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Report: Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project Summer 2018

Friday, January 25, 2019

The University of Arizona’s Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project Summer 2018 took place in Hangzhou, China from May 14 to June 1, 2018.  Seven graduate students, led by the project initiator Dr. Albert Welter, participated in the summer 2018 project.  Room and board were coved by our partner institution Lingyin si 灵隐寺 (Monastery of the Soul’s Repose) in Hangzhou.


For the duration of the summer 2018 project, each graduate student carried out an individual research project related to a significant aspect or aspects of Hangzhou Buddhist culture. For example, graduate student Adam Baldry’s individual research project related to Jingci si 净慈寺 (Monastery of Pure Compassion) and Yongming Yanshou永明延寿; Steve Torowicz’s individual research project was about the influence of Hangzhou Buddhism on the Japanese monk Eisai. During the two weeks in Hangzhou, seven graduate students attempted to collect local materials, visit Buddhist sites which related to their individual project, and talk to monks, nuns and local experts to inspire ideas for their individual research.


The graduate students also worked in teams to document a specifically designated aspect of the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project. For the summer 2018 project, one group project activity was to video-record and photograph Lingyin si, focusing on the Daxiong Baodian大雄宝殿. The purpose of video recording and photographing of Lingyin si was to collect materials for the UA Center for Digital Humanities, which is providing support to create a Virtual Hangzhou component of the project. A VR simulation of Lingyin Monastery in Hangzhou was already produced during the fall 2018 semester. Another group project activity was to create a bibliography of primary/secondary sources related to Hangzhou Buddhist culture in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


The Project also produced the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture lecture series at Zhejiang University on May 17, 2018. Dr. Albert Welter gave a presentation titled "Introduction to the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Summer Project 2018." On May 24, Dr. Guodong Feng from Zhejiang University presented "Zhejiang province and the Buddhism of the Song dynasty." At Jiliang University, Dr. Gaoxing Qiu from Jiliang University gave a lecture on "Huayan thought and belief in Hangzhou during Song dynasties." In addition to attending the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture lecture series, students also visited local Buddhist sites in Hangzhou, including Lingyin si灵隐寺, Yongfu si永福寺, Faxi si法喜寺, Fajing Chan si (Zhong Tianzhu)法净禅寺, Fajing si (Xia Tianzhu)法镜寺, Jingci si净慈寺, Leifeng ta 雷峰塔and Gaoli si高丽寺. The group also took an overnight trip to Tiantai shan天台山 and visited Guoqing si 国清寺, together with the group from Jiliang University.


In addition, the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project established a partnership with the Hangzhou Academy of Social Sciences. Participants were invited to visit the Hangzhou Academy of Social Sciences and discussed the possibility of future project cooperation, including scholarly exchanges and the support of a project to translate and publish Western scholars' works that are related to Hangzhou Buddhism.


In short, the UA’s Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project Summer 2018 achieved great success with the graduate students' individual research projects, the group activities, the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture lecture series, the Buddhist site visits, and the cooperation with local institutions for future projects.


For summer 2019, the Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project and Jiliang University will hold a conference on Hangzhou Buddhist Culture at Jiliang University, Hangzhou from May 17 to 18, 2019. Hangzhou Buddhist Culture Project Summer 2019 will take place following the conference. We expect the graduate students who are interested in Hangzhou Buddhist culture to join our summer 2019 project!


Author:Lixia Dong

(Contact Email: lixiadong@email.arizona.edu)

Hangzhou Project Coordinator

Department of East Asian Studies

Editor: Hannah Greene