New Approach to Buddhist Studies: on Liturgical Buddhism in Southeast China Faculty of Arts
Speaker: Prof. Tam Wai Lun (Department of Cultural & Religious Studies)
Date: 23 Novebmer 2012 (Fri)
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Activities Room, 2/F, Art Museum East Wing, Institute of Chinese Studies, CUHK
Language: English
Abstract: There is an often neglected aspect of Buddhism which we may call liturgical Buddhism or popular Buddhism in China. An important example is Pu’an Buddhism which bases itself upon the Chan/Zen monk Pu’an (1115-1169) of the Cihua monastery in Jiangxi province during the Song Dynasty. A ritual tradition was formed in the late imperial period claiming Pu’an to be the founder. This calls for a re-evaluation of Chan/Zen Buddhism as an elitist, anti-ritualistic and iconoclastic teaching. The Pu’an Buddhist ritual specialists are ‘married’ village monks whom we may call ‘hearth-dwelling’ monks” or ‘huozhai seng’ in Chinese. This concept is based upon a famous passage from the Lotus Sūtra and was widely used in the anecdotal novels during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This is a neglected phenomenon of Buddhism in the current predominant textual/ philological and historical studies of Buddhism in China. Our studies on local ritual traditions help to show that Buddhism has played a major role in shaping local ritual traditions. In many southeast Chinese villages, Pu’an Buddhism works together with Lüshan Taoism to form a local Buddho-Taoist ritual tradition.


New Approach to Buddhist Studies 1  New Approach to Buddhist Studies 2


For the powerpoint presentation of the talk, please click here.