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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Sidgwick Hall, Newnham College, Cambridge
Event date: 
Monday, 4 March, 2024 - 14:00
Event organiser: 

Book Culture in Buddhism and Beyond lecture given by Jason Protass, Brown University

Chan Buddhism is famous for not establishing dogmas in written words 不立文字. Yet, Chan Buddhists are equally famous for embracing woodblock print technology and for voluminous textual production from the Song dynasty onwards. Modern scholarly study of Chan has centered on the contents of such texts, and often presumes a sudden and total print revolution. In this talk, I focus on how manuscript and print cultures continued to coexist and intersect in Buddhist milieux of the Song Dynasty, and offer a tentative re-periodization of the spread of print in Chan circles. By understanding the role of manuscripts in how books were made and how they were used, this talk aims to recover a more fulsome picture of books among Chan Buddhists of the Song.

Jason Protass is William A. Dyer, Jr. Assistant Professor of the Humanities and a faculty member of the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University, Rhode Island. Professor Protass is a researcher of Chinese Buddhism, whose publications include The Poetry Demon: Song-Dynasty Monks on Verse and the Way (2021) and essays such as “Buddhist Fund-Raising Poems and Other Lost Verses from Venerable Miaozhan’s Gāthā (Printed 1142).”

"Reading a Sutra by Moonlight," artist unidentified, ca. 1332
Dr Noga Ganany: