Nan Ouyang Winning Lingyin Buddhist Studies Best Graduate Research Paper Award

April 25, 2019

Thanks to the generous support of Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, China, the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Arizona establishes Lingyin Buddhist Studies Best Graduate Research Paper Award. The award is for graduate students who demonstrate superb research abilities through writing and publishing. The total amount of the award is $5,000. Congratulations to Nan Ouyang to be the recipient of the award in 2019.


Nan Ouyang is a doctoral student in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include Buddhism in late imperial China, modern Chinese Buddhism, sacred space, pilgrimage studies, and vernacular literature. Recently, Nan has successfully defended her PhD dissertation, titled “The Making of a Sacred Place: The Rise of Mt. Jiuhua in the Late Imperial and Republican Eras (1368–1949).” Her dissertation focuses on the historical transformation of Mt. Jiuhua from a local mountain to a national pilgrimage center associated with Dizang Bodhisattva (Sanskrit: Kṣitigarbha). She will graduate in May 2019.


Her research paper, titled “Localizing a Bodhisattva in Late Imperial China: Kṣitigarbha, Mt. Jiuhua, and Their Connections in Precious Scrolls (baojuan 寶卷),” has been awarded the Lingyin Buddhist Studies Best Graduate Research Paper Award this year. This paper will be published soon in the peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Chinese Religions.


The abstract of her paper is as follows:

This paper examines the texts and ritual performances of three typical Kṣitigarbha (Dizang 地藏) or Maudgalyāyana (Mulian 目連) precious scrolls (baojuan 寶卷) in late imperial China, with an emphasis on locality. By examining the identification of Jin Dizang 金地藏 as Dizang Bodhisattva’s emanation on Mt. Jiuhua 九華山, Mt. Jiuhua’s function as an essential geographical setting in texts, and the ritual contexts for their performances, this paper demonstrates that Mt. Jiuhua’s rising fame is intricately reflected in Dizang or Mulian scrolls. Instead of reading these scrolls through the lens of a particular religious group, this paper adopts a local perspective to reveal the ways in which precious scrolls became important venues for representing sacred geography. Thus, this paper works as a case study of the confluences of religious history and vernacular literature.