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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Runcie Room, Faculty of Divinity
Event date: 
Tuesday, 14 May, 2024 - 14:00
Event organiser: 

Launched in September, 2121, the Yin-Cheng Distinguished Lecture Series (印證佛學傑出學術系列講座) is a collaborative, multi-university partnership between Peking University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Harvard University, University of British Columbia, University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.

The Lecture Series is established in honour of Venerable Cheng-yen 證嚴, founder of Tzu Chi, and her mentor Yinshun 印順 (1906–2005), with the goal of promoting topics in Buddhist studies. The series is organised at Cambridge by Dr Noga Ganany with the generous support of the Tzu Chi Foundation.

This lecture in the series is given by Dr Rongdao Lai 釋融道, McGill University, Canada with discussant Dr Stefania Travagnin 史芬妮 SOAS, University of London

Monastic education was one of the most important aspects of the modernization project in Chinese Buddhism. It went through a fervent period of growth in the 1920s and 30s. This talk addresses the convergence of identity and institution, focusing on the emergence of modern Buddhist academies (foxueyuan 佛學院) and the students they produced, in this specific historical context. I identify three paradigm shifts that concretely influenced the practice of modern Chinese Buddhism. The vertical teacher-student dynamic at modern foxueyuan led to a new understanding of the traditional master-disciple relationship in Buddhism. Teachers, rather than having absolute authority and responsibility, provided the ideological inspiration for their students’ undertaking. This ideological underpinning was the basis for the construction of a new, horizontal relationship among the students, which eventually manifested in the production of a collective student-monk identity. Lastly, Buddhist reformers and educators justified the founding of the new foxueyuan as a renewal rather than departure from the traditional public monastery (conglin 叢林) training. This re-interpretation of orthodoxy, grounded in the performance of the student-monk identity, reinforced the role of the Buddhist academies and their students in the institutional transformation of Chinese Buddhism in the twentieth century.

Rongdao Lai is assistant professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at McGill University, Canada. She was formerly assistant professor at the University of Southern California, postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute (National University of Singapore), and research fellow in the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies. Her research focuses primarily on the changing landscape and identity production in modern Chinese Buddhism. Her monograph Citizen Bodhisattvas: Education, Student-Monks, and Citizenship in Modern Chinese Buddhism is forthcoming by Brill. Her other on-going projects include historical production, lineage networks, transnational movements, and monastic economy in twentieth-century Chinese Buddhism.



釋融道 加拿大麥吉爾大學宗教學院、東亞研究系助理教授,歷任美國南加州大學助理教授、新加坡國立大學亞洲研究中心博士後 、何鴻毅家族基金佛學研究計劃學者。主要研究領域為漢傳佛教現代化、佛教教育、法脈網絡、跨國佛教與身份認同。專著有 Citizen Bodhisattvas: Education, Student-Monks, and Citizenship in Modern Chinese Buddhism (Brill: forthcoming).

Stefania Travagnin is Reader in Chinese Buddhism at SOAS, University of London. Travagnin is currently co-director of the multiyear project “Mapping Religious Diversity in Modern Sichuan”; within this project, she is exploring Han Buddhist local micro-histories, female communities, patterns of Sangha education, and the spatial ecology of religious sites, focusing especially on the time from the late Qing to the end of the Republican era. Travagnin has also done field research among Buddhist communities in Taiwan for more than twenty years, studying Buddhist women, the phenomenon of Humanistic Buddhism, the figure of the monk Yinshun, and the intersection between religion and media. She has been recently awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for completing a research on Tzu Chi's multifaith membership and global humanitarianism. She has edited or co-edited several volumes, including Religion and Media in China: Insights and Case Studies from the Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (Routledge, 2016), and the three-volume publication Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions (De Gruyter, 2019-2020). She is editor in chief of the journal Review of Religion and Chinese Society.

史芬妮(Stefania Travagnin)是倫敦大學亞非學院的中國佛教方向的教授。史教授目前參與主持“描繪現代四川的宗教多樣性”這一多年的研究項目;在這項研究中,她探討漢傳佛教的地方微觀歷史、女性社群、僧伽教育的模式以及宗教場所的空間生態,尤其關注從晚清到民國的時間段。史教授也在台灣的佛教社群進行了二十多年的田野調查,研究佛教中的女性、人間佛教的現象、印順法師的形象以及宗教與媒體的交匯。她最近獲得了英國國家學術院的中期職業研究資助,用於完成對慈濟多信仰會員制度以及全球人道主義的研究。史教授編輯或參與編輯了幾部專書,包括《中國宗教與媒體:來自大陸、台灣及香港的見解與案例研究》(Routledge,2016年)和三卷本《中國宗教研究的概念與方法》(De Gruyter,2019-2020年)。她也擔任期刊《宗教與中國社會評論》的主編。

Dr Noga Ganany: