JIANGNAN BUDDHIST TRADITIONS IN CONTEXT: THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD

2021 CONFERENCE
Thursday, December 9, 2021 to Saturday, December 11, 2021
Zoom (please register below to receive zoom link to the symposium)

Hosted by Center for Buddhist Studies and Department of East Asian Studies, College of Humanities, The University of Arizona
Organized by Jiang Wu and Jennifer Eichman
Sponsored and Funded by Lingyin and Pu Yin Buddhist Studies Lecture Series, Center for Buddhist Studies, The University of Arizona

The Jiangnan region in China was an important driver of cultural, economic, and social change during the early modern period. At the same time, it served as an incubator of early modern Buddhist innovations that spread both locally, nationally, and transnationally. This symposium brings together scholars of Ming-Qing Jiangnan Buddhist, Daoist, and other related religious traditions to explore the significance of Buddhist innovations in the Jiangnan region from elite Buddhist doctrine, popular playscripts and precious scrolls to art, ritual, and institutional culture. Such scholarly explorations will improve our understanding of how Buddhist traditions were woven into the social and economic fabric of the Jiangnan region and further allow for a greater synthesis of the various threads that tied the region together.

highlights

Online Music Concert

Dec 10 19:00-20:00 (AZ Time)
Poetic Melody from Hangzhou

Opening Speakers

Jiang Wu

Jennifer Eichman

Albert Welter

Ken McAllister

Symposium at a Glance

Thursday December 9

Opening Ceremony

Arizona: 3:00pm, Dec 9 | New York: 5:00pm, Dec 9 | London: 10:00pm, Dec 9 | Taiwan: 6:00 am, Dec 10 | Tokyo: 7:00 am, Dec 10
Remarks: Ken S. McAllister & Albert Welter
Co-organizers: Jiang Wu & Jennifer Eichman

 

15 minute coffee break

 

Panel I: Intricate Buddhist Matters
Arizona: 4:00pm, Dec 9 | New York: 6:00pm, Dec 9 | London: 11:00pm, Dec 9 | Taiwan: 7:00 am, Dec 10 | Tokyo: 8:00 am, Dec 10

Chair: John Johnston

1. Albert Welter, “The Resurrection” of Yongming Yanshou in Ming Dynasty China: The Yongming Stūpa at Jingci Monastery”
2. Yi-hsun Huang, “Late Ming Chan Master Hanyue and Zhenru Monastery in Jiaxing”
3. Jiang Wu, “Syncretism and Its Discontent: The Symbolic Power of Orthodoxy and Hanyue Fazang’s Chan-tantric Synthesis in Seventeenth-century China”

Respondent: James Baskind

Friday  December 10

Panel II: Mountains and Manifestations
Arizona: 9:00am, Dec 10 | New York: 11:00am, Dec 10 | London: 4:00pm, Dec 10 | Taiwan: 12:00 am, Dec 11 | Tokyo: 1:00 am, Dec 11

Chair: Rae Dachille

1. Elizabeth Kindall, “Buddhist Practice in a Painted Mountainscape”
2. Nan Ouyang, “Constructing the Abode of Dizang Bodhisattva: Pilgrimages to Mt. Jiuhua in Late Imperial China”
3. Wang Mengxiao, “Manifesting in Bodily Forms” as Role-Playing: Theatrical Interpretations of a Buddhist Concept in Early Modern China”

Respondent: Natasha Heller

 

15 Minute Break

 

Panel III: Peng Shaosheng and Spirit-Writing
Arizona: 10:45am, Dec 10 | New York: 12:45pm, Dec 10 | London: 5:45pm, Dec 10 | Taiwan: 1:45 am, Dec 11 | Tokyo: 2:45am, Dec 11

Chair: Barend Ter Haar

1. Daniel Burton-Rose, “The Spirit-Writing Corpus of Peng Shaosheng (1740–96) in Patrilineal Context: Divine Communication and Family Learning in Mid-Qing Suzhou”
2. Hongyu Wu, “Teaching Dharma from the Other World: Talented Women and Spirit Writing in Buddhist Works of Peng Shaosheng (1740-1796)”
3. Vincent Goossaert, “Buddhist Rituals in the Late Imperial Jiangnan Spirit-writing Groups”

Respondent: Charles B. Jones

 

Online Music Concert: Poetic Melody from Hangzhou
Arizona: 7:00pm, Dec 10 | New York: 9:00pm, Dec 10 | London: 2:00am, Dec 11 | Taiwan: 10:00am, Dec 11 | Tokyo: 11:00am, Dec 11

Saturday Afternoon December 11

Panel IV: Precious Scrolls in Jiangnan
Arizona: 4:00pm, Dec 11 | New York: 6:00pm, Dec 11 | London: 11:00pm, Dec 11| Taiwan: 7:00 am, Dec 12 | Tokyo: 8:00 am, Dec 12

Chair: Scott W. Gregory

1. Katherine Alexander, “Sensational Adventures and Religious Awakenings: Xiunü baojuan and its late Qing context”
2. Rostislav Berezkin, “Precious Scroll of Xiangshan in the ritual practice of Suzhou area of the Ming and Qing periods”
3. Jennifer Eichman, “A Precious Scroll: Dramatizing the Married Life of the Abbess Zhujin”

Respondent: Jason Protass

BREAK 5:30-5:45

 

Panel V: Jiangnan and Beyond
Arizona: 5:45pm, Dec 11 | New York: 7:45pm, Dec 11 | London: 12:45am, Dec 12 | Taiwan: 8:45 am, Dec 12 | Tokyo: 9:45am, Dec 12

Chair: Jennifer Eichman

1. Megan Bryson, “South of the River, South of the Clouds: Guanyin in Early Modern Jiangnan and Yunnan”
2. Gilbert Z. Chen, “Local Matters: Contrasting Models of Temple Reconstruction in Mid-Qing Chongqing and the Jiangnan Region”
3. Jinhui Wu, “From Mount Meru to Mind-Only: The Monk Renchao’s Innovative Mapping of Buddhist Cosmology”
4. Clarissa von Spee, “A Jiangnan Buddhist site ‘Between River and Heaven’: Jinshan Monastery”

Respondent: Tristan G. Brown

ROUNDTABLE 
Arizona: 7:30pm, Dec 11 | New York: 9:30pm, Dec 11 | London: 2:30am, Dec 12 | Taiwan: 10:30 am, Dec 12 | Tokyo: 11:30am, Dec 12

Abstracts

Arizona: 4:00pm, Dec 9
New York: 6:00pm, Dec 9
London: 11:00pm, Dec 9
Taiwan: 7:00 am, Dec 10

Tokyo: 8:00 am, Dec 10

Panel I: Intricate Buddhist Matters

Chair: John Johnston

 
Dr. Johnston is a curator and historian of East Asian art and Buddhist visual and
material culture. He received his PhD from SOAS, University of London in the
History of Art and MA from the University of Hawaii in Chinese Studies. He has
worked as a curator and professor internationally including over 10 years of
experience in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Bhutan). He has visited
hundreds of Buddhist temples and monasteries in the course of extensive fieldwork.
Dr. Johnston has served in curatorial roles in American museums and galleries
including Curator of Asian Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art, and was Assistant
Professor of Art History at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong. Dr. Johnston is
author or co-author of several books and numerous articles on diverse aspects of
Asian art and Buddhist visual culture. Currently, Dr. Johnston is organizing and co-
curating the first art historical presentation of Ōbaku Zen works of art in Western
collections. Other ongoing research interests include the material culture of lay
Buddhist practice and the role of altar ware in the history of Chinese ceramics.

 

“The Resurrection” of Yongming Yanshou in Ming Dynasty China: The Yongming Stūpa at Jingci Monastery”

WELTER, ALBERT (University of Arizona)

Albert Welter is Professor and Head of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona. His is currently involved in the Hangzhou Region Buddhist Culture Project, supported by the Khyentse Foundation, in conjunction with Zhejiang University, the Hangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, and the Hangzhou Buddhist Academy.

https://eas.arizona.edu/people/awelter

Yongming Yanshou 永明延壽 (904–975) lived in the tenth century, between the Tang and Song dynasties. His life and thought came to represent pivotal aspects of Buddhism in a transitional period in Chinese history. The meaning and significance of Yanshou’s life to the Buddhist community has been subject to ongoing debate, depicted through the ongoing evolution of his images. In this study, I review the different ways Yanshou’s image was cast, as “Promoter of Blessings” (xingfu 興福), as “Chan Patriarch” (chanzu 禪祖), and as “Pure Land Patriarch” (jingtu zu 淨土祖) and bodhisattva assisting those seeking rebirth in the Pure Land. I focus on the resurrection of Yanshou’s image in the Ming dynasty, through the rediscovery of his lost remains, the rebuilding of the Yongming Stūpa 永明塔 to inter them, and the identification of Yanshou as an incarnation of the Buddha Amitābha. This was the work of the abbot Dahuo, and leading Ming officials, Yu Chunxi and Huang Ruheng. The current revival of the Yongming Stūpa, following the destruction of the Cultural Revolution, and the cult of worshippers devoted to it is predicated on these Ming dynasty developments.

“Late Ming Chan Master Hanyue and Zhenru Monastery in Jiaxing”

YI-HSUN HUANG (Center for the Study of Chan Buddhism, Shanghai University)

Yi-hsun Huang is an adjunct professor and researcher at the Center for the Study of Chan Buddhism, Shanghai University. She specializes in Chan and Pure Land Buddhism.

https://www.chanbud-shu.org/fellow

Chan Master Hanyue Fazang 漢月法藏 (15731635) resided at eight Buddhist monasteries in his lifetime and these Buddhist monasteries were all in the Jiangnan regionAmong them, Sanfeng Qingliang Chan Monastery 三峰清涼禪寺 in Changshou 常熟 is the birth place of HanyueSanfeng Chan lineage because Hanyue achieved selfenlightenment there in 1612Hanyue continued to stay at Sanfeng Si for another 1years until 1622, when he started receiving invitations to preach or reside at Beichan S北禪寺 in Suzhou 蘇州 and then Jingci Si 淨慈寺 in Hangzhou 杭州the cultural center of Jiangnan regionFollowing thatZhenru Si 真如寺 in Jiaxing 嘉興 sent out the first invitation to Hanyue for its abbotship in 1630, but Hanyue deferredthe invitation due to Hangzhou local patrons’ oppositionIn 1633, Zhenru Si sent out second joint invitation issued by eight literati and this time, Hanyue decided to acceptWith the newly discovered rare text from Shanghai LibraryRecorded Sayings of Chan Master Sanfeng Zang at Changshue Zhenru Si (Sanfeng zang chanshi changshue zhanru si yulu 三峰藏禪師長水真如寺語錄), we now have complete information for investigating the originsof the invitations and the role of literati in the process of inviting abbotsfor Buddhist monasteries in the late MingThis RecordedSayingsalso provides precious details of Hanyues interaction with literati in Jiaxing and his contribution to Jiangnan Buddhism.

“Syncretism and Its Discontent: The Symbolic Power of Orthodoxy and Hanyue Fazang’s Chan-tantric Synthesis in Seventeenth-century China”
Jiang Wu (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).

https://eas.arizona.edu/people/jiangwu

In recent scholarship, the category “syncretism” has often been criticized as insufficient to study complex religious phenomenain China. This essay focuses ona rare case of ChanTantric syncretism in seventeenthcenturyChina in order to provide new perspectivesto our understanding ofsyncretism. Based on my English translation of Hanyue Fazang’s漢月法藏General Principle of Food Bestowal《施食旨概》and study on its reception in the Buddhist world, Iargue that the study of syncretism must be directed to a more historical approach in relation totheintellectual history and religious interactions. Although Hanyue Fazang was influential particularly in the Hangzhou region through his dharma heir Jude Hongli 具德弘禮who later became the abbot of Lingyin Monastery in the early Qing, he was criticized by the Qing emperor Yongzheng 雍正in a debate around 1733. In my paper, Ipoint out that the suppression of this ChanTantric syncretism in Chinaby Emperor Yongzhengsuggests that the discourse of syncretism follows certain principles of selectivity as presupposed rules for the possible combination of different religious elements. Moreover, the dominant religious orthodoxy will exercise itssymbolic power to restrict any expressionof a syncretic ideology which deviated from the preselecteddiscourse.

Respondent: James Baskind


Dr. Baskind received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2006. His area of academic research is Japanese Buddhism and culture, with a focus on how Chinese models—represented by the Obaku School—were received in Edo-period Japan. Other areas of research and writing include Buddhist-Christian interaction in early modern Japan, as well as the Zen/Pure Land dialectic as it pertains to Japanese Buddhist discourse. His current project critically examines tea culture in East Asia, and how it became widely perceived as inextricably linked with Zen and its associated arts. Most recently he held the position of Associate Professor of Japanese Thought at Nagoya City University in Nagoya, Japan. While in Japan his research was supported by numerous grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Apart from his academic pursuits he has also studied and practiced the tea ceremony (both sencha and matcha) as well as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which he currently teaches. In addition, he has nearly completed a book on the cultural history of jiu-jitsu, entitled, Jiu-jitsu: A History of Soft Power. 

 

Arizona: 9:00am, Dec 10
New York: 11:00am, Dec 10
London: 4:00pm, Dec 10
Taiwan: 12:00 am, Dec 11

Tokyo: 1:00 am, Dec 11

Panel II: Mountains and Manifestations

Chair: Rae Dachille

Dr. Rae Erin Dachille (Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, University of California at Berkeley) specializes in the religious and artistic traditions of Himalayan Buddhism. Her research focuses upon representations of the body in art, ritual, philosophy, and medicine in Tibetan and Sanskrit sources.  Dr. Dachille’s book project, entitled Searching for the Body: Translating Buddhism in the Postmodern Age, explores the variety of attitudes toward the body reflected in a heated scholastic exchange between two prominent Tibetan monks.  The book examines the complex and sometimes paradoxical understandings of the body’s strengths and vulnerabilities specific to the fifteenth-century Tibetan context.  It also demonstrates the value of evaluating these ‘esoteric’ sources in relationship to broader humanistic conversations on the body.

 

Buddhist Practice in a Painted Mountainscape

Elizabeth Kindall (University of St. Thomas)

Elizabeth Kindall is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She investigates functional visual experiences captured in Chinese landscape paintings of real places through examinations of their distinctive topographical vocabulary and site-specific views.

https://cas.stthomas.edu/departments/faculty/elizabeth-kindall/

This paper explores the regional literati-Buddhist culture associated with Yandang mountain range 雁蕩山 near the sea coast of Zhejiang Province through an examination of the reception of a 1316 painting of the site called Mount Yandang. I begin by introducing the scenic, social, and organizational Buddhist identities of the mountain range highlighted in the painting. The numinous topographical formations of Yandang were considered the realm of practice of an adherent named Nakula and his followers. The mountain range also contained a network of Chan monasteries, many of which were sponsored by the court in the Song dynasty. I then analyze the life circumstances, Buddhist friendships (fang waiyou 方外友), and viewing experiences described by the 15th-and 16th-century writers of three colophons attached to the scroll. I argue the painted monasteries, topographical forms, and Buddhist icons together with the prose and poetry inscriptions of the Mount Yandang scroll immersed viewers in a visual and literary journey into the mountains that allowed them to engage in “walking meditation”and “seated meditation” as practiced on the mountain range.

Constructing the Abode of Dizang Bodhisattva: Pilgrimages to Mt. Jiuhua in Late Imperial China

Nan Ouyang (Ghent University)

Nan Ouyang is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University in Belgium. Her primary area of expertise is late imperial Chinese Buddhism and sacred geography in late imperial China, especially the historical transformation of Mt. Jiuhua as the abode of Dizang Bodhisattva. Her research interests also include modern Chinese Buddhism and digital humanities.

This study examines the pilgrimage practices to a sacred mountain, Mt. Jiuhua, in the late imperial period, by situating it in the East Asian religious landscape and comparing the pilgrimage rituals of death with those to other sacred places of different religious traditions. Mt. Jiuhua, known as the abode of Dizang Bodhisattva, the lord of the underworld in Chinese Buddhism, became especially attractive for pilgrims to pray for the deceased and for their own forthcoming death. Through an examination of hitherto unnoticed artefacts, including printed underworld passes, talismans, and seals, this study aims to shed light on the spiritual worlds of common pilgrims to Mt. Jiuhua. It argues that the necromantic pilgrimage practices devoted to Dizang on the mountain fundamentally changed Dizang’s image from a versatile deity to a deity overseeing the underworld, as well as established the mountain as the exclusive abode of Dizang.

Manifesting in Bodily Forms” as Role-Playing: Theatrical Interpretations of a Buddhist Concept in Early Modern China

Mengxiao Wang (University of Southern California)

Mengxiao Wang’s research interests include late imperial Chinese religions, theater, vernacular narratives, print culture, and gender. She is currently working on her first book manuscript that explores the interactions between theater and Buddhism in the MingQing periods. 

The Jiangnan region during the early modern period witnessed both the renewal of Buddhism and the prevalence of theater, as well as the interlacing of the two domains. This paper looks into their interplay by investigating how a Buddhist concept, “manifesting in bodily forms” 現身, was reinvented through the lens of theatrical performance. This concept in Buddhist scriptures largely refers to the phenomenon that buddhas and bodhisattvas manifest in various bodily forms to preach the Dharma to different audiences. In the Ming-Qing periods, Buddhist monks and drama critics reinterpreted this concept in a new light of the burgeoning theatrical culture. On the one side, Buddhist monks compared the buddha’s manifestation in the human world to a dramatic role-playing that embodies the journey of awakening. On the other side, this Buddhist concept also provides a framework for drama critics to promote the status of theater by analogizing playwrights to buddhas or bodhisattvas who manifest through characters in their plays. This two-sided picture is further complicated by the fact that some monks were themselves playwrights and drama critics. This case study illustrates how Buddhism and theater mutually transformed each other on a conceptual level in early modern China. 

 

Respondent: Natasha Heller

Natasha Heller studies Chinese Buddhism in the context of cultural and intellectual history. Her research includes both the pre-modern period (10th through 14th c.) and the contemporary era. Heller’s study of an eminent monk of the Yuan dynasty, Illusory Abiding: The Cultural Construction of the Chan Monk Zhongfeng Mingben, was published by Harvard University Asia Center in 2014. 

https://religiousstudies.as.virginia.edu/faculty/profile/%20nlh4x

 

Arizona: 10:45am, Dec 10
New York: 12:45pm, Dec 10
London: 5:45pm, Dec 10
Taiwan: 1:45 am, Dec 11

Tokyo: 2:45am, Dec 11

Panel III: Peng Shaosheng and Spirit-Writing

Chair: Barend Ter Haar


Barend Ter Haar

 

The Spirit-Writing Corpus of Peng Shaosheng (1740–96) in Patrilineal Context: Divine Communication and Family Learning in Mid-Qing Suzhou

Daniel Burton-Rose (Wake Forest University )

Daniel Burton-Rose’s research focuses on elite devotional practices in the Yangzi Delta from the mid-Ming to the late Qing, most especially morality books, spirit-writing, and philanthropic organizing among the Peng patriline of Suzhou from the mid-sixteenth to the late nineteenth century. Burton-Rose’s work on the Peng clan complicates received notions of the religious lives of emic Confucians in the late imperial period and emphasizes the role of divine communication in launching tangible interventions in contemporary intellectual discourse and modes of localist self-organization.

http://history.wfu.edu/people/burtond

Peng Shaosheng (1740–96; dharma name Jiqing) was one of the most prolific authors on Buddhist subjects of the late Qianlong period (1736–95). Best-known for his hagiographical collections of male and female Buddhist lay devotees Jushi zhuan and Shannüren zhuan, he also wrote extensively on reconciling Confucianism and Buddhism and the Chan and Pure Land traditions. This paper focuses on a lesser-known aspect of Shaosheng’s oeuvre: his documentary editing, oral history, and autobiographical work on spirit-writing.  

Spirit-writing opens a window into how Shaosheng perpetuated inherited elements of Peng patriline “family learning” (jiaxue) while pursuing his own devotional interests. In the early 1770s, in coordination with his father, Shaosheng edited two collections of early Qing Suzhou spirit-altar transcripts, including one that recorded the spirit-altar communications of the prior four generations of his male relatives. Shaosheng’s own spirit-writing activity preceded his initial upāsaka vow, but his practice quickly shifted to Buddhist-themed transmissions with the intensification of his own Buddhist commitments. This paper examines the relatively scarce Buddhist content in the early Qing spirit-altar transcripts that were preserved through Shaosheng’s editorial efforts and considers how it differs from the Buddhism-centered spirit-altar content subsequently produced by Shaosheng. Shaosheng’s Buddhism-centered spirit-altar production in turn influenced the next lineal generation of Pengs, adding Pure Land devotion to Confucianism and spirit-writing as part of the Peng “family learning.” 

Teaching Dharma from the Other World: Talented Women and Spirit Writing in Buddhist Works of Peng Shaosheng (1740-1796)

Hongyu Wu (Ohio Northern University)

Hongyu Wu, is an associate professor of Religion, School for Humanities and Global Cultures of Ohio Northern University. Her area of specialization is lay Buddhism in the Qing Dynasty, with a focus on biographical narratives about Buddhist laywomen and its impact on gender, societal and institutional relations.

https://www.onu.edu/directory/hongyu-wu

The Jiangnan area in the Ming (13681644)Qing (16361911) period produced many talented women poetsThe writing of these talented women formed an integral part of the Jiangnan culture. For centuries, these works have caught the attention and imagination of male literati. Motivated by multiple purposes, male literati circulated these women’spoems andcomposed (or recreated) life stories of these women poets to satisfy their different needs and address different agenda. Another noteworthy phenomenon in the cultural and religious landscape of the Jiangnan area was the popularity of spirit writing.Spirit writing was a practice that attracted criticism from political elite and some eminent Buddhist monks during MingQing periodnevertheless, the practice was widely accepted and frequently performed by literati in the Jiangnan area. This paper will focus on the transcript of the communications between male literati and the spirits of two talented women poets, Ye Xiaoluan (16161632) and Tao Shan (17561780), as collected by a Buddhist layman, Peng Shaosheng (17401796). The paper will explore how Peng Shaosheng employed the afterlife accounts of these two talented poets to promote the superiority of Buddhism in the intertraditional debates between Confucians and Buddhists while at the same time defending the Pure Land belief and practice within Buddhist tradition. It also investigates how Peng Shaosheng employed gendered discourse associated with these two women to advance men’s spiritual benefits.

Buddhist Rituals in the Late Imperial Jiangnan Spirit-writing Groups

Vincent Goossaert (EPHE, PSL)

Vincent Goossaert 高萬桑 (PhD, EPHE, Paris, 1997) is a historian, Professor of Daoism and Chinese religions at EPHE, PSL. He is since 2016 co-editor of T’oung Pao, a leading journal in sinology established in 1890.

https://frogbear.org/participants/goossaert-vincent/

The spirit-writing groups (jitan ) were an essential venue for the religious activities and innovations of the gentry in late imperial Jiangnan. There, educated men and women produced texts and learnt ritual and self-cultivation techniques, that they adapted to their personal regimen of spiritual exercises. While spirit-writing itself is essentially a Daoist ritual technique, the jitan members were also personally and collectively engaged in various kinds of Buddhist practices, set up sites for performing Buddhist rituals, and produced and disseminated Buddhist liturgical and self-cultivation manuals. The paper will chart these activities and assess the importance of spirit-writing groups in late imperial Jiangnan Buddhism.

Respondent: Charles B. Jones

Charles B. Jones received his Ph.D. in History of Religions with a focus on East Asian Buddhism from the University of Virginia in 1996. Since then he has been a member of the faculty of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America. he has published on Buddhism in Taiwan, the Jesuit missions in Ming China, and Chinese Pure Land Buddhism.

https://trs.catholic.edu/faculty-and-research/faculty-profiles/jones-charles/index.html

 

Arizona: 4:00pm, Dec 11
New York: 6:00pm, Dec 11
London: 11:00pm, Dec 11
Taiwan: 7:00 am, Dec 12

Tokyo: 8:00 am, Dec 12

Panel IV: Precious Scrolls in Jiangnan

Chair: Scott W. Gregory


Scott Gregory is a scholar of Chinese literature, with special interest in late imperial vernacular fiction and its intersection with the culture of print. He is currently working on a book manuscript concerning different manifestations of the sixteenth-century work The Water Margin and the reading practices surrounding them. He has also published on how novels of the Ming Dynasty conceived of their own historical era. He obtained his PhD from Princeton University in 2012. Before coming to Arizona, he spent two years as a visiting fellow at the National University of Singapore. He has also lived in Taipei and Kyoto.

 

Sensational Adventures and Religious Awakenings: Xiunü baojuan and its late Qing context

Katherine Alexander (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Katherine Alexander’s primary research and teaching interests are in late imperial Chinese vernacular narrative and performance literature, especially focusing on intersections between popular literature and religion. Her book manuscript-in-progress, titled Teaching and Transformation: Yu Zhi and Popular Confucian Literature in the Late Qing, examines how individuals in the late Qing who hoped to restore political and social stability through a Confucian revival imagined and engaged with the masses whom they sought to teach and transform.

https://www.colorado.edu/alc/katherine-alexander

Between 1877 and 1914, Manao Print Shop (瑪瑙經房), associated with Manao Temple in  Hangzhou, printed at least 4 editions of Xiunü baojuan (秀女寶卷), a tale of a pious rich girl who is kidnapped during a temple pilgrimage, sold as a concubine, murdered by her new family’s first wife, and resurrected by the intervention of the Daoist immortal He Xiangu (何仙姑). As sensationalized (and syncretic) as my brief summary reveals the story to be, the purpose of this text was clearly to edify the audiences of Hangzhou, not just entertain them. Manao Print House’s continued investment in reprinting the work, along with other publishers in Hangzhou and beyond as well producing their own editions, suggests publishers (and their donors) believed Xiunü baojuan fulfilled this purpose. Even though the pastiche of motifs and deities may strike contemporary readers as insufficiently Buddhist, in the context of the late Qing and early Republican era, enough Buddhist faithful in Hangzhou and beyond incorporated this text into their religious lives. In this paper, I will engage in a close reading of Xiunü baojuan with the goal of recontextualizing it within late Qing Hangzhou, considering the religious and social tensions explored in its plot alongside the historical clues in its many editions’ bibliographical data.   

Precious Scroll of Xiangshan in the ritual practice of Suzhou area of the Ming and Qing periods

Rostislav Berezkin (Fudan University)

Rostislav Berezkin (Phd UPenn) is a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University. His main fields of research are religious storytelling and popular religion in late imperial China. His publications include two books in Russian. His English-language publication Many Faces of Mulian: The Precious Scrolls of Late Imperial China came out in 2017.

     https://www.acls.org/research/fellow.aspx?cid=695b0686-e7f8-e411-9417-000c29879dd6

Precious Scroll of Xiangshan (Xiangshan baojuan 香山寶卷) is an important text of Buddhist background (originally composed ca. fourteenth-fifteenth centuries) used in the ritualized recitation of the Suzhou area; it is deals with the story of Princess Miaoshan – the female manifestation of Bodhisattva Guanyin, a popular deity in the Jiangnan region. Though this text has been very popular in this area until now, few historical sources provide information on the functioning of this text and its social impact during the Ming and Qing periods. The recent discovery of the Nanjing reprint of the early recension of the Precious Scroll of Xiangshan in Hanoi (the original Chinese text dating ca. sixteenth-early seventeenth centuries was reprinted in Hanoi in 1772) demonstrates that it circulated in the Jiangnan region already at the end of the Ming. There are also descriptions of the assemblies of Buddhist believers centered at recitation of this text in the novels and literati’s miscellanea of the seventeenth–nineteenth centuries. Besides, the Precious Scroll of Xiangshan is still widely used in the ritual practice of Suzhou, especially in “telling scriptures” (jiangjing 講經) of Changshu.

Here I combine the study of historical evidence of the seventeenth – nineteenth centuries with the modern ethnographic research in Suzhou area to demonstrate how recitation of the Precious Scroll of Xiangshan was integrated into the local religious and cultural life. The importance of this text lies in its primary focus on the female path of religious cultivation. Naturally, the Precious Scroll of Xiangshan mainly attracted female audiences, which still can be seen in the modern practice of “telling scriptures” in Changshu. These practices demonstrate the spread of the Buddhist subjects and ideas in the local society of Jiangnan in the late imperial period. 

A Precious Scroll: Dramatizing the Married Life of the Abbess Zhujin

Jennifer Eichman (Centre of Buddhist Studies, SOAS)

Jennifer Eichman’s (Research Associate, SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies)  primary area of research is late Ming Dynasty Chinese Buddhist traditions. In light of her theoretical interest in the relationship between network and discourse, she is currently working on two book projects, one on the life of the nun Zhujin 袾錦 (1548-1614) and the other on the life of the second-generation Yangming Confucian leader, Wang Ji 王畿 (1498-1583).

https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff98655.php

Multi-volume collections of monastic hagiographies have been mined by generations of scholars for clues about the actual lives of eminent monks and nuns, yet the genre is repetitive, inaccurate, and limited in scope. Ming-Qing playwrights and writers of precious scrolls (baojuan) have also mined this genre for source material, but when confronted with lacunae, they re-imagined scene-length episodes replete with dialogic exchanges, supporting characters, and spatial descriptions of ‘actual’ events. One such work, a circa 1781 baojuan entitled, Nine Levels of the Lotus Platform (Jiupin liantai 九品蓮臺), by the Buddhist layman Fan Zhen 范珍 dramatizes new, never before heard of episodes in the lives of the nun Zhujin 袾錦 (1548-1614) and her famous monk-husband Zhuhong 袾宏 (1535-1615). In contrast to hagiographic texts Fan Zhen reimagines their marriage as a positive heartfelt love story. The constant republication of this work, not to mention performances, may well have generated positive symbolic value for the ideal of the cloistered nun, and as I will argue, shored up monastic reputations by meeting their audiences in the arena of felt religion, not in the world of cerebral tropes so indicative of hagiographic genres. 

Respondent: Jason Protass

Jason Protass is the William A. Dyer, Jr. Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University. His recent monograph is entitled The Poetry Demon: Song-Dynasty Monks on Verse and the Way (University of Hawai’i Press, 2021).

https://vivo.brown.edu/display/jprotass

 

Arizona: 5:45pm, Dec 11
New York: 7:45pm, Dec 11
London: 12:45am, Dec 12
Taiwan: 8:45 am, Dec 12

Tokyo: 9:45am, Dec 12

Panel V: Jiangnan and Beyond

Chair: Jennifer Eichman

Jennifer Eichman’s (Research Associate, SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies)  primary area of research is late Ming Dynasty Chinese Buddhist traditions. In light of her theoretical interest in the relationship between network and discourse, she is currently working on two book projects, one on the life of the nun Zhujin 袾錦 (1548-1614) and the other on the life of the second-generation Yangming Confucian leader, Wang Ji 王畿 (1498-1583).

https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff98655.php

South of the River, South of the Clouds: Guanyin in Early Modern Jiangnan and Yunnan

Megan Bryson (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Megan Bryson’s research focuses primarily on Buddhism in the Dali region of Yunnan Province, especially during the Nanzhao (649-903) and Dali (937-1253) kingdoms. Her current projects include a monograph on textual, visual, and material transmission on the southwestern Silk Road during the middle period, as well as the edited volume Buddhist Masculinities.

https://religion.utk.edu/faculty/bryson.php

Yunnan lies far to the west of the Jiangnan region, but both areas are defined by their southern location, and both areas were home to thriving Buddhist institutions, and both areas claimed parts of their local geographies as the home of the universally revered bodhisattva Guanyin. This paper compares accounts of Guanyin in Jiangnan and Yunnan during the Ming and Qing dynasties to better understand how people in each region imagined their land as the bodhisattva’s abode. Stories about Guanyin at Putuo shan in Zhejiang and stories about Guanyin in Yunnan’s Dali region reveal different processes of localization in different southern regions. I draw primarily on material from local gazetteers and unofficial histories (such as Dali’s Baiguo yinyou 白國因由). This comparison shifts focus away from the political centers in the north to consider what unites and divides southern Buddhism in the early modern period. 

Local Matters: Contrasting Models of Temple Reconstruction in Mid-Qing Chongqing and the Jiangnan Region

Gilbert Chen (Washington University, St. Louis)

Gilbert Chen (Ph.D. Washington University, St. Louis) is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Towson University, Maryland. Dr. Chen studies the intersection of socioeconomic forces in the realms of religion and gender in late imperial Chinese Buddhism. More specifically, he uses legal archives to uncover the social embeddedness of the lower-level clergy and their monastic institutions in local society and the construction of clerical masculinity in the Qing.

 

https://www.towson.edu/cla/departments/history/facultystaff/gilbert-zhe-chen.html

Unlike the pioneering scholarship on the rebuilding of famous monastic institutions in the Jiangnan area by Timothy Brook (1993) and in the more recent work by Gregory Adam Scott (2020) which highlight the leading role played by wellconnected literati and charismatic monks in periods of fervent Buddhist revival in the late Ming and late Qing respectively, this paper attends to the reconstruction of lesserknown monastic establishments in periods unmarked by either political unrest or a sudden renewed interest in religious establishments. In contrast, my study of monastic reconstruction will use legal archives to examine how ordinary clerics and community members used locally available resources to finance temple reconstruction in midQing (17801840) Chongqing. In particular, since the Chongqing area had rich coal deposits, local monastics consistently sold or leased out coal mines to fund temple reconstruction projects. However, such efforts tended to aggravate the clergylaity relationship due to ecological and fengshui concerns. In this regard, reconstruction projects did not always build upon and lead to community consensus. My study thus raises the question of whether lesserknown temples in Jiangnan underwent these same dynamics and faced similar challenges in the process of reconstruction.

From Mount Meru to Mind-Only: The Monk Renchao’s Innovative Mapping of Buddhist Cosmology

Jinhui Wu (Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Arizona)

A research fellow at the University of Arizona Center for Buddhist Studies, Jinhui studies Buddhism with a focus on early modern Chinese Buddhist literature and its intersection with other socio-cultural spheres, from the perspective of historiography, ritual practices, materiality, vernacular literature, and print culture.

https://cbs.arizona.edu/content/jinhui-wu

Fajie anli tu (An Illustrated [Guide] to the Established Order of the Dharmadhatu 法界安立圖, X. 972)isan orderly account of Buddhist cosmologycomposed by the monk Renchao 仁潮 in Hangzhou. This text reflects the most detailed accountlate Ming Jiangnan Buddhists had of Buddhist cosmology and the physical world around them. The text was well receivedin China since its first publication in 1607 and haa farreaching influence during its transmission to other parts of the world, especially Japan and Britain. In this article, I discuss the development and transformation of Buddhist cosmology in China mainly through a textual analysis of this specific work. Through an examination and comparison of textual sources, I will demonstrate that Buddhist cosmology in Chinaentangled with domestic philosophies and interpretations of different sects of Chinese Buddhist traditionsshifts from an exhaustive literal and visual depiction of the physical cosmos to a philosophical justification of the universe that emphasizes the supremacy of mind(xin ).

“A Jiangnan Buddhist site ‘Between River and Heaven’: Jinshan Monastery”

Clarissa von Spee (Cleveland Museum of Art)

Clarissa von Spee, PhD史明理, is Chair of Asian Art and James and Donna Reid Curator of Chinese Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She received her PhD from Heidelberg University. In 2016 she was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to conduct research on the art of the Jiangnan region of China, the subject of a future exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

           https://www.clevelandart.org/art/curators/clarissa-von-spee

The paper will introduce Gold Mountain Monastery, a Jiangnan Buddhist pilgrimage sitethe origins of which can be traced to the Six Dynasties perioda decisive period in the development of Buddhism in China. The paper will explore the localization and visualization of these sites on paintings, prints and porcelain in premodern China and discuss their importance and developments as local and national sites, from pilgrimage to imperial visits to tourism.

Respondent: Tristan G. Brown

Tristan G. Brown is a social and cultural historian of late imperial and modern China at MIT. His research focuses on the ways in which law, science, environment, and religion interacted in China from the seventeenth to early twentieth centuries.

https://history.mit.edu/people/tristan-brown/