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Arising of Faith in the Human Body: Ryukoku Post-doctoral Research Fellow and Numata Lecture

October 8, 2014
3:00 pmto6:00 pm

Please join us for a public lecture to be delivered by the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ 2014 Ryukoku University Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr. Takahiko Kameyama, Wednesday, October 8, from 3:00 p.m., at the Jodo Shinshu Center. The event is free and open to the public.

This event made possible by the generous support of the Numata Foundation.

Arising of Faith in the Human Body: The Significance of Embryological and Physiological Discourses in Medieval Shingon Buddhist Tradition

In medieval Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, faith in the human body, that is the firm belief in the fundamental equality between the human body and Buddha’s bodies, was considered vitally important for the purpose of “attaining Buddhahood within this very body” (sokushin jōbutsu), the ultimate goal of Shingon Buddhism. Shingon Buddhist practitioners were thought to be able to attain enlightenment immediately without any practices by means of profoundly believing that their own bodies are Buddha’s bodies as they are. And, esoteric embryological and physiological discourses, which respectively stem from Indian Buddhist embryology and Chinese classic medicine, were regarded as necessary for Shingon practitioners to acquire this belief.

In this presentation, first of all, I will show the significant role that esoteric embryological and physiological discourses had, in medieval Shingon Buddhist tradition, in terms of practitioners’ acquisition of faith in the human body. On the basis of this discussion, I will also examine the characteristics of faith in Shingon Buddhist thought.

Takahiko Kameyama studied at Ryūkoku University in Japan (PhD in Buddhist Studies, 2013), and currently serves as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of Institute of Buddhist Studies. He specializes in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, as well as in the Buddhist medical discourses and rituals. His dissertation explored the formation and development of the doctrine of “attaining Buddhahood within this very body” in Japanese Esoteric Buddhist tradition.

Narrative in Buddhist Texts, Practice and Transmission

April 18, 2014
9:00 amto5:00 pm

The IBS Numata Symposium, Narrative in Buddhist Texts, Practice and Transmission, will explore the significance of narrative in Buddhism from a variety of perspectives, in particular, the narrative core of its texts, structures of engagements of the Buddhist path, and new forms arising within a range of cultural contexts.

9:00 – 9:15 am
Opening Remarks

9:15 – 10:45 am
Narrative Amidst the Activities of Scripture
Dr. Charles Hallisey, Harvard Divinity School
Response and Discussion will follow

11:00 – 12:30 am
The Path from Metaphor to Narrative: Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation
Dr. Richard K. Payne, Institute of Buddhist Studies
Response and Discussion will follow

12:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch Break

1:30 – 3:00 pm
Mara Re-imagined: Stories of the ‘Evil One’ in Changing Contexts
Dr. Michael D. Nichols, Saint Joseph’s College (Indiana)
Response and Discussion will follow

3:15 – 5:00 pm
Round Table Discussion and Closing Remarks

This symposium is free and open to the public.

3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium: Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture

April 13, 2013
1:00 pmto5:00 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies’ 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Generously co-sponsored by the Graduate Theological Union’s Asia Project
and The Numata Foundation

April 13, 2013, 1 pm – 5 pm

We are pleased to announce 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Our theme this year is “Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture.” Buddhist ritual practices are shaped by their location and are affected by the ritual objects. How does the material world determine the ways that Buddhism is practiced? How do Buddhists use ritual objects? In turn, how does Buddhism shape these objects and transform the physical world? What is the impact, for example, on the physical world as a result of religious pilgrimage or tourism? How do Buddhists transform physical objects in the process of ritualization? This symposium will focus on these themes and will consider both historical and contemporary uses of material objects in Buddhist ritual, Buddhism’s impact on cultural materials, and the relationships between Buddhism and sacred objects.

The symposium will feature a keynote address by Prof. Justin McDaniel of the University of Pennsylvania. Prof. McDaniel’s talk is generously supported by the Numata Foundation.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 13, beginning at 1 pm, at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, CA.

This event is free and open to the public. Please visit our Facebook event page to RSVP or drop a note in the comments below.

Keynote Address:

Architects of Buddhist Leisure
Justin McDaniel, University of Pennsylvania

The rise of Asian economies over the 20th and 21st centuries has not only brought market competition and political influence, but also the rise of a “leisure class.” Buddhism, usually described as an austere religion which condemns desire and promotes monasticism and denial, has not been the subject of the history of leisure. There has been little investigation of Buddhist pleasures or pastimes. However, Buddhist leisure activities, Buddhist tourism, and Buddhist material products are common parts of Asian culture. Indeed, some of the first tourist books and souvenir shops in Asia were marketed and owned by practicing Buddhists in Bangkok, Kyoto, and Singapore. Novels and coffee-table books about Buddhist tourists and pleasure-seekers have been popular in Thai, Chinese, and Japanese history. Buddhist monasteries across Asia are sites of playgrounds, sports-fields, and shopping bazaars. Over the past seventy years, Buddhist comic books, films, and soap-operas have flourished on Asian airwaves. Indeed, many of the ways Buddhist children first learn about their religion is not in the strict confines of a monastic training center, but through Buddhist leisure activities like singing songs, family trips, martial arts camps, and beauty contests.  These creative religious improvisations and public culture of Buddhism in Asia is often built on the idea that Buddhist practice and leisure activities go hand-in-hand.

This short talk focuses on the work of three architects of Buddhist public and leisure spaces in Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand and is designed to start a discussion about the very idea of Buddhist leisure space in modern Asia.

Justin McDaniel studies ghosts and manuscripts in Asia. After living and researching in South and Southeast Asia for many years as a translator, archivist, amulet collector, volunteer teacher, and Buddhist monk. He returned to the States and received his PhD from Harvard University’s Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies in 2003. His research foci include Lao, Thai, Pali and Sanskrit literature, Southeast Asian Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist architecture, ritual studies, manuscript studies, asceticism, the undead, and general phantasmagoria. His first book is on the history of Buddhist monastic education in Laos and Thailand, Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008). It won the Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies for the best first book in Southeast Asian Studies. His second book, The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011) is a study on material culture and ritual in Thai Buddhism. His recent publications appear in the Bulletin l’École Française d’Extrême-Orient (Études thématiques), Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Aséanie, Journal of Religion and Film, Material Religion, Manusya, Journal of Burma Studies, and the Journal of the Siam Society, as well as contributions to collected articles on Buddhism and Modernity, Pali literature, Palm-leaf Manuscript research, and liturgical studies. He is the co-editor of the journals Buddhism Compass and Journal of Lao Studies, and is the former Chair of the Southeast Asian Studies Council and the Thailand, Laos, Cambodia Studies Group of the Association of Asian Studies. He has won several teaching and advising awards. In collaboration with colleagues at Penn, UC Riverside, and in Thailand, he has designed two websites: The Thai Digital Monastery Project (tdm.sas.upenn.edu) and the Thai, Lao, Cambodia Studies Portal (tlc.sas.upenn.edu). His present project looks at the advent of Buddhist leisure (parks, museums, carnivals, film, comics, bird-watching, and collecting stuff) in Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Laos. In 2012 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow and is the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Schedule of Events:

1:00pm: Welcome
Scott Mitchell, Institute of Buddhist Studies
Moses Penumaka, Graduate Theological Union Asia Project

1:15pm: Presentation of Graduate Student Work, part 1

Ryan Anningson; Wilfrid Laurier University-University of Waterloo
“’There Hang the Jewels:’ The Motif of Jewels in Buddhist Narratives”

Matthew Milligan; The University of Texas-Austin
“Material Evidence for Donation as Ritual in the Epigraphic Habit of Early Indian Buddhists”

-Break-

2:00pm: Presentation of Graduate Student Work, part 2

Ying Chien Chen (Rev. Jian Ji); The Institute of Buddhist Studies
“DDM Ash Burial Ceremony – How Buddhism Influences Chinese Cremation Culture”

Tsun Nyen Yong (Rev. You Min); The Institute of Buddhist Studies
“Memorial Tablets in Contemporary Chinese Buddhist Ritual”

Aaron Proffitt; The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
“Dōhan’s 道範 (1178-1252) Himitsu nenbutsu shō 秘密念仏抄 and Tantric Pure Land in Medieval Japanese Buddhism”

Discussion and Questions

4:00pm: Keynote Address: Architects of Buddhist Leisure

Dr. Justin McDaniel; Associate Professor, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

A light reception will follow.

Call for papers, Update: Proposal Deadline Extended

Monday, December 03, 2012, 9:31 am

Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture

Update: Proposal Deadline Extended

The Institute of Buddhist Studies’ 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Keynote speaker Dr. Justin McDaniel
University of Pennsylvania

April 13th, 2013
Institute of Buddhist Studies
Berkeley, CA

Call for Papers

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for the 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Our theme this year is “Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture.” Buddhist ritual practices are shaped by their location and are affected by the ritual objects. How does the material world determine the ways that Buddhism is practiced? How do Buddhists use ritual objects? In turn, how does Buddhism shape these objects and transform the physical world? What is the impact, for example, on the physical world as a result of religious pilgrimage or tourism? How do Buddhists transform physical objects in the process of ritualization? This symposium will focus on these themes and will consider both historical and contemporary uses of material objects in Buddhist ritual, Buddhism’s impact on cultural materials, and the relationships between Buddhism and sacred objects.

We invite graduate students to submit proposals considering one or more of these topics, either historically or contemporarily. Proposals should be no more than 200 words, and include the paper’s title and the author’s name, affiliation, and contact information. Please submit proposals to courtney.bruntz -at  - gmail no later than January 31, 2013.

Professor McDaniel’s keynote address is being generously supported by the Yehan Numata Foundation.

Important Dates:
Submission of Abstract: January 31, 2013
Notification of Proposal Result: February 15, 2013
Submission of Full Paper: April 1, 2013
Conference Event: April 13, 2013

Domestic Dharma keynotes added to the podcast

Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 11:15 am

Audio and video recordings from this fall’s symposium, Domestic Dharma: Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries, has been added to our podcast.

Click here to view all episodes, including talks given by Profs. Paula Arai and Lisa Grumbach.

Lay Buddhist practices are increasingly recognized as a distinct tradition, existing outside the definitions of Buddhism provided by the textual tradition and by monastic models. The 2012 IBS Numata Symposium will focus on the practice of Buddhism in the household—the Dharma in its domestic setting.

 

2012 Institute of Buddhist Studies Commencement

Monday, May 21, 2012, 9:00 am

Five Institute Of Buddhist Studies’ students received their Master Degrees at a commencement ceremony on Friday, May 18, 2012 at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley.

The event was chaired by Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto. The opening service was conducted by Rev. Kodo Umezu, IBS President and Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America.

Opening remarks were given by Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean, and Rev. Marvin Harada, IBS Trustee Interim Chair.

The commencement address was presented by Dr. Franz Aubery Metcalf, Professor at California State University Los Angeles and the IBS Spring Numata Lecturer. He spoke on the subject of “Our Buddhadharma, our Buddhist Dharma.”

IBS graduates were awarded a Masters Degree in Buddhist Studies degree, in joint sponsorship with the Graduate Theological Union. Graduates included:

  • Kathryn Bilotti Stark, “Compassionate Awareness and Transformation: The Relevancy of Mindfulness Teaching and Practice in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care,” with thesis committee members Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kiinst, Dr. Payne, and Dr. Gil Fronsdal
  • Alex John McDermid, “Gender in Jodo Shinshu Temple Families,” with thesis committee members Dr. Lisa Grumbach and Dr. Matsumoto
  • Christina Yanko-Ringle, “Aspects of Yogachara in the Discourse on the Pure Land,” with thesis committee members Dr. Matsumoto and Dr. Payne
  • Diana Lynne Thompson, “Narratives of Evil: A comparison of the Ajatashtru Story and Batman Graphic Novels,” with thesis committee members Dr. Matsumoto and Dr. Payne
  • Anne Cottrell Spencer, “Jodo Shinshu in America: A Demographic Survey of the Buddhist Churches of America,” with thesis committee members of Dr. Scott Mitchell and Dr. Kinst

Ven. Nguyen Duong and Kathryn Stark were awarded the Certificate of Buddhist Chaplaincy for their work and course studies under the guidance of Dr. Kinst.
McDermid, Yanko-Ringle, and Duong received their degrees in absentia. All the degrees and certificates where conferred to the recipient by Dean Payne and Rev. Harada.

A reception followed with family and friends.

Domestic Dharma

September 22, 2012
9:00 amto5:30 pm

Domestic Dharma Symposium

The Institute of Buddhist Studies Numata Symposium:

Domestic Dharma

Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries

 

Saturday, September 22, 2012, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Jodo Shinshu Center

2140 Durant Avenue

Berkeley, CA

For a detailed schedule of the day’s event, download this flyer and schedule.

Lay Buddhist practices are increasingly recognized as a distinct tradition, existing outside the definitions of Buddhism provided by the textual tradition and by monastic models. The 2012 IBS Numata Symposium will focus on the practice of Buddhism in the household—the Dharma in its domestic setting. Keynote addresses will be given by
Paula Arai and Lisa Grumbach. Other speakers will include
Daijaku Judith Kinst and Scott Mitchell.

Dr. Arai will speak on the topic of “Cleaning Cloths, Poetry, and Personal Buddhas: Laywomen’s Healing Practices in Contemporary Japan.” Creativity, flexibility, and accessibility are qualities characteristic of the Buddhist practices that women in contemporary Japan engage in as they weave healing activities into their daily life. Home-made ritualized activities, which draw upon and innovatively adapt age-old traditions, include common greetings turned into healing events, cleaning cloths performing medical mysteries, and poetry writing. In addition, this domestic Dharma often sees a loved one transformed into a Personal Buddha upon death, bestowing wise counsel and compassionate support.

Paula Arai, the author of Women Living Zen: Japanese Buddhist Nuns (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Buddhist Women’s Rituals (University of Hawaii Press, 2011), has performed ground-breaking research on monastic and lay Japanese Buddhist women. She is currently an associate professor of Buddhist Studies at Louisiana State University and vice-president of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women.

Dr. Grumbach’s presentation will be entitled, “Nuns at Home, Nuns as Homebuilders: Rethinking Ordination and Family in Medieval Japan.” She will explore the roles of ordained women within the social and familial structures of medieval Japan. Focusing on the reasons women became nuns, their age at ordination, and the work they performed as nuns, she will argue that women used ordination as a way to build and maintain homes rather than as a way to “leave home.”

Autobiographical writings by women, historical and biographical information about nuns, and medieval literature will be used to show that ordination and family life were not opposing categories for many women, suggesting that we need to revise our understanding of what it meant to be a “nun” in medieval Japan.

Lisa Grumbach teaches at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, California, and at Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan. Her research focuses on interactions between Buddhism and Shinto in medieval Japan, the development of Shinto-Buddhist ritual, and the role of food in East Asian religions.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP using the form below.

 

Fall 2011 Numata Lecture: Karmic Mindfulness: Rethinking Morality in Contemporary Buddhism

October 28, 2011
3:00 pmto6:00 pm


The fall 2011 Numata Lecture, featuring Dale Wright, professor of religious studies at Occidental College, has been scheduled for Friday, October 28.

As a basic principle governing moral thinking, the Buddhist concept of karma is brilliant. With clarity and simplicity, it informs participants in Buddhist cultures that what becomes of them in life is dependent on the quality of their relations to other people and on what they do in life. The fact that the concept of karma was transferred from one religious tradition to others in Asia has meant that its early mythological foundations have been weakened, to some extent allowing it to stand on its own. Although western religions have moral principles that function in similar ways, in each case these concepts cannot so easily be severed from their mythological grounding in the ideas of the will of God, heaven and hell. That difference suggests that karma’s potential as a moral principle for contemporary global culture is outstanding. In order to live up to that role, however, some dimensions of the concept of karma would require rethinking. In this lecture, I assess the strengths and weaknesses of the idea of karma, and suggest how certain aspects of the idea can be developed into a powerful and realistic moral framework for the approaching global society.

Spring 2011 Numata Lecture

Monday, May 09, 2011, 9:00 am

Lori Meeks
“Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Gender, Pollution, and Salvation in Buddhist Sermons from Early Modern Japan,” was the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ Spring Numata Lecture topic presented by Dr. Lori Meeks of University of Southern California.

Dr. Meeks explained that sometime during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, several variants of an indigenous Chinese sutra known at the “Blood Bowl Sutra” were transmitted to Japan. The short sutra scripture teaches that women are fated to fall into a special hell known as the “Blood Pond Hell” in retribution for polluting the earth with the impurity of their reproductive blood.

By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, temples throughout Japan actively promoted the cult of the Blood Bowl Hell as a means of saving women. Dr. Meeks presented two early modern commentaries on the text in an effort to understand how priests presented the teachings to a new audience of lay men and women.

Dr. Meeks received her Ph.D. in East Asian Religions from Princeton University in 2003. Her research focuses on the social, cultural, and intellectual Histories of Japanese Buddhism, in particular, clarifying the roles of women as consumers and practitioners of Buddhism in the Heian and Kamakura periods.

Audio and video of her talk can be found on our podcast.

For more information about past and future Numata Lectures, please visit our News & Events page.

Spring 2011 Numata Lecture: Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra with Lori Meeks

April 22, 2011
3:00 pmto5:00 pm

Please join us at 3:00 p.m. on April 22, 2011, for the Spring 2011 Numata Lecture.

This year’s Spring Lecture will be presented by Prof. Lori Meeks of the University of Southern California. She will be presenting new research titled: “Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Gender, Pollution, and Salvation in Buddhist Sermons from Early Modern Japan.”

The Numata Lecture will be hosted in the Kodo of the Jodo Shinshu Center at
2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley

Lori Meeks received her PhD in East Asian Religions from Princeton University in 2003. Her research focuses on the social, cultural, and intellectual Histories of Japanese Buddhism, in particular, clarifying the roles of women as consumers and practitioners of Buddhism in the Heian and Kamakura periods.

This lecture is free and open to the public, and made possible by the Numata Foundation. For more information, please contact our offices or visit our News and Events Blog for updates.

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