Asian Studies | 2023 Master Sheng Yen Lecture in Chinese Buddhism: an important late Mahāyāna Sutra in the Chinese Buddhist tradition
Asian Studies presents
2023 Master Sheng Yen Lecture in Chinese Buddhism: an important late Mahāyāna Sutra in the Chinese Buddhist tradition
Professor James A Benn (McMaster University)
In later Chinese Buddhism, one text above all others has been extolled for the profundity of its ideas, the beauty of its language, and its insight into the practice of meditation—this is the scripture popularly known as the Lengyan jing or Śūraṃgama sūtra. Because of conflicting evidence regarding its provenance, and because the text seems to owe so much to other sources, modern scholars have concluded that Lengyan jing is an apocryphal sūtra fabricated in China at the beginning of the eighth century. But perhaps this perspective on the Lengyan jing has impeded our understanding of its most important features?
In this lecture, Professor Benn shall introduce and discuss the content and structure of the scripture and consider it as a Mahāyāna canon in miniature—a complete work that contains discrete elements of scripture, dharma analysis, and vinaya and provides a new and detailed map of Mahāyāna ontology and soteriology.
About the presenter
James A Benn received his PhD from UCLA in 2001 and is Professor of Buddhism and East Asian Religions at McMaster University. He studies Buddhism and Daoism in medieval China. To date, he has focused on three major areas of research: bodily practice in Chinese Religions; the ways in which people create and transmit new religious practices and doctrines; and the religious dimensions of commodity culture. He has published on self-immolation, spontaneous human combustion, Buddhist apocryphal scriptures, and tea and alcohol in medieval China in journals such as History of Religions, T’oung Pao, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies and Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. He is the author of Burning for the Buddha: Self-immolation in Chinese Buddhism (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007) and Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015). He is currently working on a translation and study of the Śūramgama sutra.
For more information, contact:
Dr Chiew-Hui Ho
Phone: +61 (02) 9351 3083
Banner image: Supplied by Dr Chiew-Hui Ho