Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

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


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Hello from Daniela Campo


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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Hello from Patrice Ladwig


Here also a small update for the webpage from my side. Since 2018 I have been working at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen, Germany), and carry out research in the context of the Max Planck-Cambridge Centre for the Study of Ethics, Human Economy and Social Change (‘Max-Cam’). My project focuses on recent economic transformations in Laos, and their impact on Buddhist institutions and practices. After a long period of isolation following the communist revolution in 1975, the politics of reform, and investments from neighboring countries have lead to substantial economic growth in urban areas of Laos. In my research, I want to trace the effects of the expanding economy onto the religious field, and especially rituals. I am trying to understand how and why specific actors channel parts of their new acquired wealth into Buddhist rituals, and thereby support temples and Buddhist institutions.

In 2019 I stayed in Laos for several months, and first undertook fieldwork in the capital Vientiane. There I worked with Buddhist ritual lay-specialist called mo phon who officiate at certain life-cycle rituals, in case of illness etc. My main interest here was to analyze how the remuneration for these ritual services and the associated moral economy have changed, and how these ritual specialists now care for a diversified, but also socially stratified audience. I also worked with businesses and companies, which perform large group donations and renovate Buddhist temples. Some more vignettes of my fieldwork on Buddhism and the economy can be found here:

The second part of fieldwork was carried out in large monastery school outside of Luang Prabang in northern Laos. About 500 pupils (mostly from very poor countryside families) live and learn in this Buddhist boarding school, which is largely financed by donations by wealthy Lao. The monastery school in this sense acts as an institution that redistributes wealth.n The school has also become a migration node for young men from impoverished families from rural areas. Temporary ordination as a novice or monk enables them to get a better education. After they have taken their final examinations, they disrobe and move on to live in urban areas.

At the moment I am still busy publishing results from past projects, some of which were more historically oriented. With my colleague Gregory Kourilsky (École française d’Extrême-Orient, Vientiane) I undertook research on Buddhist law financed by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies (2017-19), Additionally to my anthropological research, I continue publishing on Buddhism under colonialism and during the Cold War in Southeast Asia.

Kind regards, Patrice Ladwig

Link 1, 2, 3

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Hello everyone,

like Dan, I would also like to report on my recent work and progress. My fieldwork, which is the basis for my PhD, took place in 2013-2014 in Thailand in the Santi Asoke communities. Since then, I have compiled my thesis and continued work under the supervision of Prof. Renger. I have also had the opportunity to present at conferences from the American Academy of Religion (AAR) in San Diego, the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS) in Austria, and the “Cultural Transformations of Buddhism Today Workshop” at Peking University, Beijing, as well as at my home base at the Freie Universität. I also had the pleasure of publishing a chapter in Karma Lekshe Tsomo’s edited volume Buddhist Feminisms and Femininities in 2019. Most recently, the University Alliance for Sustainability (UAS) has granted me a junior research stay at the University of British Columbia, Canada (UBC) for the last two months of 2019. My research topic continues with contemporary Buddhism, however within a Canadian context as my case study is based on the Thai Forest monastery, Birken, an off-grid monastery in British Columbia almost entirely run off of sustainable and reusable technology. My current projects are opening unexpected doors and I look forward to continuing my research and completing the final stages of my PhD in the upcoming year. I look forward to hearing about other current developments or similar projects!

Kind regards,

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We would like to draw your attention to an exciting project of the Saxon Academy of Sciences on Buddhist cave complexes in the region of Kucha, located on the northern Silk Road in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. These caves house impressive wall paintings (approximately from the 5th to 10th centuries) which are currently being fully made accessible, documented, and scientifically evaluated. The goal is to document and evaluate the iconographic programme as well as the image content of the paintings in an historico-cultural manner, including their literary basis, and where applicable, their affiliation to Buddhist schools. In the process, influences of pictorial traditions from India, Iran, classical antiquity, and China are also examined. This project will create the world’s largest centre for research on the Kucha paintings at the Academy in Leipzig, in cooperation with scholars in various European countries, China, Japan, and the USA.

One of our members, Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Monika Zin, is involved in the project as research team leader. For more information, click here.

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Lanterns on a street in Beijing, Photo by R. Ritchie

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to inform you about our recent visit to Beijing and collaboration with Peking University. Professor Renger, a postdoctoral researcher, and three doctoral students from the Freie University traveled to Beijing and were warmly received by Professor Li Silong with a traditional Chinese feast on their first night. The preceding eight days were full of excursions, hospitality, fruitful academic exchange and cultural experiences. Professor Renger held two lectures in the German Studies Center (ZDS) of Peking University (PKU) and the workshop “Cultural Transformations of Buddhism Today” was a full constructive day of talks and discussions. A field trip was arranged for participants of the workshop to visit Longquan Monastery and further understand how Buddhism in China is developing and embracing technology (read more about their robot monk). The doctoral students had the opportunity to undertake three days of fieldwork at Bailin Temple in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, while Professor Renger continued her travels to give a talk at the Department of Cultural and Religious  Studies at the Chinese University of Hongkong (CUHK). An upcoming blog post will describe further the contents of the “Cultural Transformations of Buddhism Today” workshop.

Robekkah Ritchie

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The Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany invites applications for two PhD scholarships for dissertation projects related to Buddhism.

Deadline for applications: 22 October 2017
Start of scholarship: summer or autumn 2018
Duration of scholarship: 3 years
Scholarship amount: 1000 € per month + insurance + support for rent + travel lump sums + 460 € per year
Scholarship donor: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

For details concerning the application, please visit the homepage of the Doctoral Program:

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Applications are still open for the 2017 Fo Guang Buddhist Monastic Retreat (July 9 – Aug 5, 2017), until April 15. The Retreat is aimed at and designed for English speaking university and college students and recent graduates aged 18-35 yrs who would like to find out more about Fo Guang Buddhist monastic life. If you want to get some experience in this scholarly field, we recommend this opportunity.

For more information click here.

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The Wutai International Institute of Buddhism and East Asian Cultures (WII), Institute for Ethics and Religions Studies (IERS) at Tsinghua University, Buddhist Studies Center at the University of Zhejiang (ZU-BSC), and the Buddhist Studies Forum at the University of British Columbia (UBC-BSF) in Vancouver, Canada cordially invite applications for a 12-day program of lecture series, conference, and fieldwork on Buddhism and East Asian Cultures (August 8-19, 2016) at Great Sage Monastery of Bamboo Grove (Dasheng Zhulin si 大聖竹林寺), Mount Wutai 五臺山, and Datong, Shanxi, China.

Applications and inquiries are to be directed to buddhistseminarandfieldwork@gmail.com. Details on the program are to be found on H-Buddhism. For more information on the conference, click here.

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S.N. Goenka

In the seminar “Religion and Film” held this semester at Freie Universität Berlin, Alexandra Stellmacher will present and discuss two short documentaries on meditation courses for children. The meditation courses are conducted on a regular basis in Vipassana Centers founded by S.N. Goenka worldwide. According to the German Vipassana homepage the concern of these documentaries is to offer informative insights into the courses itself as well as into the meditation technique Anapana.

The films are comprised of sequences of interviews with the protagonists (teachers, parents, and children) and thematize the contents of the teaching as well as the practice of meditation itself. Although intended to be documentaries, a critical-objective recipient will notice their affinity to promotional films. The films aim to motivate the recipients to imitate the protagonists by active participation. This occurs not only explicitly, e.g. in the statements of the interviewed, but also implicitly by the use of certain sequences, fading, choice of colors, and background music.

Time to Breathe. Vipassana Trust (GB), 2008. (13:27 Minuten); Seeds of Awareness. Anapana Meditation for Children and Teens. Dir. Marta van Patten. California Vipassana Center, 2011. (12:41 Minuten)

Time: 6:00 pm, Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Location: FU Berlin, Fabeckstr. 23-25, 14195 Berlin, Room 0.2002

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