Dr. Chün-fang Yü, professor emerita, Departments of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
October 22, 2020 at 4:00 PM Mountain Standard Time (MST)
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The frequent pairings of Guanyin with Dizang in indigenous sculptures, paintings, miracle, stories, prayers, and ritual texts constitute a new development in Chinese Buddhism. Buddhist cave sculptures in Longmen and Sichuan, for example, either depict the two in the same niche, or place their individual niches side by side. Sometimes, we also find them flank a central Buddha figure, be it Amitabha or the Buddha of Healing. Guanyin and Dizang were often linked together in ritual and art. While the earliest examples are dated to the early Tang (618-907) or the 7th century, this phenomenon became more prevalent after the late Tang around the early 10th century. Such pairing does not have any basis in Buddhist scriptures. Why and how did such a pairing occur? A related larger question is: What can this development tell us about Chinese Buddhism?
Chün-fang Yü was born in China and educated in Taiwan, graduating from Tunghai University with a major in English Literature and minor in Chinese philosophy. She received a M.A. degree from Smith College in English Literature and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Religion,
specializing in Chinese Buddhism. She taught at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Columbia University. She is the author of The Renewal of Buddhism in China: Chu-hung and the Late Ming Synthesis, Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokiteśvara, Passing the Light: The Incense Light Community and the Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan and Chinese Buddhism: A Thematic History.
This lecture series is made possible thanks to the generous support from Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, China. For more information about our lecture series, please visit our website: https://cbs.arizona.edu/lecture-series.