When the Himalayas Encounter the Alps – Abstracts

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  1. APP, Urs, Independent
    The Zen of Theosophy: Helena P. Blavatsky’s Reception of Chinese Buddhism


  2. BABA, Norihisa, University of Tokyo
    馬場 紀寿, 日本東京大學
    Shaku Sōen and the Pāli Text Society


  3. BARRETT, T. H., SOAS, University of London
    Tao and Zen in early Twentieth-century Britain

    In April 2024 I was asked to provide a short account of the Daode jing in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain to complement a workshop concerning the influence of Daoist texts in Germany at that time.  I was not surprised to discover that several translations (or perhaps better, representations) of the Daode jing during this period were strongly influenced by Theosophist ideas, since this is now becoming well known.  But I also noted that those who represented Japanese or pan-Asian thought in English also made frequent reference to Daoist texts and sought to discover why this might be.  One longer term outcome of this association seems to have been that in the mid-twentieth century Anglophone world at least Zen and Daoist classics were frequently both mentioned by the same writers.

  4. ELLGUTH, Richard, Free University of Berlin
    From Dharma Talk to Religious Sentiment: Chinese Buddhist Encounters with Religious Psychology, 1912-1949

    In my paper, I want to reflect on a particular topic that was discussed in Chinese Buddhist journals during the Republican era (1912-1949). In the 1910s, Buddhist writers began to discuss how religions in general – not just Buddhism itself – could be conceptually analyzed. Although premodern Chinese Buddhism provided a vast reservoir of terms and concepts that could be used to distinguish and categorize certain teachings, many Chinese Buddhist intellectuals chose to engage creatively with concepts that originated in Western religious studies and that had entered the Chinese lexicon mainly via Japan since the 1890s. Therefore, reading Buddhist journals such as Haichaoyin 海潮音 and Xiandai fojiao 現代佛教, one can come to the conclusion that the Buddhist language of discourse was increasingly permeated by neologisms from religious studies.

    One particular field of Western religious studies that Chinese Buddhists became interested in was religious psychology. In the 19th century, figures from continental Europe such as Friedrich Schleiermacher and Ludwig Feuerbach caused a paradigm change in religious scholarship by arguing that religion had its origin in individual emotions and personal needs. Engaging approaches of all these Western scholars, Chinese Buddhists started to reformulate Buddhist teachings using concepts like “religious feeling”, “mysticism” or “religious consciousness”. This paper will investigate how Buddhists sought to combine traditional Buddhist concepts concerned with the mind together with approaches of religious psychology. What will be shown is that Buddhists were interested in religious psychology since it created definitions of religion that were not following a “monotheist assumption” but could easily be applied to Buddhism. Furthermore, these approaches offered Buddhism new ways to argue against Christianity.

  5. HALKIAS, Georgios T., University of Hong Kong
    賀祺雅, 香港大學
    The Interplay of European and Asian Cultures: Investigating the Development of Graeco-Buddhist Interactions

    This presentation will explore the intricate interdependencies that enabled transcultural communication between East and West, focusing on the interactions between Hellenistic and Buddhist cultures. Specifically, I will survey the historical development of these encounters as a dynamic continuum comprised of interconnected components, including trade routes, political developments, migration, religious practices, linguistic exchanges, artistic traditions, and philosophical ideologies. By recognizing the interrelatedness and interdependence of these elements, we may gain valuable insights into the complex network of interactions that fostered the emergence of the phenomenon known as “Greco-Buddhism.”  This term encapsulates a nuanced development resulting from the dynamic process of communication between individual cultures and their contact zones leading to the emergence of a rich and hybridized cultural landscape. Through this examination, we will deepen our understanding of the unique conditions that facilitated these historical encounters, shedding light on the cultural significance of transcultural exchanges while challenging an understanding of Hellenism and Buddhism as single clearly-defined entities.

  6. HARRIS, Elizabeth J., University of Birmingham
    William Knighton (d. 1900): One of the first proponents of Buddhist modernism


  7. HOU Xiaoming, UC Berkeley
    侯笑明, 加州大學柏克萊分校
    Circulation of Knowledge and Polyglot Reconstruction: the Sutra of 42 Chapters

    This talk takes the successive French translations of the Sutra of 42 Chapters as a specimen to reflect upon the circulation of knowledge and the polyglot background in constructing Buddhism and Asian studies as disciplines. In the short period from the 18th to the 19th centuries, this sutra, traditionally reputed to be the “first sutra” introduced in China, became the object of fascination of francophone orientalists with the most diverse linguistic expertise: Chinese, Mongolian, Manchu, and Tibetan. Their scholastic work was made possible through different reference works in Asian languages, especially a quadrilingual print edition of the sutra itself, copies of which were readily available in different European libraries at the time. This talk will trace the voyage of this text and explore how it was brought into new lives in the hands of the most trained scholars at the time.

  8. HU Xiaodan, Fudan
    胡曉丹, 復旦大學
    ‘Buddha’ in Manichaean terminology, a comparative study on Middle Iranian and Chinese texts


  9. JANSEN, Berthe, Leiden
    When the Lowlands met the Snowlands: A Dutch Theosophist (?) on Himalayan Buddhism


  10. JI Zhe, Inalco
    汲喆, 法國國立東方語言與文明學院
    The disciplinarization of French studies on Chinese Buddhism: History and epistemology


  11. KALOYANIDES, Alexendra, UNC Charlotte
    Burmese Buddhist Monopolies and Eurasian Trade


  12. KIM, Kyong-Kon, University of Strasbourg
    Eugène Burnouf and Buddhist Studies in France in the middle of the 19th century

    As the philological and historical approach to Buddhism undertaken by Eugène Burnouf (1801-1852), Professor of Sanskrit Literature and Language at the Collège de France, is acknowledged as one of the major factors in the development of Buddhology in France and Europe, it is worth revisiting his research method, as for example, with a case study on the notion of arhat, which contributed to his historical comprehension about the propagation of Buddhism in Asia.

  13. KING, Matthew, UC Riverside
    Unmaking ‘Buddhist Asia’ at the Margins: Writing: Anti-Field History Between Qing Inner Asia and the Orientalist Academy


  14. KOZYRA, Agnieszka, University of Washington
    Dialoque of Buddhist and Christian worldview in Nishida Kitaro’s philosophy


  15. LANDRY, Nelson, Hamburg
    藍山, 漢堡大學
    The Miraculous in Buddhism: Western Misconceptions from “Original Buddhism” to the Übermensch

    Since its “academic” reception in the West, “Buddhism” has occupied a special place in the imaginaire of a small subset of the educated elite. It was often cast as a rational religion-qua-philosophy founded long ago by a philosopher sage in a distant land. For instance, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who only had a basic understanding of Buddhist philosophical concepts, presented the Buddha as an exemplar. He noted that the teachings of the Buddha were still relevant because they were not mired down by the corruption of a Church, as was the case according to Schopenhauer with the Christian Church corrupting the teachings of Jesus. In this post-Enlightenment era, intellectuals across Western Europe projected their rationalist ideals upon a sagely—and exotic—South Asian figure. When scholars such as T.W. Rhys Davids studied the sources they had at hand, they were uncomfortable with the vernacular elements that appeared in the scriptures: miracle stories, descriptions of relic cults and idol worship. These constituted the same religious and institutional “corruptions” that bothered Schopenhauer. The miraculous elements did not fit into the desired narrative and so an “original” Buddhism was fabricated, re-packaged, and presented to the occidental world as the real Buddhism that Siddhartha Gautama preached—i.e. a rational philosophy bereft of all vernacular religious elements. The miraculous elements in Buddhist literature were the extraneous details that distracted the seeker from the truth.

    This talk looks to delve into the history in Occidental academia of how the ‘miraculous’ and the ‘supernatural’ were interpreted when studying the ‘orient’, focusing on South and East Asian Buddhism. Indeed, the ‘miraculous’ and the ‘supernatural’ are two terms that have long occupied theologians, historians, as well as scholars in the interdisciplinary field of religious studies. The French historian Jacques Le Goff claimed that the term ‘miracle’ in particular had been co-opted by the medieval Christian church in Europe to distinguish proper acts of God from ‘magic’—Satan’s trickery—and ‘marvels’—those unusual events issuing from natural causes that resist explanation. On the one hand, this is a survey of Western academia on the miraculous in the East—in this case, India and China. On the other hand, this is a discussion on the relevance of the term “miracle” as an etic concept describing similar phenomena in different contexts. Because of the theistic connotations associated to the term, scholars of South and East Asian religions have debated at length about using words such as ‘miracle’ to describe anomalous phenomena in non-Christian and non-theistic traditions. This talk will cover this ongoing academic discourse and elaborate on the semantic issues inherent to the translation of concepts not only in other cultures, but also from different times and places.

  16. LI Ling, Sichuan University
    李翎, 四川大學





  17. LI Xuetao, Beijing Foreign Studies University
    李雪濤, 北京外國語大學
    諾伯爾(Johannes Nobel, 1887-1960)及其鳩摩羅什傳德文譯本(1927)研究
    A Study of Johannes Nobel (1887-1960) and His German Translation of Kumārajīva’s Biography (1927)


  18. LIN Chia-Wei, Université de Lausanne
    The Buddha’s Journey to the West– The textual traditions of Barlaam and Josaphat from a linguistic perspective

    Barlaam and Josaphat (henceforth BJ) is the epitome of pre-modern transcultural, interreligious, cross-linguistic phenomena that took place on the Eurasian continent and beyond. BJ is a collection of the jātaka stories framed with the Buddha’s biography that has circulated widely in the medieval Middle East and Europe. Parallels of the stories can be found in Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita, Lalitavistara, Mahāvastu, and the Jātaka tales of various Buddhist traditions. BJ was translated from Indic first into Manichaean Middle Persian (now lost), which was later translated into Arabic (Kitāb Bilawhar wa-Būd̠āsaf, circa 8th cent.), and then from Arabic into Georgian (Balavariani and Sibrʒne Balahvarisi ‘Wisdom of Balahvar’), and from Georgian into Greek (Historia Barlaam et Ioasaph, ca. 10th cent.). Traces of BJ in Central Asia, attested in Manichaean Persian fragments and Old Uyghur fragments, were also discovered by the German Turfan Expeditions.

    When BJ was introduced to the Islamic and Christian world, it enjoyed great literary success and popularity. From the Arabic version it was translated into Hebrew, Persian, Judeo-Persian, Ge’ez. From the Greek version it was translated into Old Church Slavonic and Latin and then into many medieval European vernaculars: Old French, Old Catalan, Old High German, Old English, Old Norse, etc. BJ gained so much popularity in the Christian world that both St. Barlaam and St. Josaphat were incorporated into the liturgical calendar of Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

    When Jesuit missionaries arrived in China and Japan in the 16th century, they brought the story of BJ along and translated these into Chinese (Shèng rùo sā fǎ shǐ mò 聖若撒法始末, 1645CE) and Japanese (in Sanctos no gosagueo no uchi nuqigaqi, 1591CE), creating cultural “doublets” of the Buddha’s biography in Asia: a medieval Buddhist version from India and a Christian retelling in the early modern era.

    This paper proposes to examine the transmission of BJ not only as an interreligious and cross-cultural encountering, as the text went through the transformation of Manichaeanism, Islam, and Christianity in the process of transmission and different elements from Arabic literature (e.g. Kalīla wa-Dimna), Biblical quotes, Christian literature (e.g. Apology of Aristides) are added, but also as a global event of language contact. Translating the BJ is a complicated linguistic event, as different language families (Semitic, Kartvelian, Indo-European, Sinitic, Japonic) were involved in the process of transmission.

    The goal of the paper is twofold: This paper will showcase how translations of BJ bear philological and linguistic significance to their native traditions. For instance, Georgian Balavariani is the rare witness of Georgian translation into Greek, rather than the more common direction from Greek into Georgian; the Japanese version, written in Latin alphabet, contributes to the study of historical phonology of Early Modern Japanese. This paper will examine the translation strategies of BJ and demonstrate how Buddhist proper names (e.g. from Skt. Bodhisattva to Lat. Josaphat), techcnial terms (e.g. from Skt. bodhi to Georg. č̣ešmariṭeba ‘truth’), and phraseology are linguistically and cultural transformed in the process of transmission.

  19. LIU Yi, Capital Normal University
    劉屹, 首都師範大學
    The Roads from Khotan to Gandhara: A Study Focused on the Biography of Sengbiao





    The Mingseng Zhuan Chao 名僧传抄which partly copied in Japan contains valuable materials about Chinese monks traveling westward during the 4th to 6th centuries. Some of them is not recorded in Chusanzangjiji 出三藏记集 and Gaoseng Zhuan高僧传. Among them, the “Biography of Sengbiao” 《僧表传》mentions:

    Sengbiao wanted to visit Jibin 罽宾where reserved the Buddha’s Bowl. When he reached at Khotan, the route to Jibin was blocked. The king of Khotan acknowledged Sengbiao’s determination, presented him with a replica of the Buddha’s bowl. Sengbiao gave up the plan to go westward to Jibin, and returned back to Liangzhou.

    The text mentions “the route to Jibin was blocked”, traditionally interpreted as due to the invasions from the Hephthalites, disrupting Sengbiao’s plans to travel from the Western Regions to Jibin to worship the Buddha’s bowl. However, conflicts could have subsided quickly, and there was no need for Sengbiao to abandon his plans to travel west. Combining the deeds and routes of Chinese monks seeking the Dharma from the 4th to 6th centuries, there were mainly two routes Sengbiao could have taken from Khotan to Jibin: one through the Wakhan Corridor, and the other along the Indus Valley. The so-called “route to Jibin was blocked” should not refer to warfare but to a significant earthquake in the Pamir Mountains area that connected to the Indus Valley, causing the roads to be impassable and delaying restoration for a short period. This led Sengbiao to completely abandon his plans to travel west.

    This paper will also explore where Jibin referred to at that time, the normal traffic routes between the Western Regions and Jibin before the “blockage”, why so many monks chose the route through the Indus Valley, and how long it took for the routes to be restored after the “blockage”. This aims to apply the records left by monks seeking the Dharma to specific routes, thus providing a clear and specific geographical concept of Buddhist exchanges on both sides of the Hindukush during this period.

  20. NI Nan, SOAS, University of London
    Title: Dreams of Health of Wealth: The Multi-Lingual Transmission of Amoghapāśa- Hṛdaya Dhāraṇī on the margins of Middle-Period China

    Dhāraṇī scriptures constitute a significant portion of Buddhist literature. The tradition of chanting dhāraṇī is rooted in Vedic tradition. It was introduced in China around late fourth century, and gradually became an important practice for both monastic and secular Buddhist training not only in China, but also in other regions like Tibet, Japan and Korea. The Amoghapāśa-hṛdaya Dhāraṇī has been one of the most popular texts for Esoteric Buddhists in Middle Period China, translated into various languages including Chinese, Tibetan, Sogdian and Tangut. While some fragments in Sanskrit were found to be preserved by libraries, most of the texts were excavated in Dunhuang and Ningxia, both cities are located in present Northwest China. The earliest Chinese version was translated in 587 A. D.. And previous scholarly treatment has managed to date the time of collating the Tangut version to early 14th century. Textual evidence has revealed an approximate 800-year worship of the Buddhist deity-Amoghapāśa on the margins of Middle period China, suggesting vibrant religious communications between neighbouring civilisations. This paper is going to provide a thorough philological study of the multi-lingual dhāraṇī based on etymological research and textual comparisons, and thus to elucidate the textual transmission between various dhāraṇī traditions. Moreover, it attempts to observe both similarities and differences concerning the styles of translating Buddhist literature in varied cultural contexts. Through the textual approach towards these manuscripts, this paper aims to dig into the historical background of how these dhāraṇī texts in different languages were produced, practised and valued by esoteric Buddhists of different cultural identities. With reference to related historical records and excavated materials, this paper is going to elucidate the function and significance of the Amoghapāśa-hṛdaya dhāraṇī in the context of religious life of Buddhists on the margins of Middle-Period China.

    By collecting all attested manuscripts of Amoghapāśa-hṛdaya Dhāraṇī in various languages, this paper aims to elucidate the textual transmission of this dhāraṇī between Han Chinese and its neighbouring civilisations. It also provides a philological approach to study the worship of Amoghapāśa in Dunhuang and Ningxia, from approximately 6th century to early 14th century. By introducing “less-known” dhāraṇī traditions which have been relatively neglected in previous scholarly treatment, this paper will offer new information to the current knowledge of Esoteric Buddhist communications on the margins of Middle Period China.

    陀羅尼經咒 是佛教文獻的重要組成部分其中不空羂索心陀羅尼是在中古中國及周邊地區密教佛教徒中最受歡迎的典籍之一,被翻譯成漢語、藏語、粟特語和西夏語等多種語言。除了部分梵文殘卷目前藏於劍橋大學圖書館等地該陀羅尼的多個語言版本都出土自現中國西北部的敦煌和寧夏。 該文本最早的中文翻譯可追溯至公元587年。而於寧夏出土的西夏文本 ,學界推定其出版時間約為十四世紀初。現存文本證據揭示了中古中國及周邊地區對不空羂索觀音的信仰已有約八百年歷史,期間不同文明相互的宗教與文化交流頻繁而活躍。本文將通過詞源學研究和文本對比等方法對 該陀羅尼的多語言版本進行深入全面的討論,從而闡明不同地區不空羂索心陀羅尼的文本流變。此外,本文還將基於現有文本材料討論不同文化背景下佛教文獻翻譯的風格異同。通過對這些手稿進行文本分析,本文旨在挖掘不同文化語境下佛教徒抄寫、實踐和尊崇該陀羅尼經咒的歷史背景 並參考相關史料和出土文物,闡釋不空羂索心陀羅尼在中古中國及周邊地區佛教徒信仰生活中的作用與意義。

    本文收集了不空羂索心陀羅尼多語言版本的文書,旨在探索該經咒在漢文化及其周邊文明間的文本流變,同時為研究敦煌和寧夏地區從六世紀到十四世紀八百年間的不空羂索觀音崇拜提供了一種文獻學研究途徑 。通過聚焦前人研究中未得到充分重視 的陀羅尼版本,本文將為目前中古中國及周邊地區密教傳播的相關討論提供新的信息與思路。

  21. O’NEAL, Halle, Edinburgh College of Art
    Buddhist Icons on the Move: Connecting the Cultural Histories of Scotland and Asia


  22. PERRONET, Amandine, Inalco
    Teaching Buddhist Studies in Post-Mao Chinese Buddhist Academies: Insights from the Chinese Educational Model and its Engagement with the European Academic Tradition

    Throughout the 20th century, Chinese Buddhist academies (foxueyuan 佛学院), have evolved into elite institutions shaping power dynamics and resource allocation in mainland China. These academies serve as crucial hubs for training politically-approved religious specialists and executives, positioning their graduates to assume influential roles within the Buddhist Association of China (BAC, Zhongguo fojiao xiehui 中国佛教协会) and its affiliates. This institutionalized educational system emphasizes standardized Buddhist studies while seemingly minimizing external influences.

    My research on the Mount Wutai Buddhist Academy for Nuns (Wutaishan nizhong foxueyuan 五台山尼众佛学院) offered insights into modern Buddhist education, and uncovered the nuns’ interest in other educational models. In this paper, I delve into the educational landscape of other academies for Chinese Buddhist nuns, and examine their engagement with the Chinese tradition of Buddhist Studies. Additionally, I investigate the potential dialogue between these academies and the European academic tradition regarding educational methodologies—an area often overlooked despite known exchanges with other Asian countries.

  23. SHULMAN, Eviatar, HUJI
    舒爾曼, 耶路撒冷希伯來大學
    On the understanding of health in early Buddhism


  24. SKRZYŃSKI, Przemysław, Jagiellonian University
    Zen and the Art of Being a Buddhist (behind the Iron Curtain): Politics and the process of shaping the identity of the first Polish Zen Buddhists

    The increased interest in Buddhist practice, developing in the United States and Europe since the 1950s, has also affected Poland and other countries behind the Iron Curtain. Initially limited to the academic community – linguists and philosophers, in the second half of the 1960s, on the wave of fashion and the development of hippie ideas, interest in oriental religions, especially Buddhism, penetrated into artistic and countercultural communities.

    The leader of the pioneer one was Andrzej Urbanowicz – an avant-garde painter and member of the bohemia. In his home-studio, the first zazen meetings were organized, inspired by the instructions from the book “Three Pillars of Zen” by American zen teacher Philip Kapleau. The activities of an informal group of Polish Buddhists, which took the name „The Zen Circle” were the subject of concern for the The Security Service (secret police), one of whose tasks was to investigate churches, religious communities and religious associations.

    The communist authorities of Polish People’s Republic were also concerned about connections with the “representative of the imperialist power”, Philip Kapleau, who, at the community’s invitation, was the first Zen teacher to come to Poland for missionary purposes. Police-political control of Buddhists was based on surveillance of the environment using a network of secret agents operating inside and periodic forms of pressure, such as detentions, searches, and confiscation of illegal writings published by Polish Buddhists.

    In the early 1980s. the authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland changed their mind about the value of Buddhists. The culmination of this process was (without precedent in the history of the countries of the so-called Eastern Bloc) a meeting of the Minister of Office for the Proclamation of Faith (the central body of administration concerning religious confession in the Polish People’s Republic) with Philip Kapleau and entering Polish Buddhists into the official register. In the eyes of political decision-makers, Buddhism began to appear as an “interesting alternative” and even a potential “third way”, which Polish youth maturing in the time of a sharp deterioration of Soviet-American relations (“Second Cold War”) could treat as a counterweight to the two main antagonists of the Polish communist party: the Catholic Church and the growing democratic opposition – the “Solidarity” movement.

    The speech will also discuss the “double game” of the leaders of the already legalized religious community, who strongly maintain the state authorities’ belief in the apolitical nature of the Buddhist faith, while at the same time being engaged in numerous and risky activities of democratic opposition.

    The basic sources on which the presentation will be based will be statements collected during interviews with members of the “The Zen Circle” community, samizdat materials published by them, as well as never before examined documents from the archives collecting materials of the state and police services of the Polish People’s Republic (e.g. The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation and The Józef Piłsudski Institute of America, NY), as well as materials collected during research at Duke University (Philip Kapleau Archive) and at the Rochester Zen Center, NY.

  25. STEPIEN, Rafal K., Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Buddhism and Philosophy in Europe

    What is the state of Buddhism and philosophy in Europe? In my paper I am concerned largely with providing a descriptive account of the place of Buddhism in the conduct of philosophy in Europe, and not with the place of Buddhism in the conduct of European philosophy, whether undertaken within or outside of Europe, and whether undertaken from a historical or conceptual perspective. As such, I initially provide working definitions of key terms and issues so as to clarify the scope of the ensuing inquiry. On this basis, I go on to provide an overview of the place of Buddhism in the conduct of philosophy in Europe today. As it happens, however, this place is a very small one indeed. For if we define philosophy in descriptive terms as that which happens in institutions of philosophy—pre-eminently university philosophy departments—then we are confronted with a notable absence. Indeed, the overwhelming lack of study devoted to Buddhism within institutions in Europe nominally devoted to philosophy would lead us to conclude that Buddhism has practically no philosophy; that there is effectively no such thing as ‘Buddhist philosophy’. This would be a premature—not to say presumptuous—conclusion, for it turns out that a substantial amount of study in Europe is in fact devoted to Buddhist philosophy; it is just that the preponderant bulk of such scholarship is not to be found, institutionally speaking, in philosophy. I summarise this work and, in the final portion of my paper, proffer some general observations regarding the relationship between Buddhism and philosophy in Europe.

  26. SUN Yinggang, Zhejiang
    孫英剛, 浙江大學
    Kāpiśa and Buddhism in Medieval China


  27. TAROCCO, Francesca, Università Ca’ Foscari
    樂羽音, 威尼斯福斯卡里宮大學


  28. TSEPAK, Tenzin, Leiden University
    Faith at the Frontiers: A Dutch Buddhist and Religious Pluralism according to Tibetan Autobiographies

    Tibetans have had a long history of interaction with the Europeans, but very few Tibetans wrote about their encounters. Furthermore, many of the historical narratives were constructed by European travelers, intellectuals, Christian missionaries, colonial officials, and spiritual seekers. This paper will focus on early 20th-century autobiographies, written at the request of Johan Van Manen (1877-1943), that are part of the Van Manen collection at Leiden University and the Worldmuseum in Leiden, to show the roles of Buddhism and other religions in the lives of Van Manen and the Asian men he employed. Away from Tibet and Europe, frontier Himalayan towns like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and colonial metropoles like Calcutta created a unique environment where people from diverse backgrounds interacted and influenced each other’s lives.

    Van Manen, a Dutchman and former theosophist, in his pursuit of Buddhism, ended up in India studying Buddhism and employing Tibetans and Chinese as his tutors, secretaries, and servants. While Van Manen was described in the Tibetan autobiographies as a devout Buddhist, his local associates forayed into other faiths in these frontier towns. Van Manen, Phuntsok Lungtok, Karma Samten Paul, a Tibetan Buddhist who converted to Christianity and received the Christian name Paul, Twan Yang, a Chinese Christian in Kalimpong who briefly converted to Islam, and Trin Chen (Chen Zhicun) all navigated skillfully between different religious traditions (Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity) based on their personal beliefs and experiences as religious and ethnic minorities in the Himalayas and British India. I argue that each of these men approached religion on their own terms and were not confined by the boundaries of one particular faith, but rather embraced the fluidity of religious identity and experiences in their lives.

  29. WANG Jingbo, Hangzhou Normal University
    王晶波, 杭州師範大學


  30. WANG, Eugene, Harvard CamLAB
    汪悅進, 哈佛大學
    Ballard and Mandala

    A neurosurgeon had three months to live. He decided to take his fate in his own hand. He finished building an enigmatic form in the desert, inspired in part by a similar structure inside an empty swimming pool left unfinished by a biologist before him. In the final moment, the neurosurgeon went in and attained a different state of existence. What happened to the neurosurgeon? What is this structure – one that in fact links modern Europe to medieval East Asia?

    The scenario above was dreamed up by J.G. Ballard (1930-2009). Born in wartime Shanghai, Ballard reached his puberty in a Japanese camp near Shanghai. He moved to England after the war and eventually became one of the most inspiring science fiction writers of the twentieth century. While his fiction has attracted worldwide attention, the enigmatic presence of mandalas in his imaginary world is yet to be fully accounted for. For one thing, it runs an uncanny parallel with how mandalas were conceived and used in medieval East Asia about which Ballard knew very little. How and why medieval East Asia and modern Europe could resonate with each other through the same wavelength, i.e., the medium of mandala, is the question to be addressed.

  31. WANG Qian, Zhengzhou University
    王倩, 鄭州大學
    An analysis of the four-armed deities in the Northern Dynasties from the perspective of Eurasia


    The four-armed divinities have attracted significant scholarly attention due to its widespread use in visual arts across Eurasia. However, there is a dearth of comprehensive research on the systematic analysis of these images, with Yan Yaozhong’s essay “Four-armed divinities from India to China” standing out as the most representative contribution in this field. This paper tries to provide an insightful exploration into the origins and cultural context surrounding the emergence of four-armed deities in India and China. Recent archaeological findings in China, such as the discovery of a sarcophagus bed in the tomb of Quqing during the Sui Dynasty, have offered important insights for re-evaluating images of four-armed deities from the Northern Dynasties. By combing images and texts related to four-armed deities across Eurasia during the 5th to 7th centuries, this study aims to analyze their development and evolution within Chinese culture during the Northern Dynasties (including Sui Dynasty). Against a backdrop of multicultural influences encompassing Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and local beliefs prevalent during that time period, intriguing questions arise regarding these four-armed deities’ origins, divine attributes, religious roles, as well as their societal significance within communal use and broader social culture. Preliminary investigations have revealed several interesting clues. Notably, the depictions of four-armed deities during the Northern Dynasties are predominantly associated with people of high rankings: including emperors from Northern Wei Dynasty, members of royal families and Sogdian nobilities. Furthermore, despite their original religious connotations, the placement of these images-whether adorning tomb walls or Buddhist art – consistently conveys protective symbolism against malevolent forces; however, variations between depictions at similar locations suggest that they were intended for exclusive use by a select few elite classes within society.This observation aligns with some points raised by Yan’s article: despite not being considered highly elevated divinities, four-armed deities can be regarded as occupying a prominent position within traditional representations aimed at warding off evil spirits throughout the Northern Dynasties.

  32. ZHAN Ru, Peking University
    湛如, 北京大學


  33. Zhang Xiaogui, Jinan University
    張小貴, 暨南大學
    Suluzhi (蘇魯支): A Chinese Zoroastrian term and its new evidence

    一般認為,中古時期流行的祆教乃源於波斯瑣羅亞斯德教。有關該教創始人的記錄,見於北宋太平興國三年佛僧贊寧所撰《大宋僧史略》。《僧史略》所記表明,火祆教起源於波斯,其創立者被稱為「蘇魯支」。「蘇魯支」是否即為波斯瑣羅亞斯德教先知瑣羅亞斯德?比較古代諸種語文有關瑣羅亞斯德的不同拼寫與音讀,可知漢文「蘇魯支」的語源為粟特文Zrušč 。《僧史略》將蘇魯支事跡與粟特人何祿上奏祆教一事連類而書,或許表明正是何祿向中原王朝的統治者講述了祆教的起源,其中包括先知之名字及門徒傳教事跡。身為粟特人的何祿,一定和他的族人一樣,具備不凡的語言能力。一般來說,祆教祭司在7歲時即開始接受專業訓練,掌握各種儀式及其重要含義,學習編寫經典的藝術,及時向神祈禱,以及關於今生來世的宗教神學,以及複雜的多神信仰等等。何祿既為職業祭司,一定也經受了這些嚴格訓練。眾所周知,祆教具有很強的保守性,其並不熱衷翻譯本教經典,亦不主張向外民族傳教。因此,何祿在向中原王朝上奏本教時,用不著攜帶本教經典,其憑借出色的語言才能和職業素養,當可向朝廷介紹本教的來龍去脈。而其所述,朝廷職官必有所記錄。上揭贊寧所載有關祆教之內容,很可能就是據佚失的相關唐代政書。近年福建霞浦所發現的若干民間宗教文書中有關 「蘇魯(路)支」的信息,尤其是有關其傳教歷程、教義核心的一些關鍵詞,證明霞浦抄本中的祆教內容絕非憑空杜撰,而是有所本的。雖然迄今未見漢譯祆教經典面世,但中古粟特地區卻不乏該教經典流行之痕跡。祆教主要由粟特人傳播而來,熟知本教教義歷史的祭司們一定會帶來本教諸多信息。經過歷代口耳相傳,其中若干信息成為宋代明教創制五佛崇拜的重要依據,後又被霞浦抄本的製作者所採擷。

    It is generally held that Xian Religion (祆教) spreading in medieval China originated from ancient Persian Zoroastrianism. About the prophet Zoroaster of ancient Iran, Chinese Buddhist Zanning 贊寧 called him as Suluzhi 蘇魯支 in his Seng shilue 僧史略 [A Brief of Chinese Buddhist History in the Song Period]. There are various spellings in different languages about this Persian Prophet. It is obviously that Sogdian Zrušč is nearly the same as the reading of Chinese Suluzhi. It is also said that the information about Zoroastrian Prophet in Chinese should be from Sogdian sources. According to Seng shilue, it was He Lu 何祿 who firstly and officially came to the Tang court to introduce Zoroastrian teachings. He Lu was a Sogdian and a professional Zoroastrian priest. He must undergo the rigorous priestly training and know very well about his religion. It is well known that Zoroastrians are not keen to translate their classics into other languages and do missionary work. Even if He Lu did not carry the teaching classics, he can succeed in introducing to Chinese Emperor about Zoroastrianism by virtue of his excellent language ability and professional accomplishment. This is helpful to catch on the speculation which Chinese Suluzhi was transliterated from Sogdian Zrušč. In recent years, some folk religious documents have been discovered in Xiapu in Fujian province, which contain some information about Suluzhi, especially some key words about its missionary history and the core of its teachings. It proves that Zoroastrian contents in the Xiapu manuscripts are not fictionally fabricated, but based on something. Although no ancient Chinese translation of Zoroastrian scripture has appeared so far, there are many traces of the popularity of Zoroastrian classics in Sogdiana in the medieval period. Zoroastrianism was mainly spread by the Sogdians, and priests who are familiar with the history and religious teachings will definitely bring a lot of information about the religion. Passed down orally through the ages, some of the information became an important basis for the worship of the Five Buddhas by the Ming religion in the Song Dynasty, and was later picked up by the writers of the Xiapu manuscripts.