We are delighted to inform you about a talk at Freie Universität‘s Institute for China Studies:

Thursday (April 25), 12:15 pm, Room 2.2051 („Holzlaube“)
The Analysis of Gender and Space among Buddhist Communities in Shanghai – an Overview and the Impact of Transnational Taiwanese Religious Movements

Huang Weishan (Hong Kong, Berlin)

This presentation examines the process of revival of Mahayana Buddhist communities in contemporary Shanghai. The rival was accelerated by state-planned urbanization during the last three decades. After examining data from 120 temples together with ethnographic research from 10 case studies, the author uncovers two dynamics of social change. First, an increasing divide between Buddhist religious and educational temple spaces in the city center and in suburban areas caused by political constructions can be detected. A new drive of gentrification generates different physical and social transformations in the surrounding neighbourhoods. In this process, new relationships are created between religious clergy, land developers, and lay practitioners. Secondly, caused by the new modes of social organization and city planning, the rise of a non-monastic socially engaged Buddhist movement, the Tzu Chi Foundation, has attracted young middle-class urban inhabitants. Based on ethnographic material, the second part of the talk aims to analyze the localization of this lay women-led movement. The author argues that the successful structural adaption of the Tzu Chi movement corresponds with the promotion of a socially engaged Buddhism that aligns itself with policies and interests of the state. In addition, the timely change of organizational missions of the movement corresponds with shifts of the social identity of urban residents from “Work Units” to “Communities” in urban Shanghai.

Huang Weishan received both her MA and PhD degrees in Sociology at the New School for Social Research in New York. Her Ph.D. research focused on the studies of ethnic Chinese religious movement organizations, including the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades, the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation and Falun Gong, both in New York City as well as their transnational networks. She also participated in the Gateway Project and the Ecologies of Learning Project in New York City.

Website: http://www2.crs.cuhk.edu.hk/faculty-staff/faculty-members/huang-weishan

25.04.2019 | 12:15
Neubau “Holzlaube”, Room 2.2051
Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften
Institut für Sinologie
Fabeckstraße 23-25
D-14195 Berlin


The organizing committee for the international conference on “Buddhism and Technology: Historical Background and Contemporary Challenges” cordially invites the submission of related papers. The conference is sponsored by the Tianzhu Global Network for Buddhism and East Asian Culture, and organized by the project From the Ground Up (www.frogbear.org) based at the University of British Columbia. The conference will be held September 20-22, 2019 at the University of British Columbia. Local transportation, meals and accommodation during the conference period, will be covered by the conference organizers, who—depending on availability of funding—may also provide a travel subsidy to selected panelists.

The organizers are asking to email proposals and CVs to frogbear.project@ubc.ca by April 15, 2019. English and Chinese volumes with the conference proceedings are to be published speedily after the conference. So only scholars who are confident in finishing their draft papers by early September and publishable papers by the end of 2019 are encouraged to apply.

For more information, click here.

© Michael Neubert

We are happy to report on the success of the workshop, “The Metta-Sutra Today: Theory and Practice” that took place on January 30th, 2019. As a collaboration between the German Buddhist Union (Deutsche Buddhistische Union) and the research workshop on Buddhist Modernism at the Institute of Religious Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, a broad range of speakers were able to share their insights on this important facet of Buddhist doctrine.

Firstly, Prof. Dr. Almut-Barbara Renger (Freie Universität Berlin) introduced main concepts and definitions as a foundation for understanding the Metta-Sutra with her presentation, “Continuity and Change – Maitrī, Mettā, Loving Kindness. Perspectives on a Text and its Transformations in the Present”. Dr. habil. Martin Ramstedt (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg) expanded on this basis with a discussion of the development of Maitri, specifically in the context of traditional Tibetan lineages. The diverse approach to these topics was further offered by a presentation by the Sri Lankan Theravada monk, Bhante Devananda Rambukwelle Thero, with his talk “Metta Meditation and Being Happy”. Lastly, Jürgen Manshardt explored the practice of compassion in the Mahayana tradition.

© Michael Neubert

The day-long workshop concluded with a fruitful discussion of concepts, practice and the role of Metta in contemporary Buddhism. Thank you to all who organized and participated in this enjoyable collaboration.

Robekkah (Ritchie)


Dear all,

The next conference of the European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies (ENBCS) will take the 100th anniversary of Lynn A. de Silva—a Sri Lankan pioneer of Buddhist-Christian dialogue—as an occasion for an evaluation of the current state of Buddhist-Christian dialogue: How far has dialogue transformed Buddhist and Christian reciprocal understanding? What has been achieved? And what might be the next steps to be taken?

The conference with a list of prominent speakers is organised in cooperation with the World Council of Churches and will take place in St. Ottilien near Munich from 26 June – 1 July 2019.

For further information and registration please visit the ENBCS website: St. Ottilien 2019 | European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies

The Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig offers – at the earliest possible date – the following position in the research project Buddhist Murals of Kuča on the Northern Silk Road (Wissenschaftliche Bearbeitung der buddhistischen Höhlenmalereien in der Kuča-Region der nördlichen Seidenstraße):

Postgraduate/Doctoral candidate

Duration: Two years with an option of extension of another (third) year.
Salary group: TV-L 13, 50%.

Job description:
The project “Buddhist Murals of Kuča on the Northern Silk Road ” is the first comprehensive research project focussing on the Buddhist wall paintings of Kuča (Xinjiang, PR China). It aims at exploring the paintings in a series of scholarly studies and at creating an extensive information system that documents the murals in situ as well as the parts that were removed from the sites by a series of expeditions at the beginning of the 20th century. The project also aims at documenting current research in European and Asian languages and archival materials. The project will provide an overview of the original image programmes of the caves, identifications of the individual narratives depicted and their literary sources, an analysis of iconographic, stylistic and compositional concepts in order to identify artistic developments within the corpus of paintings as well as influences from other contemporary cultures and regions such as the Indian subcontinent, Iran, Central Asia, the Mediterranean and China. The doctoral candidate is expected to finish a Ph.D. thesis related to the field of the Kuča murals within the specified duration of the contract and to prepare the materials collected in the course of his research for inclusion in the project database. The final manuscript can be included in the publication series of the project.

The candidate must hold a university degree in a relevant field (Asian Art History or Indology) and have sound knowledge of the art history and archaeology of Central and South Asia, especially the Buddhist art of the Silk Roads. Knowledge of another cultural area (Mediterranean / Persia / East Asia) interrelated to the Kuča region is of advantage. A good working knowledge of English and of at least one classical Buddhist language is essential; candidates with proven experience in the organization and structuring of large volumes of art historical data are particularly encouraged to apply.

Attention is paid to the preferential consideration of severely handicapped persons with equal qualifications. Women are particularly encouraged to apply.
Applications including the usual documents and a short (max. two A4 pages) outline of your doctoral project have to be submitted by January 20, 2019 to: Dr. Christian Winter, Saxon Academy of Sciences Leipzig, Karl-Tauchnitz-Straße 1, 04107 Leipzig or by e-mail to: bewerbung@saw-leipzig.de

For further information, please contact Prof. Monika Zin at m.zin@t-online.de

Dear Colleagues,

This is a reminder that from tomorrow on a two-day workshop on Humanistic Buddhism will be held at FU Berlin. We look forward to welcoming you to the upcoming event, being held on the occasion of the donation of the Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts a copy of which was given by Fo Guang Shan to the Campus Library of FU Berlin.

The two-day program (for more information click here) includes lectures from Max Deeg (Cardiff University) and Axel Schneider (University of Göttingen) as well as cultural events from the Fo Guang Shan Temple Berlin (tea ceremonies and a calligraphy workshop).

Almut-Barbara Renger

Dear all concerned,

This is to announce the workshop “Tibetan Monastery Collections and Museums: Traditional Practices and Contemporary Issues“, to be held at SOAS University of London, 8th-10th November 2018.

Please, find information on the event below.


Tibetan Monastery Collections and Museums: Traditional Practices and Contemporary Issues International Workshop, 8–10 November 2018, SOAS University of London

Tibetan monasteries are known as repositories of a wide range of ancient objects. Originally a considerable part of these collections was an integral part of the furnishing of the monastery and its temples, and thus accessi – ble to the visitor. Today, many monasteries have added museum spaces to their premises. While the original impetus for such spaces appears to be rooted in an attempt to accommodate the needs of tourists, the aims and contents of these vary greatly. These spaces are an expression of a modern transformation, the impact of which on the collections is the main focus of this workshop. The workshop is part of an AHRC-funded research project–‘Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Collections Today’—which directly collaborates with monasteries in Ladakh and Mustang to document, assess and support the management of their collections. Representatives of these institutions will participate in the workshop. Admission free but registration required: https://www.soas.ac.uk/art/events/

For more information, click here.