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
Department of East Asian Studies
University of Arizona
Jiang Wu (Ph. D, Harvard University, 2002) is director of the Center of Buddhist Studies and professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona. His research interests include seventeenth-century Chinese Buddhism, Chinese Buddhist canons, spatial analysis of religion, and the historical exchanges between Chinese and Japanese Buddhism. He is the author of numerous books and articles such as Enlightenment in Dispute (Oxford, 2008), Leaving for the Rising Sun (Oxford, 2015), and editor of Spreading Buddha’s Word in East Asia (Columbia, 2016), Reinventing the Tripitaka (Lexington, 2017), The Formation of Regional Religious Systems in Greater China (Routledge, 2022).
Opening the Canon: New Challenges to Buddhist Studies in Humanities Education
The canon is a loaded term in both the East and the West. Under the purview of the postmodern critical theory, the canon, including the Buddhist canon, represents an oppressive and authoritative force, exerting its symbolic influence on all aspects of human life. However, such a view neglects the fact that the canon is also evolving and responding to changes. The Buddhist canon, in particular, has been part of the communities since its beginning. In contrast to the Western canon, it is always open to new additions and interpretations. In a digital age, the Buddhist canon has been more widely distributed as both an academic subject for studies and a tool of self-cultivation in humanities education. Yet, because of its complexity, the canon is far from open. There is an urgent need for us to open the canon, to familiarize ourselves with its content, history, and to experience its transformation in real life. This talk attempts to open the Buddhist canon from the perspective of humanities education and explore its humanistic value in a post-pandemic global society.