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Two new releases in the Contemporary Issues in Buddhist Studies series

Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 9:06 am

Two new releases in the Contemporary Issues in Buddhist Studies series are:

Charles Willemen, A Collection of Important Odes of the Law: The Chinese Udānavarga

The Udānavarga is a thematically organized collection of important sayings in verse form used to teach the Buddhadharma. It is a key example of an important genre of Buddhist literature, the best known of which is the Dhammapada. While the latter is associated with the Theravāda school, and is preserved in Pāli, the Udānavarga is associated with the Sarvāstivāda school, and has been preserved in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese. It provides us with an understanding of how Buddhism was being represented in its early transmission to China. Charles Willemen’s heavily annotated translation of the Chinese version of the Udānavarga originally appeared in 1978. In addition to revising the text, he has updated the introduction to reflect the intervening three and a half decades of scholarship on the Sarvāstivāda. This edition also brings the translation together with the glossary, which had originally been published separately.

Charles Willemen: Obtained his Ph.D. in Belgium in 1971. Studied in Japan under H. Nakamura. Fullbright-Hayes Visiting Scholar at Harvard, East Asian Languages and Civilisations. Taught at many universities, including Banaras Hindu University, University of Calgary, Fudan University (Shanghai), International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies (Tokyo). Presently Rector of the International Buddhist College in Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima. Publications: The Essence of Scholasticism. Abhidharmahṛdaya; The Chinese Hevajratantra; Defining The Image. Measurements in Image-making; Etc.


Fabio Rambelli, Zen Anarchism: The Egalitarian Dharma of Uchiyama Gudō

with an introduction by Sallie B. King

These essays from the fin de siècle Japanese Zen priest Uchiyama Gudō— collected, translated and introduced here by Fabio Rambelli—provide us entry into an aspect of Buddhist history that is otherwise little known, the relations that can be constructed between the buddhadharma and radical political critique and action. Uchiyama resisted the oppression and exploitation of his own parishioners by the political powersthat eventually led Japan into military adventurism and empire building. The importance of these works, however, reaches beyond the history of Buddhism in modern Japan to deepen our appreciation of the complexity of the tradition as a source for resisting modernity’s seemingly ever more pervasive forms of social control. For the adaptation of Buddhism to the present day, Uchiyama’s vision of Buddhism as a social critique may serve to confront the conformism, complacent self-satisfaction and narcissism of the consumerist appropriation of Buddhism as yet another commodity in the religio-therapeutic marketplace.

Fabio Rambelli obtained his Ph.D. in Italy in 1992. Studied in Japan under Yamaguchi Masao. Presently professor of Japanese religions and intellectual history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he holds the International Shinto Foundation Chair in Shinto Studies Publications include: Buddhas and Kami in Japan (with Mark Teeuwen); Vegetal Buddhas, Buddhist Materiality; Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (with Eric Reinders); and A Buddhist Theory of Semiotics. Currently working on representations of India in premodern Japan and on the history of the development of Shinto as related to global intellectual networks and their impact on Japanese culture.

Cross posted from Critical Reflections on Buddhist Thought.

Buddhism or Buddhisms? Rhetorical consequences of geo-political categories

Monday, August 13, 2012, 9:54 am

The categorization of Buddhism along geo-political lines is perhaps the most common organizing principle today. It also tends to be accepted uncritically. Thus we find, without explanation, such expressions as “Indian Buddhism,” “Tibetan Buddhism,” “Chinese Buddhism,” “Burmese Buddhism,” and so on. These categories predominate not only in popular representations of Buddhism, such as the Buddhist magazines, but also in textbooks of both “world’s religions” and of Buddhism, in academic societies, and publishing, and perhaps the most durable entrenchment, in academic appointments (full disclosure, my own title is that of Professor of “Japanese Buddhism”). The general absence of discussion regarding contemporary geo-political divisions as the organizing principle for the field of Buddhist studies, much less its justification, suggests implicitly that dividing the field along these lines is unproblematic — that it is a simple reflection of things just as they are. Naturalized in this way, the categories become hegemonic, molding both decisions regarding research and the ways in which research is presented. The category system and its consequences need to be consciously evaluated, either so that they may be used with more nuance, or replaced with less problematic and (one hopes) more intellectually productive ones.

Read the rest of this post at the OUPBlog here.

IASBS Now Affiliated RSO with AAR

Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 1:04 pm

The North American District of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies is happy to announce that we have been accepted by the American Academy of Religion (AAR) as a Related Scholarly Organization (RSO).

The AAR is North America’s largest professional organization for scholars of religion. Each year, the AAR hosts an annual meeting drawing thousands of religious studies scholars together. RSOs, mainly smaller academic and professional organizations, benefit from their affiliation with the AAR by being included in the AAR’s promotional materials as well as being able to host meetings, conferences, and symposia in conjunction with the annual meeting.

As an RSO, the North American District of the AAR will be able to provide a regular venue for scholars to meet and share their work on Pure Land Buddhism. Our hope is to be able to bring Pure Land Buddhist Studies to the attention of a broader array of religious studies scholars.

RSO status will go into effect immediately. During the 2012 AAR annual meeting in Chicago, members of the North American District Steering Committee will meet to discuss how best to use this new status. We hope to begin offering an annual symposium at the AAR annual meeting beginning in 2013.

For more information, please visit the IASBS website.

Buddhist Studies at the AAR

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 11:47 am

The American Academy of Religion is the largest professional organization for scholars of religion in North America. Since 1981, the Buddhism Section within the AAR has been the most stable and diverse forum for Buddhist studies scholars to meet and share their work.

Every autumn, the AAR hosts a national conference bringing together scholars, students, and practitioners of a wide diversity of religious traditions. And this year’s conference is in San Francisco. So you can be sure that faculty and staff from the Institute of Buddhist Studies will be in attendance!

IBS Core Faculty member Scott Mitchell has prepared information on some of the Buddhist-related events at this weekend’s conference. Of note are a panel on Pure Land Buddhist Studies, the Buddhism in the West consultation, and a reception honoring the late Leslie Kawamura. Check out his faculty blog for more info.

You can follow our Twitter account or Facebook page for more updates. We’ll be posting from the AAR Annual meeting all weekend!

Toshihide Numata Book Prize Presentation and Symposium

November 4, 2011
3:00 pmto7:00 pm

The Toshihide Numata Book Prize Presentation and Symposium, hosted by the Group in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, will be held at the Jodo Shinshu Center on Friday, November 4, 2011, 3–7:30 pm.

More details are forthcoming. Please contact the Group in Buddhist Studies for more information.

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