Tung Lin Kok Yuen International Conference
Buddhist Canons: In Search of a Theoretical Foundation for a Wisdom-oriented Education
27 & 28 November, 2021 (HKT) | Online & On-site at HKU
Ven. Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna
Visiting Associate Research Professor
Director of the Āgama Research Group
Department of Buddhist Studies
Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Taiwan
Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā was born in Italy in 1980 and went forth in Sri Lanka in 2012. She studied Indology, Indo-Iranian philology and Tibetology at the University of Naples of Oriental Studies, at the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University in Tokyo and at the Institute for Research in Humanities at Kyoto University. Dhammadinnā received her doctorate in 2010 with a dissertation on the Khotanese ‘Book of Zambasta’ and the formative phases of Mahāyāna and bodhisattva ideology in Khotan in the fifth and sixth centuries. Her main research interests are the early Buddhist discourses and Vinaya texts, and the development of the theories, practices and ideologies of Buddhist soteriologies and meditative traditions. She is currently a visiting associate research professor and the director of the Āgama Research Group at the Department of Buddhist Studies of the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts in Taiwan. In addition to her academic activity, Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā regularly teaches meditation.
Knowledge tied to or freed from identity? Epistemic reflections through the prism of the early Buddhist teachings
This presentation will start off by looking at the notions of experience, grounds for the establishment of views or points of view, conditional construction of identity, and self-conceit through the prism of the teachings transmitted in the early Buddhist discourses. It will then share reflections on ways in which such notions may be able to speak to emerging approaches that critically affect the contemporary study and practice of Buddhism, as well as contemporary Buddhist discourse in general. These approaches revolve around the postmodern predilection for foregrounding the knower’s deeply felt lived experience as an epistemic absolute based on the belief that knowledge is intrinsically tied to identity, and the consequent embracing of positionality and standpoint theories as valid theoretical and practical foundations for personal and communal education or cultivation.