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HKU Centre of Buddhist Studies 20th Anniversary Series
Public Lecture

A Transnational Dharma Protector

Speaker: Prof. Vesna A. Wallace

Time: 7:15-9:15 pm (HKT) | 13 Apr 2023 (Thu)
Venue:  CPD-LG.18, Centennial Campus, HKU

Conducted in English | All are welcome | Free admission


Organized by HKU Centre of Buddhist Studies

Sponsored by Tung Lin Kok Yuen

Prof Vesna Wallace.jpg

About the speaker

Vesna A. Wallace is a Professor of South Asian and Inner Asian Buddhist Traditions in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses on Indian Buddhism, advanced Sanskrit, and Mongolian Buddhism. She has authored eight books and numerous articles and book chapters on diverse aspects of Indian and Mongolian Buddhist traditions. She is also Affiliate Faculty in Translation Studies Program and in Medical Humanities and Disabilities Program at UCSB. She serves on many international editorial and advisory boards and is currently the Executive Director of Mongolia Foundation in the U.S. and a Vice-President of the International Buddhist Congress with headquarters in Delhi.

Lecture abstract

In the process of transmission of tantric Buddhism from one culture to another, tantric deities often undergo multivariant configurations as the lineages of their transmissions grow in numbers, and as the legends of their origins, religious and social roles, and ritual practices expand. This lecture centers on one such deity, a fierce deity known in Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhism under the names Jamsran and Lcam sring, or as Begtse Brother-and-Sister. Jamsran embodies two classes of deities—the Buddhist war deities and Dharma Protectors—whose violent actions and fierce nature are directed toward the mundane and religious pragmatic ends. Two identities of Jamsran—that of an emanation of Amitābha and the other of a fierce yakṣa—are possible to coexist due to his lack of the reified ontological basis, which makes him functionally and culturally adaptable.

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