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The seminar discusses issues and ongoing research in Buddhist Studies, as well as the interface between Buddhist Studies and other humanistic and scientific disciplines. Buddhism has been a powerful cultural and intellectual, as well as religious, current in all of the Asian civilizations. Its manifestations engage the scholarly concern of members of a wide range of disciplines: religious studies (itself an interdisciplinary enterprise), philosophy, psychology, history, sociology, anthropology, comparative literature, art history, and political science, among others. The seminar is focused not on a narrow range of issues concerning the Buddhist religions, but on a broad range of philosophical, cultural, social, and scientific subjects arising from the long and rich historical experience of the numerous Buddhist civilizations.

Professor Seong Uk Kim

Professor Zhaohua Yang


Meeting Schedule

02/10/2022 Online Meeting
6:30 PM
Michelle C. Wang, Georgetown University


This talk focuses on time as a critical dimension of Buddhist thought, practice, and devotee engagement with Buddhist icons and spaces. Beginning with selected objects from the exhibition What is the Use of Buddhist Art? and incorporating reflections on Buddhist sites in China, the talk will address how Buddhist icons and sites invite and express a broad range of temporal experiences and temporalities.

03/30/2022 Online Meeting
5:00 PM
The Trial of Ananda: Some Thoughts for Modern Times
Donald S. Lopez Jr., University of Michigan


Shortly after the Buddha passed into nirvana, a group of five hundred arhats gathered in a cave to compile and memorize his teachings, both his discourses (dharma) and the monastic code (vinaya). This event is known to Buddhist history as the First Council. At the conclusion of the council, Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and personal attendant, was placed on trial. The charges included encouraging the Buddha to ordain women and failing to encourage the Buddha to live for an aeon. This lecture will describe the circumstances that led to these charges and will consider the significance of Ananda’s crimes for modern Buddhist communities.

Discussant: Chien-Te Lin, Tzu Chi University (Taiwan)

Discussant: Bernard Faure, Columbia University