The Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project

Initiated and led by Professor Albert Welter, the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project, entitled “The Hangzhou Region and the Chinese Creation of an East Asian Buddhism,” is a multi-year research and educational program centered on Buddhism in the Hangzhou area of China.

The Khyentse Foundation has awarded a generous grant in support of the project, for a three-year period, beginning in 2018. The current project represents the initial stage of a long-term effort that promises to have a major impact on our understanding of Buddhism in China and the East Asian region. Student engagement in research is integral to the project. Utilizing a collaborative team approach, students will assume roles over key aspects of the project. Ultimately, the project will produce two outcomes: 1) a body of research that will both enhance our knowledge of East Asian Buddhism and lead to new perspectives regarding its meaning and significance; and 2) the creation of visual materials designed for new generations of learning, including maps, videos, and other web based materials, including a “virtual” Hangzhou.

Welter has delivered a keynote speech, “A New Look at Old Traditions: Reimagining East Asian Buddhism” 对旧传统的新观点: 重新思考东亚佛教, to highlight the project at the Zhejiang University “Buddhist Summit” on May 11, 2017.

Between May 19 and 28, 2017, Welter led a group of graduate students from Department of East Asian Studies to visit and study the following Buddhist monasteries: Lingyin si 灵隐寺, Yongfu si 永福寺, Taoguang si 韬光寺, Shang Tianzhu 上天竺 (Fajing si 法镜寺), Zhong Tianzhu 中天竺 (Faxi si 法喜寺), Xia Tianzhu 下天竺 (Fajing Chan si 法净禅寺), Jingci si 净慈寺 & Leifeng ta 雷峰塔, Xuedou si 雪窦寺, Ayuwang si 阿育王寺 & Tiantong si 天童寺, Gaoli Si 高丽寺, Liuhe ta 六和塔 & Jingshan si 径山寺.