Dear friends and colleagues,

Long time no see! Hope you’re all healthy, happy, and productive as usual in spite of the colossal health and geopolitical crises.

I have kept myself happily busy since the last time I posted my update. There’re just too many things to share with you; So let me stay with the essentials. After serving as a professor of anthropology and the founding director of the Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies for five years at Yunnan Minzu University, I took a faculty appointment from Yunnan University as a Kuige Professor of Ethnology, just a few blocks away within the same University Town of Kunming. All academic routines stay pretty much the same with the focus on religion and ecology, Sino-Tibetan Buddhist modernity, and environmental humanities. Since coming to Yunnan, the geography of my research has been expanded from western China/Tibetan Plateau to Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, and India. Annual traveling to South Asia and Southeast Asia becomes a routine. Fieldwork beyond East Asia and the Tibetan Plateau has surely added fresh perspectives and place-based knowledge to my scholarly productivity.

My modern Buddhist studies, likewise, are increasingly taking ecological perspectives and are steadily resituated in environmental humanities. Through working with native peoples in Tibet, Yunnan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar, I continue to see the environmental value of Buddhist cultures and civilizations. At the same time, I’m also having a deeper awareness of indigenous, pre-Buddhist ecological knowledge and practices among Buddhist communities in the greater Himalayan region. This awareness compels me to re-examine the claimed ecological knowledge in the Buddhist canonic texts. Admittedly, the indigenous practices done in the name of Buddhism turn out to be a formidable contribution to what we know as Buddhist ecology. My recent publications, such as Environmental Humanities in the New Himalayas: Symbiotic Indigeneity, Commoning, Sustainability (Routledge 2021), Yunnan-Burma-Bengal Corridor Geographies: Protean Edging of Habitats and Empires (Routledge 2021), and “The Critical Zone as a Planetary Animist Sphere: Etho-graphing an Affective Consciousness of the Earth” (JSSRNC 2020), are all dedicated to indigenous ecological knowledge surviving under Buddhism and other world religions. I’m currently making a new book Multipolar Climes of the Himalaya, Andes and Arctic: Climate and Water in the Anthropocene. It’s a comparative study of terrestrial experiences of climate change in the world’s highlands. It should be out in March 2023.

One more thing – I recently happily accepted a partial appointment from the University of Cologne as its Global Faculty member while I keep my professorship at Yunnan University. I’ll be in Germany for 1-2 months annually and very much look forward to my first visit this July and August and reconnecting with friends there. In fact, Almut already invited me to contribute a paper to her co-organized workshop, a part of the Lecture Series on Religion and Ecology. Hope many of us will join the event, too!

Dan Smyer Yü

How are religion and sustainability related? Do religious communities contribute to social transformations towards sustainability? Or does religion in fact hinder or counteract sustainability?

The lecture series on “Religion & Ecology” coorganized by Philipp Öhlmann (Humboldt University Berlin), Juliane Stork (SAGRAS) and me (Bonn University) explores these questions by focusing on the relationship between religious communities and socio-ecological transformations. Starting point is the observation that there has been a strong increase in the engagement with ecological sustainability in religious communities in recent decades, which is referred to as the “greening of religion.”

However, the impact of this development on the collective actions of religious communities and the individual actions of their adherents in the areas of ecology and sustainability are still largely unknown. In the lecture series international guest speakers look at Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, indigenous Indian and traditional African religious communities.

Everyone interested is cordially invited. Please, register with: anna.linnea.herrmann@hu-berlin.de

Almut-Barbara Renger

For the programme click here!

Hello everyone!

It’s time for an update! As most of you know, I’m an Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. I teach and do research in World, South Asian, and European History. Last year I completed a chapter manuscript on Richard Wagner’s interest in Buddhism for an edited volume that is not yet out. I also wrote a chapter a while ago on the German study of Buddhism in the 19th and early 20th centuries, in Indology, Indomania, Orientalism (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009), and I am teaching a course in Fall 2022 on ancient South Asia (India) with components on Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayanic forms of Buddhism.

If you are working on scholarship focusing on German-Asian connections, consider submitting a book proposal with Palgrave. I’m the Series Co-Editor, Palgrave Series in Asian German Studies (2020–): “It encourages the publication of works by specialists globally on the multi-faceted dimensions of ties between the German-speaking world (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and German-speaking enclaves in Eastern Europe) and Asian countries over the past two centuries. Rejecting traditional notions of West and East as seeming polar opposites (e.g., colonizer and colonized), the volumes in this series attempt to reconstruct the ways in which Germans and Asians have cooperated and negotiated the challenge of modernity in various fields.”

A recent volume in the series that might be of interest is by Sebastian Musch, Jewish Encounters with Buddhism in German Culture: Between Moses and Buddha, 1890–1940 (New York: Palgrave, 2019). Please, feel free to check out this review. Looking forward to finding out more about Buddhist scholarship through this network. See you!

Doug McGetchin

We would like to announce that the recordings of last week’s international Gandhara Connections workshop at the Classical Art Research Centre of the University of Oxford are now on the centre‘s website. The project Gandhara Connections aims to stimulate and support the study of ancient Gandharan art and its links to the classical world of Greece and Rome, thousands of kilometres to the west. The project’s webpages are in the process of developing into a hub with resources for understanding Gandharan art and information about various workshops and other events hosted by Gandhara Connections.

All the recorded presentations can be found on:  Webcasts (ox.ac.uk)

For more information, please check the website of the Classical Art Research Centre (www.carc.ox.ac.uk), or send an email to: carc@classics.ox.ac.uk

We are thrilled to inform you about an exciting book by Fujita Isshō, Nagai Hitoshi, Yamashita Ryōdō, Buddhism 3.0: A Philosophical Investigation (trans. by Jamie Hubbard with Maki Hirano Hubbard and Elizabeth Kenney). The book was published in Tokyo with Chisokudō at the very end of 2021. It presents a series of discussions that took place in Tokyo five years ago – between the well-known Japanese philosopher Nagai Hitoshi and the two Zen priests Fujita Isshō and Yamashita Ryōdō, who were ordained in the lineage of Sawaki Kōdō (“Homeless Kodo”) and Uchiyama Kōshō at Antai-ji. The framework of their conversations is what Fujita and Yamashita call “Buddhism 3.0.” 

A must-read for everyone interested in modern Buddhism!

The XIXth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies has been postponed once more and will take place on August 14 to 19, 2022, at Seoul National University, Republic of Korea. The reselection process for papers and panel proposals is now over, and the conference planning team will soon post the newly updated academic program on the website of the association.

Fore more information regarding registration, accommodation, and any other related issue, click here.

Dear colleagues,

This is a short update about my recent work and interests. I am currently teaching at George Washington University in the departments of Religion, philosophy, and the university honors program.

Last year my book “Telling Pearls from Fish-Eyes: Ouyang Jingwu and the Revival of Scholastic Buddhism” was published by Brill. The book describes the surge of interest in Indian Buddhism among intellectuals during the early decades of the twentieth century. I focus on Ouyang Jingwu, one of the leading voices in this movement, his attempt to negotiate life in a dramatically changing world, his concern for his struggling nation, and his attempt to define the spiritual essence that will help with the personal and the national dramas.  

While continuing my interest in modern Chinese intellectual history, in recent years, I also study the intersection between Buddhist philosophy, contemporary philosophy of mind, and cognitive sciences. Two of my recent collaborations focusing on the latter are “The Magic of Consciousness: Sculpting an Alternative Illusionism,” that I co-wrote with my colleagues Sonam Kachru and Bryce Huebner and will be published next year, and “Buddhism and Cognitive Sciences in Dialogue: Pedagogical Reflections on Teaching Across Disciplines” which I co-authored with my student Kaleigh Spires and was published this year in the journal Religion.

I hope you all are safe and prosperous,
Eyal Aviv 

We are thrilled to recommend Buddhanet Audio by the Buddhist Education and Information Network. It offers a selection of Buddhist chanting from different traditions, dharma talks by Buddhist teachers, meditation talk and a page on Buddhist songs.

The network is in the process of expanding this section of its site to be a more diverse collection of materials. If anyone has quality audio material to contribute to this section, it would be much appreciated.

To get in touch, please, write to: webmaster@buddhanet.net

We are pleased to announce that the Classical Art Research Centre in Oxford is in the process of organizingits fifth and (unfortunately!) final Gandhara Connections workshop, tackling the theme of Gandharan Art in its Budddhist Context – a fundamentally important topic for understanding this material.
This international workshop will be held online on Monday 21st to Wednesday 23rd March 2022 using Zoom and Spatial Chat.

See the workshop abstract on the centre’s website Events (ox.ac.uk)

A programme will be released shortly.

Timings will accommodate live viewers in as many time zones as possible and we aim to provide simultaneous translation into Mandarin Chinese. The recording of the workshop will also be available online and open access proceedings will be published in March 2023.
There is no charge to attend this event and places can be booked by emailing: carc@classics.ox.ac.uk
For more information, see www.carc.ox.ac.uk

We would like to inform you about the 8th International Symposium on Humanistic Buddhism which will take place on Zoom® from Saturday the 6th to Monday the 8th of November 2021.

The Symposium will explore a range of serious threats to humanity and imagine our planet’s shared future by focussing on fundamental threats to the individual and their social groupings. Panelists come from diverse points of view and fields of expertise.

Panels will address:

  • Creating an Inclusive Society
  • Working Towards a More Humanistic Society of the Future: Challenges for the Self within Complex Systems
  • Learning from Australian Responses to Modern Crises
  • Revaluing Buddhist Adaptations in the Modern World
  • Examining Humanistic Approaches to Health and Wellbeing
  • Putting Compassion into Action

You can register or find out more about the Symposium at: http://hbsymposium.fgsihb.org/