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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!

Cheers,
Dan Smyer Yü

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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

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A Brief Update by Eyal Aviv

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 

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Hello by New Member

Hi everyone,

After joining the research group this year, I think it is my turn to introduce myself shortly and talk about some of my topics of interest. Currently, I’m studying religion studies at the University of Basel and comparative linguistics at the University of Zurich. Due to my family’s background, I first learnt more about Tibetan Buddhism which then led me to find interest in Buddhism in general. Among other things, I went on to learn Sanskrit, organised an excursion to a Buddhist monastery for a seminary and have recently begun to do some work in a project on Western reception of Buddhism during the 19th and early 20th century. I am always interested in research regarding linguistic aspects of Buddhism as well as the history of its reception and looking forward to the exchange here.

Best regards,
Pema

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Hello everybody,

This is a brief update on what has been happening after I received my Ph.D. in East-West psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. First, I spent a year in St Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco for my residential internship in psycho-spiritual service as a Buddhist chaplain. Then, I was a teaching fellow with the East Asian Studies program of Harvard University, where I had gotten my M.A., and I chaired the Harvard Buddhist Community.

Back in China, I founded the Beijing Clear-Orientation Center for Counseling and Meditation of which I am the director today. My main work for the past ten years has been integrating psychotherapy with Buddhist practice especially meditation practices. I am deputy director and research fellow of the Hebei Research Institute of Chan Buddhism in China, deputy secretary and board member of the International Transpersonal Association, an international affiliate of American Psychological Association, and a member of International Zen Therapy Institute, a member of Chinese Society of Psychology.

Since 2009 I also have been honing on the theory and practice of the meditation-initiated integrative therapy (MIIT) and its updated version known as Grounding and Communicating as an Integrative Therapy. Currently I provide individual and group counseling as well as workshops and training programs in China and internationally.

I case you would like to read something I have written, I have published more than 30 papers in psychology, meditation and Buddhism, comparative religion in China and internationally. Among them are the pieces below.

Cheers,
ZHU Caifang (Jeremy)

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Dear all,

I have just received permission from my publisher to share my new book about Buddhism in Spain, a brand new new-release. The book can be downloaded from the zenodo platform: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4572509

You can share it with whoever you think might be interested, as it is freely available. It has two chapters in English, an introductory update on Buddhism in Spain and a presentation of some Vajrayana monasteries and retreat centres in Spain. The rest is written in Spanish.

I very much hope you will find my new book interesting!

Cheers,
Paco

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​It’s been a while since the last one, so it’s time again for an update about what happened since I moved from Rāṣṭrīya Sanskrit Sansthan to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

I am proud to report that I had the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Centre for Sanskrit Studies at JNU, as Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies in Cambodia, and as Research Associate in the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies in Himachal Pradesh. I was also invited to teach Buddhist Philosophy at various universities such as Latvia University in Riga and National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Ukraine. Some of my papers I have written during this time can be found on https://jnu.academia.edu/httpssanskrit985wordpresscomblogabout   ​

Among the projects I have been working on is a translation project granted by Khyentse Foundation as part of the ‘Buddhist Literary Heritage Project’ (BLHP) to translate the Sutra of the “Ārya Pitā Putra Saṁvāda sūtra.” I executed the project with Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen and Prof. Ani Kunga Chodron from George Washington University,’ USA. Now a new translation of Pañjikā of Prajñākaramati into English is going on. My latest book, “Essentials of Pali: Language and Literature,” will be published soon this year.

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Dear all,

I would also like to share with you the study and work with Buddhist studies I have been doing in the past years. My dissertation, under the supervision of Prof. Renger, is about the collective practice of Buddhism in contemporary China, based on my fieldwork of a group of temples and nunneries in Mainland China conducted in 2014-2018. Most recently, I had the pleasure of publishing an article on Buddhist leadership transition in the Journal of the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies (JOCBS) in 2020. My research topic continues with contemporary Chinese Buddhism, with particular interests in and focuses on Buddhist nuns, common Buddhist practices in urban areas, Buddhist charities, Buddhist material culture, and Buddhist leadership of the younger generation in China today. I look forward to hearing about other similar projects!

Kind regards,
Yuanying

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Dear all,

I also wanted to tell you about the things I have been doing in relation to Buddhist studies in the past years. Perhaps you already know that my research is focused on Buddhism in Spain. It is part of a more general research on religions and religious minorities in Spain. I have just updated my page about the research project of Buddhism in Spain that I have been developing in the last decade. The publications generally include links to pdfs. You find the web page here: http://historel.webs.ull.es/budesp/budengl.html

Cheers,
Paco

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Hello from Daniela Campo

Hello,

Here’s an update for the network. Since a few years, I am based at the University of Strasbourg in France. My research focuses on the evolution of Chinese Buddhism in the twentieth-century; so far, I have especially worked on Buddhist hagiographies, monastic codes, and Dharma lineages. Although I am an historian, I always try to take into consideration the impact that religious phenomena of the Republican period (1912–1949) have in contemporary China: this approach provides me in fact with an excuse to do fieldwork in Chinese Buddhist monasteries as often as I can! Collective projects are one way of doing research I especially like, as I always feel greatly inspired and enriched by exchanges with colleagues approaching the same topic from different angles and perspectives; these projects also represent for me an inspiring way to shift to new research themes, and to add a strong interpersonal dimension to my work. That is why, since I finished my doctorate in 2011, I took part in four different projects, before launching one with my friend and colleague Ester Bianchi (Perouse University) on the reinstatement of Vinaya in China and Taiwan in the twentieth century (https://vinayarevival.com/). Ester and I had the chance to work for three years (from 2015 to 2018) with an amazing team of international scholars, and the generous funding granted by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation allowed us to organize conferences in Italy and Taiwan, including group fieldworks to relevant sites in both countries! We are now busy with the edition of the volume. I recently joined a brand new collaborative project launched by Vincent Goossaert (Chinese Religious Text Authority 宗教書籍規範索引: CRTA), which aims at building a collaborative catalogue database mapping late-Imperial and Republican Chinese religious texts. The first CRTA workshop reuniting more than twenty specialists from all over the world took place in the French Alps in December 2019, and it was just amazing to translate and analyze different Chinese religious texts working in small teams with colleagues. This year, I have embarked on two new exciting researches: I am writing a monograph on a large Chan female monastery in Jiangxi based on materials that I have gathered in almost fifteen years, and I have begun a long-term research on the new Buddhist genre of sermons or religious instructions having emerged during the first half of the twentieth century.

Very best,
daniela campo

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