Previous Events

Ghastly Hauntings and Divine Justice: A New Approach to Ritual, Ethics and Kingship in Ancient Japanese Buddhism

Bryan Lowe (Vanderbilt University)

Buddhism & Social Justice Event

12 May 2015  
15:00 - 17:00 hrs
Eyckhof 4, room 5

In the middle of 748, Queen Consort Kōmyō commissioned one hundred copies—many on fine colored paper—of a relatively obscure work, entitled the Scripture on Saving and Protecting Body and Life. This text promises protection from attacks by demons and sorcerers, as well as from other threats that plague humans living in an era of decline. She also sponsored one hundred copies of the Golden Light Sutra and three copies of the Scripture on Brahma’s Spirit Tablets, a divination sutra, at the same time. This talk will place these three projects within the broader historical and cosmological climate of eighth-century Japan. While recent scholarship on ritual and politics has focused on the way Buddhist patronage functioned to theatrically demonstrate political legitimacy, I will use these projects to depict a world in which kings and queens were haunted by ghastly attacks and answered to celestial kings who threatened to punish the impious. In this environment, ritual was not merely an expressive tool used to justify political authority; Buddhist ideas were themselves an authoritative force that structured ethical codes of conduct in early Japan. Kings reigned through earthly laws, but they were governed by divine justice.

Kitano Tenjin Emaki (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Bryan Lowe is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University specializing in East Asian religions with a focus on Buddhism in early Japan (seventh through ninth centuries).


To the feet of the leader of the two systems, the precious preserver of the law: Aspects of Life of Monastic Dependent Peasants in pre-1959 Tibet

Jeannine Bischoff (University of Bonn)

Buddhism & Social Justice Event

9 April 2015  
15:00 - 17:00 hrs
Room 208, Lipsius building (Cleveringaplaats 4, Leiden)

The majority of the pre-1959 Central Tibetan population was characterised by being bound personally to an estate (lord). This appears for many as a radical view as it puts Tibetan ordinary people in line with medieval Central European serfs. However, there is much more to their living circumstances than dependency. Based on archival material this presentation intends to show various aspects of Tibetan ordinary people’s lives. The documents used originate from the Lhasa archives and were drawn up by, respectively for, the monastery of Kundeling. While they are about every day issues like marriage or conflict mediation, the documents also reflect behavioural patterns and values within the societal group of dependent peasants, as well as how the handling of practicalities was intertwined with Buddhist-centred perspectives.

Jeannine Bischoff is a doctoral student at the University of Bonn. She is currently writing her thesis on the socio-economic situation of Tibetan dependent peasants (mi ser) before 1959, based on private legal documents related to the monastery of Kundeling.


Crime and Punishment in Buddhist Monasteries in Pre-modern Tibet

Berthe Jansen (Leiden University)

31 March 2015  
19:30 - 21:30 hrs
Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University


Berthe Jansen's PhD defense

The project is proud to announce that on the 24th of February 2015, project member Berthe Jansen successfully defended her dissertation 'The Monastery Rules: Buddhist Monastic Organization in Pre-modern Tibet'. She will continue her research for the project as a postdoctoral fellow.

//defense.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/#!album-5

Photos by Arinde Jonker


Between Tibetan Monasticism and Society (Workshop)

Buddhism & Social Justice Event

24 February 2015  
13:00 - 15:30 hrs
Conference Room (Huizinga Building), Doelensteeg 16, Leiden

//workshop.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/#!album-4

Photos by Arinde Jonker

This workshop is organized by the project on occasion of Berthe Jansen's defence of her dissertation 'The Monastery Rules: Buddhist Monastic Organization in Pre-modern Tibet' on the 24th of February (find more information here). The program will be as follows:

13:00 - 13:30 Ulrike Roesler (University of Oxford): "Another Kind of Monasticism? The Vinaya of the Bon tradition"

13:30 - 14:00 Charles Ramble (University of Oxford): "A Jewel in the Rough: The Fortunes of the Sangha in the Barbarous Himalayan Borderlands"

14:00 - 14:30 tea break

14:30 - 15:00 Jane Caple (University of Manchester): “The Moral Life of Money in a Tibetan Monastic Economy”

15:00 - 15:30 Jonathan Samuels (University of Heidelberg): "50 Ways to Leave Your Monastery: Attitudes Toward Monastic Mobility in Tibetan Communities Then and Now"

 



From the cleanliness to the purity: bodily care in Buddhist monasteries from India to China

Ann Heirman (Ghent University)

IIAS and Buddhism & Social Justice Event | Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

5 December 2014  
14:00 - 16:00 hrs
IIAS (conference room), Rapenburg 59, Leiden

An essential but often overlooked aspect of monastic life are the practices and objects regulating daily routine, such as bodily care. Bodily practices might be viewed as relatively simple and elementary, but it is exactly through their triviality that they give us a clear insight into the structure and development of Buddhist monasteries. This lecture displays how, over time, Buddhist monks and nuns have, through their painstaking effort into regulating bodily care, defined the identity of the Buddhist saṃgha, overtly displaying it to the laity. In this effort of codification, implementation and recodification (in respectively India and China), a  striking feature comes to the fore: a shifting focus from cleanliness, respect and decorum to purity and ritualization.

 

Ann Heirman

Ann Heirman, Ph.D. (1998) in Oriental Languages and Cultures, is professor of Chinese Language and Culture and head of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University in Belgium. She has published extensively on Chinese Buddhist monasticism and the development of disciplinary rules, including Rules for Nuns according to the Dharmaguptakavinaya (Motilal Banarsidass, 2002), The Spread of Buddhism (Brill, edited volume with Stephan Peter Bumbacher, 2007), and A Pure Mind in a Clean Body (with Mathieu Torck, Academia Press, 2012).

 


Where Buddhism meets Tibetan social policy: Monastic Guidelines (bca’ yig) in pre-modern Tibet

Berthe Jansen (Leiden University)

Friday 28th November 2014 4-5 pm
Oriental Institute, Oxford
Lecture Rm 2

When historians write about Tibet, they tend to portray monks as either fiercely political protagonists or alternatively as pawns in the fiercely political ambitions of their secular patrons. On the other hand, when scholars in Buddhist Studies write about Tibetan historical figures, they present them primarily as authors of abstruse texts dealing with emptiness and other doctrinal matters, with little by way of social or historical context. It is rare indeed to find doctrinal issues linked with social issues, and when such links are made, they tend to be a bad fit.

In this talk, Berthe Jansen will present her research on a unique genre of Tibetan texts, which contains information on what monks did, what they thought, and what they thought they ought to be doing. 

 


Shinran and The Sutra of Immeasurable Life: The Buddhist Thinker as Reader

Dennis Hirota (Ryukoku University)

IIAS and Buddhism & Social Justice Event | Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

16 September 2014
15:00 - 17:00 hrs
IIAS (conference room), Rapenburg 59, Leiden

Shinran (Gutoku Shinran 愚禿親鸞, 1173-1263) maintains his status today as one of the most consequential Buddhist thinkers in Japanese history. The tradition stemming from his thought and teaching activity, Shin Buddhism (Jōdo Shinshū 浄土真宗), has been a significant force in Japanese society since the fifteenth century and remains among the largest of its Buddhist institutions at present, with over twenty thousand temples.

Shinran’s significance within the broad historical sweep of Buddhist thought and practice turns on his searching insight into the subtle vestiges of delusive self-attachment that tend to persist even in religious study and discipline, and on his probing exploration of the nature of unenlightened, karmically conditioned human existence in vital engagement with the Buddhist path.

This presentation will consider issues in Shinran’s interpretive practices in relation to the central scripture of East Asian Pure Land Buddhism, outlining his resolution of the fundamental problem in Buddhist traditions of how it may be that ignorant beings are enabled to apprehend the truth of Buddhist texts.

Dennis Hirota is professor of Shin Buddhist Studies, emeritus, Ryukoku University, Kyoto. He was the Head Translator of The Collected Works of Shinran and has published on Japanese Pure Land Buddhist traditions. He is presently completing a book on Shinran’s thought in the light of Heidegger.

 


 

B&SJ Conference

 


 




"The Authorship and Provenance of the Chapters of the Suvarṇa[pra]bhāsa Ascribed to Paramartha, and Implications for the History of Buddhist Texts"

Venue: conference room at IIAS (Rapenburg 59)
Date & Time: Thursday 16 January from 15.00 - 17.00.

In this talk, Dr. Radich will pose the argument that the four chapters of the Suvarnaprabhasa-sutra ("Sutra of Golden Light") attributed to Paramartha (499-569) were most likely composed in China, and other versions of those chapters therefore were most likely derived from Paramartha's versions. In doing so Dr. Radich will posit the possibility that some Tibetan versions of the chapters, which are supposed to have been translated from Sanskrit, are more likely to have in fact been translated from Chinese. These findings have wider implications for the history of the Suvarnaprabhasa; for the history of Buddha-body doctrine; for the whole corpus ascribed to Paramartha; and for our understanding of the information in traditional Tibetan catalogues. Dr. Radich will also briefly discuss new computer-assisted techniques that were used to uncover the patterns of textual evidence upon which his analysis is based.

Dr. Michael Radich is a Senior Lecturer in the Religious Studies Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, where he has worked since 2005. A New Zealander by birth, he was educated at Auckland University in composition, music analysis and Asian Studies, and then at Harvard in East Asian Studies. He received his PhD from Harvard in 2007 for a dissertation entitled "The Somatics of Liberation: Ideas about Embodiment in Buddhism from Its Origins to the Fifth Century C.E." He is also the translator of Kazushige Shingu, Being Irrational: Lacan, the Objet a, and the Golden Mean; and the author of How Ajatasatru Was Reformed: The Domestication of "Ajase" and Stories in Buddhist History, and The Mahaparinirvana-mahasutra and the Emergence of Tathagatagarbha/Buddha nature Doctrine (forthcoming). For Winter 2013-2014 he is the Numata Guest Professor at the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg.




1

Monk-tax? Three Different Meanings of Grwa khral
Berthe Jansen

Saturday 7 December
14.30 -15.00

part of the Conference: When the Taxman Cometh. Tax, Corvée and Community Obligations in Tibetan Societies

6–7 December 2013, Conference of the Franco-German Project SHTS
“Social History of Tibetan Societies, 17th to 20th Centuries”
Hotel L’Aigle Noir, 27, place Napoléon Bonaparte, 77300 Fontainebleau




Ritual Monks and Buddho-Confucian Rituals: Sketching Joseon Buddhism as a lived tradition
Sung-Eun Thomas Kim

Saturday 23 November 1:00 PM–3:30 PM

2013 Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Nov 23-26
http://www.aarweb.org/
Program Korean Religions Group
Theme: Buddhist Rituals and Seon/Zen in the Chosŏn Dynasty

View paper abstract (PDF)


 

The Cultural Adoption and Patronage of Buddhism by Korean Confucian Literati During the Joseon Dynasty: Boundaries as Touch Points
Sung-Eun Thomas Kim

Wednesday 26 June 11:00-13:00

the International Convention of Asia Scholars 8, Homepage
The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, Macao, China, June 24 – 27, 2013.
Panel 224 - Rethinking the Private Lives of Confucian Literati: Reconciling the Three Teachings in Premodern East Asia

View paper abstract (PDF)

 

yifa

The Current State of Buddhism in China
Venerable Dr. Yifa

Friday May 24th
15.00 -16.30
Green Room, Arsenaal

Venerable Dr. Yifa, Ph.D (依法法師)(b. 1959) is a Taiwanese Buddhist nun, scholar, and writer. Ordained by the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order in 1979, Yifa holds a law degree from the Taiwan National University, a masters in comparative philosophy from the University of Hawaii and a doctorate in religious studies from Yale University. She served as a department head and dean of University of the West during her tenure. She is the current director of the Woodenfish Program for college students.

Since 2006, Venerable Yifa and others have published translations of the Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Ksitigarbha Sutra, and Amitabha Sutra. Venerable Yifa and Fo Guang Shan seek to make Buddhist practice relevant to contemporary life. She lives at Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California.

 



tibet

 

Conference Recapturing the Tibetans who escaped the Historian’s net
May 27 - 28, 2013

Berthe Jansen - How to Tame a Wild Monastic Elephant: Drepung Monastery According to the Great Fifth

Time: 13:45–14:15
Venue: Gustav – Stresemann – Institut, Langer Grabenweg 68, 53173 Bonn

For more information, please visit the conference page and the full schedule

 



Lecture: Tensions in Tibet

SIB Lecture | January 14, 2013

Tensions in Tibet

Speaker: Berthe Jansen
Time: 20.00
Venue: Hereweg 1, Leiden

The situation in Tibet has been in the news many times now. With the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing it became clear that many people do not agree with the way the Chinese government acts against Tibet. With many protests the situation went all over the world.
Since 1951 Tibet is a province of China, even though it has an own language, people, culture and religion. It is not surprising that these differences lead to many conflicts with the Peoples Republic of China. Will Tibet ever become independent? Which role will the international media play in this conflict? And how will China deal with the growing criticism?
Berthe Jansen will go into detail on the reactions of the media and international society on the tensions with the Chinese government.

 


Two Lectures on Buddhism in Central Asia: Visual Evidence for History | Friday 7 December 2012

Time: 13.00 - 16.00
Venue: Lipsius Room 228, Cleveringaplaats 4, Leiden


First Lecture | Buddha, Monks and Lay Devotees: the Buddhist rhetoric of power in Late Antique Afghanistan

First speaker: Dr. Anna Filigenzi

Chinese pilgrims often describe public Buddhist ceremonies performed by lay rulers, such as a king, humbly crownless and barefoot, welcoming with offerings a procession of Buddhist images or another king symbolically renounced all earthly goods – including his own kingdom and family – on behalf of the Buddha. These and similar manifestations hint to a synthesis of philosophical, religious and social instances that seems to have deeply permeated the Late Antique Buddhist world.

Confirmation of the widespread rhetoric of the “Buddhist kingdom”, in which rulers act not only as patrons but as true terrestrial Bodhisattvas entrusted with the protection of dharma, is provided by paintings and sculptures which witness a variegated range of ritualised customs, in the form of pious metaphors or hieratic acts of devotion and homage performed by individuals, families or distinctive social groups of high rank. Newly excavated sites such as Tepe Narenj and Mes Aynak now provide fresh and strikingly explicit evidence, which in turn allow us to re-examine the old documentation with stronger interpretative models.

Anna Filigenzi is temporary researcher at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and the holder of the FWF stand-alone project “The cultural history of Uddiyana 4th to 8th century CE” at the Numismatic Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She is the director of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan since 2004 and a member of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan since 1984.


Second Lecture | Buddhism and the Sakas: Nomads of Central Asia in Greek, Persian, Indian, and Chinese Sources

Second speaker: Prof. Meiji Yamada

A nomad group called Sakai or Scythai in 5th century BCE Greek sources, and Saka in Persian sources, as well as Sak in 2nd century BCE Chinese sources, appeared in the Indian subcontinent after the 2nd century BCE, and played a central role in the spread of Buddhism. They probably introduced a sort of non-doctrinal Buddhism  to Southern China. Some strange Buddha images are found in Chinese graves along the Yangtze River from the 2nd to the 4th centuries. It seems that the Sakas introduced these Buddha images to Southern China.  Their presence in China however appears in few written historical accounts. Using these accounts along with archaeological sources, Prof. Yamada will try to trace their movements in Central Asia, India and China.

Meiji Yamada is Professor Emeritus of Ryukoku University, Kyoto, and Visiting Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies at Leiden University. He was lecturer in Buddhism at Nalanda Pali Institute (1967-1969), later a member of the Kyoto University Archeological Research team in Afghanistan, excavating at Tepe Skandar (1970-1978), and more recently member of the Ryukoku University Central Asian Exploration team, researching ancient sites in Afghanistan, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey (2005-2010).




Erasmus University Conference Buddhism & Economics| June 20, 2012

A historical perspective on Buddhism and Economics

Speaker: Berthe Jansen
Time: 14.00 - 17.30
Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Woudestein Campus, Senaats-zaal A-building

See more information...




Vienna Department of Art History Seminar | Tuesday 19 June

Dynastic ideology and the development
of the Bodhisattva path

Speaker: Vincent Tournier
Time: 18.00
Venue: Seminar room 1, Department of Art History, University Campus Vienna

The lecture will retrace the formation of Buddha lineages in the textual family of the
Bahubuddhaka sūtras, whose importance for the formation of the Bodhisattva doctrine has been so far neglected. It will show in particular how the conception of the succession of Buddhas over time and the progress of the Bodhisattva towards Buddhahood were influenced by royal ideology. This is also suggested by the way Buddha lineages and royal lineages are intertwined in a text such as the Mahāvastu in order to create a massive historical narrative stressing the purity of Sakyamuni’s spiritual and temporal pedigrees.




Buddhism and Social Justice Seminar| Friday 15 June

The Limits of Compassion: Reflections on the ethics of inequality in Bodhicaryāvatāra chapters 6 & 8

Speaker: Professor Luis O. Gómez
Time: 11.00 - 13.00
Venue: Room 1.48, Lipsius Building, Leiden

Read at the level of "teachings" or "doctrines," the Bodhicaryāvatāra defends apparently modern notions of equality. This reading of the text, however, encounters problems when we consider the way the text locates itself between social class and gender as figures of impurity and bondage and philosophical ideas about conventional and absolute truth. In the end we are left wondering what is the accepted social ideal behind the philosophical flourish.

Luis O. Gómez has taught at the universities of Puerto Rico, Washington (Seattle), Michigan (Ann Arbor), Stanford, Ōtani (Kyoto), Hamburg, and at El Colegio de México. He received his Ph.D. in Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale University, and his Ph.D. In Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan. His research work focuses on canonical Buddhist texts, especially Mahāyāna Sūtras, on the philosophy of the so called medieval period of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India, as well as the origins of Zen (Chan) Buddhism in China and Tibet.




Lecture South Asian and Tibetan Studies | Thursday 31 May

On the Indian Literary Genres of Female Authorship: Sādhana, Stotra, Vidhi, Upadeśa, Pañjika, Siddhi,
and Paddhati

Speaker: Gonda Fellow Dr. Ulrich Timme Kragh
Time: 15.00 (we start on time: no Leidse kwartiertje!)
Venue: Lipsius Building room 130, Leiden University Campus

Female-authored texts are very rare in Indian Buddhism. Though there are numerous mentions of women in epigraphs as well as texts, there is only a single known work of explicit female authorship in the Indian Śrāvakayāna and Mahāyāna Buddhist traditions, namely the Pāli poetry-anthology Therīgāthā. Yet, in the eighth to eleventh centuries a number of female masters appeared in the Buddhist Tantric tradition, fourteen of whom composed works that are of explicit female authorship. Nonetheless, the authorships of Tantric literature generally remain highly underresearched and questions of authenticity abound. Some scholars have argued that women played no active role in Tantric Buddhism whatsoever or that women could not compose texts in certain genres that belonged to the male domain. Hence, the present lecture will examine the genres in which female Tantric masters are thought to have written in order to consider the question of the authenticity of female authorship.



 

IIAS Lecture

Prof Vincent Eltschinger | Carrying the Load. Philological and Doctrinal Remarks on the Bharaharasutra

 
Date: Friday 25 November 2011
Time: 16.00-17.30 hrs.
Venue: IIAS, Conference Room, Rapenburg 59, 2311 GJ Leiden

 
A controversy over the pudgala or 'person' raged among Indian Buddhists for more than a millenium. Their polemics were at least as much a matter of canonical exegesis as of reasoning and argument, for the 'mainstream' Buddhist doctors had to account for - and "explain away" - the numerous places in scripture where the Buddha speaks of the 'person'. The Bharaharasutra or sutra on the bearer of the burden was one of the scriptures most frequently quoted and discussed in this connection. This lecture is aimed at presenting this sutra and providing an overview of the doctrinal and argumentative uses that were made of it in the context of the energetic debates about the status of the 'person'.

Vincent Eltschinger, Research Fellow in the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia in the Austrian Academy of Sciences Vienna, is Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at Leiden University.

For more information, please contact Ms. Sandra van der Horst, a.e.l.van.der.horst@iias.nl


The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) is a postdoctoral research centre based in Leiden and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Our main objective is to encourage the interdisciplinary and comparative study of Asia and to promote national and international cooperation in the field. The institute focuses on the human and social sciences and on their interaction with other sciences.




IIAS Lecture

Prof Vincent Eltschinger | Carrying the Load. Philological and Doctrinal Remarks on the Bharaharasutra

 
Date: Friday 25 November 2011
Time: 16.00-17.30 hrs.
Venue: IIAS, Conference Room, Rapenburg 59, 2311 GJ Leiden

 
A controversy over the pudgala or 'person' raged among Indian Buddhists for more than a millenium. Their polemics were at least as much a matter of canonical exegesis as of reasoning and argument, for the 'mainstream' Buddhist doctors had to account for - and "explain away" - the numerous places in scripture where the Buddha speaks of the 'person'. The Bharaharasutra or sutra on the bearer of the burden was one of the scriptures most frequently quoted and discussed in this connection. This lecture is aimed at presenting this sutra and providing an overview of the doctrinal and argumentative uses that were made of it in the context of the energetic debates about the status of the 'person'.

Vincent Eltschinger, Research Fellow in the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia in the Austrian Academy of Sciences Vienna, is Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at Leiden University.

For more information, please contact Ms. Sandra van der Horst, a.e.l.van.der.horst@iias.nl


The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) is a postdoctoral research centre based in Leiden and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Our main objective is to encourage the interdisciplinary and comparative study of Asia and to promote national and international cooperation in the field. The institute focuses on the human and social sciences and on their interaction with other sciences.



Fall 2011 Leiden University


Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies

Dr Vincent Eltschinger

Research Fellow
Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia
Austrian Academy of Sciences Vienna

Lecture and Seminar series on Buddhist Studies

Dr Eltschinger will offer two courses, a series of lectures accessible to all interested persons, and a reading seminar, participation in which assumes knowledge of Sanskrit and/or Tibetan language. During his stay in Leiden in the Fall term of 2011, Dr Eltschinger will also offer a public lecture details of which will be announced later. All presentations will be in English.

See the Online Study Guide information here



Lecture series: “Apologetic Dimensions of Late Indian Buddhist Philosophy”

The lectures consider the broad historical context of the rise of the so-called Buddhist epistemological tradition, and then turn to selected topics, including: scriptural authority; apologetics proper; the heart of the system (particularly the doctines of apoha and the two truths); the proofs of momentariness, selflessness and rebirth; the path (compassion and wisdom, karunā and prajñā); the nature of buddhas (omniscience, yogic perception), and others. 

When: Every Tuesday evening from 17.00-19.00
Dates: Begins 6 September 2011 through 30 November (except 26 October, during reading week)
Venue: LIPSIUS Building Room 308, Leiden University
No prior knowledge necessary




Reading seminar: “Selected passages from Śāntaraksita’s and Kamalaśīla’s critique of the Self (ātman) in the Tattvasangraha (pañjikā)

The reading seminar will deal with “Selected passages from Śāntaraksita’s and Kamalaśīla’s critique of the Self (ātman) in the Tattvasangraha(pañjikā), chapter 7.” This material constitutes a critique of the (non-)Buddhists’ versions of the Self (especially against the Nyāya, Vaiśesika and Sāmmitīyas). Participants will closely read the original text in Sanskrit and/or Tibetan, under the guidance of the instructor. 

When: every Wednesday evening from 17.00-19.00
Dates: Begins 7 September 2011 through 1 December (except 27 October, during reading week).
Venue: LIPSIUS Building Room 030, Leiden University
Participants must have reading knowledge of Sanskrit and/or Tibetan 



Studium Generale Lecture Series: Social Justice. Just How?

Wednesday 14th of September 2011
Pieter Pekelharing, Lecturer in Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam.
Social Justice Beyond Borders?


Wednesday 21st of September 2011

Rutger Claassen, Assistant Professor of Political Philosophy, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University.
Justice and the Market


Wednesday 28th of September 2011

A.G. Castermans, Faculty of Law, University of Leiden.
Social Justice in Practice (to be confirmed)


Wednesday 12th of October 2011

Jack Vromen, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, EIPE, Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The Evolution of Social Justice

Wednesday 26th of October 2011

Eric van Dijk, Professor of Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Leiden University.
Are We Really Fair? True Fairness Versus Instrumental Fairness

Time and Place

19.30 uur tot 21.00 uur
Room 003, Lipsius building (1175), Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden

Entrance is free!

Visit the Studium Generale Website




Presenting Tibet: Celebrating the Contributions of E. Gene Smith to Tibetan Studies

1 July 2011 | 13:00 – 18:00 hrs | Leiden, the Netherlands
Venue: Gravensteen (room 111), Pieterskerkhof 6, Leiden

A half-day of presentations and discussion, followed by the formal ceremony of bestowal of the (posthumous) Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) on E. Gene Smith.

Information and Registration
For questions or registration, contact Ms Martina van den Haak at M.C.van.den.Haak@iias.nl



Short presentations followed by discussion:

13.00   - 13.05
Welcome by Prof. Jonathan A. Silk (Leiden University Institute for Area Studies)

13.05   - 13.50
Dr. Henk Blezer (Leiden University Institute for Area Studies)
Where to Look for the Origins of Zhang zhung-related Scripts

As stories go, in the good old days of Bon, larger or smaller parts of what we now call Tibet outshone the Yar lung dynasty and long-lived masters and scholars in Zhang zhung wrote Bon lore in their own languages, in sMar chen/chung scripts. Bon writ supposedly also existed the sPungs chen/chung script varieties, said to derive from Ta zig, somehow, which is generally placed beyond the borders of Western Tibet. So far the samples that we have in hand for the mentioned scripts are no more than a few centuries old, at most. Where did these scripts come from and when did they first evolve? Can we tell at all?


13.50 - 14.35
Prof. Leonard van der Kuijp (Harvard University, USA)
A Tibetan-Buddhist - Protestant-Christian Encounter near Xining, Qinghai Province, in 1890

The Tibetan tradition knows of very few Buddhist-Protestant Christian encounters. One of these took place near Xining, Qinghai Province, in the beginning of 1890. A memorandum of the conversations that ensued was written down by the Tibetan who participated in the dialogue, and this document sheds interesting light on what his impression of the kind of Protestant Christian theology that was communicated to him by his British Counterpart.


14.35 - 15.00
Coffee/Tea break

15.00 - 15.45
Prof. Charles Ramble (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, France)
The Origins of Tibetan Autobiography

Contrary to the claims of certain authors, autobiography is not a recent phenomenon that, as Carl Gusdorf puts it, merely “expresses a concern peculiar to Western man”. Janet Gyatso reminds us that the genre emerged in Tibet as early as the twelfth century, and has continued to be one of the most popular forms of literature among Tibetans down to the present day. Ostensibly, the purpose of autobiography is to convey Buddhist ideals through the example of a life well lived. However, many instances of such writing feature sentiments that are uncomfortably un-Buddhist, a fact that has attracted the opprobrium of Tibetan and Western commentators alike. This paper will argue that it is precisely this “un-Buddhist” component that not only explains the early popularity of autobiography in Tibet, but constitutes one of the main sources of the genre.


15.45 - 16.30
Prof. Cristina Scherrer-Schaub (University of Lausanne and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, France)
Places and writings (waiting) to be discovered: Tibet in the epoch of Paul Pelliot (1878-1945)

In 1905 Paul Pelliot is officially put in charge of the French archæological mission in Eastern Turkestan, with the scope of exploring the region of Eastern Turkestan («Chinese Turkestan»), the focus of political, scientific, cultural, and economic interests from the part of the then nearby Empires, and their political Allies.
Following the northern route of the Tarim Basin, Pelliot will have several irons in the fire: topographic(al )and orographic(al) survey, observation of animal life and flora, survey of archaeological monuments and sites. Essentially oriented towards historical geography and phonology, Paul Pelliot, a gifted polyglott and polymath, sent to France, among others, a collection of Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts that where influential in the subsequent rise of Asian Studies.
The intriguing and fascinating reports of this epoch are well-known, and the kiplingian notion of Great Game has been thoroughly exploited. What is less known is the equally intricated and amazing intellectual history of Tibetology that seemingly, at this time, lays the foundation of the main axes of research, and intentions whose momentum is still perceptible nowadays.


16.30 - 17.15
Dr. Peter Verhagen (Leiden University Institute for Area Studies)
Encyclopedic Knowledge in Tibet's Traditions: Si-tu Chos-kyi-'byung-gnas (1699?-1774) and E. Gene Smith

In this paper I want to offer a brief comparison between the breadth and depth of expertise of (soon to be) Dr. Gene Smith and of a renowned 18th-century polymath from Eastern Tibet, Si-tu Chos-kyi-'byung-gnas (1700-1774).

Awarding of the Degree

17.30
Formal bestowal of the doctoral degree
(Senaatskamer of the Academy Building, Rapenburg 73, Leiden)




Studium Generale "Tibet, anders bezien" Seminar

Berthe Jansen | De verbeelding van Tibet | donderdag 19 Mei 2011

Tibet is een land dat al eeuwenlang tot de verbeelding spreekt. Het feit dat Tibet van oudsher beperkt toegankelijk was (en is) heeft bijgedragen aan de mythevorming rond het land. In de media en de materiële cultuur is Tibet door de jaren heen op verschillend wijzen geportretteerd. Soms werd en wordt Tibet gedemoniseerd, maar Tibet wordt misschien nog vaker afgeschilderd als een Shangrila, een utopie waar werkelijke spiritualiteit nog niet plaats heeft gemaakt voor materialisme. In deze lezing wordt aan de hand van voorbeelden uit populaire media en de kunst getoond wat voor verschillende soorten beeldvorming van Tibet er bestaan en wat de achtergronden zijn voor die beeldvorming. In het tweede deel van de lezing wordt getracht de vraag te beantwoorden wat de (mogelijke) consequenties hiervan zijn voor het Tibetaanse volk, de situatie in Tibet en voor internationale betrekkingen.

No admission fee
Language: Dutch
Date: Thursday May 19th
Time: 19.30 to 21.00
Venue: Room 011, Lipsiusgebouw (1175), Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden

More information on the Studium Generale Series about Tibet



Seminar at Buddhist Festival "Boeddhistisch Reveil"

Jonathan Silk | On the Study of Buddhism | Sunday May 29th 2011


Language: English
Date: Sunday May 29th
Time: 14.00
Venue: HORTUS BOTANICUS, Rapenburg 73 Leiden
Entrance fee: € 6.00
Folder discount: € 4.00
Museum card: Free

More information on the Buddhist Festival and Zen Center Suiren-Ji

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