOAS University of London to give speeches in both Chinese and English.


Further, Professor Liao Chao-Heng from Academia SINICA, Professor Gong Juan from Sun Yat-Sen University, Professor Hsieh Shu-Wei from National Chengchi University, Professor Lin Pei Ying from Fu Jen Catholic University and other famous scholars on religious studies were also invited to give speeches aimed at widening the participant’s global view and deepening their research. The workshop also held an International Seminar on Chan Study and Chan practice for the first time in order to provide opportunities to experience the integration of theories and practices in Chan.

Professor Teng Wei-Jen from DILA Department of Buddhist Studies said that since its first launch in Bai Ma Temple in Luoyang, the ten-year old workshop had developed into an influential Buddhist research event. It was particularly with the help of scholars like Professor Chen Jinhua, who has improved the promotion and participation of participants and has given assistance on monograph publications. Until now, nearly one hundred trainees have graduated from this workshop, which will definitely contribute to the sustainable development of Chinese Buddhist research.

To reflect on the features of Dharma Drum Mountain and Chinese Buddhism, the workshop had Chan as the theme for its seminar. Professor Teng Wei-Jen illustrated that the speech given by Professor Robson from Harvard University took the perspective of classical Chinese Chan literature at the beginning, then gradually replaced it with modern terms to lead the participants to ruminate and reflect on not only their own confusion, but also the differences between modern Chan and traditional Chan practices. This event provided an opportunity for overseas scholars to get to know the Chinese Buddhist studies in Taiwan whilst helping Taiwan scholars to join international research projects and to benefit all from the cohesion of global cooperation on teaching and research.

Ms Severina Balabanova from Bulgaria, shared that she had never gone deep into Chan studies until she attended Professor Robson’s lecture focusing on the historic development of Chan. The lecture inspired her to take various perspectives to get to know Chan and Buddhism. Especially, she spoke highly of the Q&A section between the professor and the general audience. The conversation was concise and informative and she really felt she had learnt a lot from it. Severina, who had been in DILA for literature research in 2010, also said that she felt very happy when she saw the new campus. She and her peers all agreed that with a great deal of collections in its library, DILA is a perfect place for conducting Buddhist research.

After the completion of the workshop, DILA arranged a tour for overseas participants to visit temples and historical sites in north Taiwan, including the Nung Chan Monastery and Sansia Zushih Temple. The participants valued this opportunity highly. DILA stated they would publish two monographs from this workshop in English and in Chinese, respectively. The English monograph would also include translations of several non-English papers, except from the papers written in Chinese. The Chinese monograph would also include translations of all non-Chinese papers, and it would be published in Taiwan or mainland China. DILA would also like to encourage scholars worldwide to make full use of its delightful Chan environment and precious literature collections, and therefore deepen their research in Buddhism.

Photos: Shi Chun-Tai (施純泰)
Texts: Chang, Yao-Chong (張曜鐘)
Translation: Wang Hao (王皓)
Editors: DDM Australian Editorial Team

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