East Asian Buddhist Worldmaking

East Asian Buddhist Worldmaking

August 14–16, 2021 | ONLINE, in collaboration with Harvard FAS CAMLab

International Conference

Panelists Abstracts Schedule Videos

Global networks and technological changes are fast reshaping or renewing our sense of the world. While emerging global orders and competing world-systems prompt some reckoning, we also sense their precedents and intimations in Buddhist traditions of worldmaking. Indra’s Net–the universal mirroring of mutually reflective entities–somewhat anticipates our 21st century reality of an increasingly networked transnational world. Harboring a chiliocosm in an act of thought heralds the emerging world models inflected by the quantum visions. A deep reckoning with the Buddhist world-building tradition would help clarify our present situation. In the meantime, as the master narrative of worldmaking–from the Ptolemaic universe of divine creation to post-Copernican world of empirical materialism and literalism–drawn from the Western experience is both hardening and contested, the story of Buddhist worldmaking in East Asia is yet to take root. The successive phases (from the early-medieval “Buddhist Conquest” to modern utopian imaginings of new cosmos) and the variety of models (e.g., the Jambudvīpa continent that eroded the time-honored center-periphery worldview, the simultaneity of the Buddha Lands of “ten directions,” the relativistic spacetime of a chiliocosm compressed into a mustard seed and tossed into space, the oceanic totalities of the “Flower Ornament” world, etc.) all call for a comprehensive stock-taking with the hope of seeing these moving parts cohering into a big-picture whole.

This international conference therefore calls for papers that address any aspects of East Asian Buddhist worldmaking in any time periods. The conference is also disciplinarily inclusive. It welcomes submission of papers from different disciplines and fields. As part of FROGBEAR’s commitment to reducing inequalities in the field, submissions from female scholars are particularly encouraged.

All presentations will be made online, through Zoom.

The conference organizers will collect all the papers in English, plus the English translations of major papers written in non-English languages to produce a conference volume in English. Publication of a Chinese volume is also planned. It will include the Chinese versions for select non-Chinese papers, in addition to those papers originally presented in Chinese. Only scholars who are confident in finishing their draft papers by August 1, 2021 and submitting publishable papers by the end of 2021 are encouraged to apply.

Please email proposals and CVs frogbear.project@ubc.ca by May 15, 2021.

This session is planned as a component of the annual intensive program on Buddhism, administered by the FROGBEAR project, sponsored by the Glorisun Global Network for Buddhist Studies, and hosted by Harvard FAS CAMLab this year. Details for the program are available here: https://glorisunglobalnetwork.org/2021-international-intensive-program-on-buddhism-with-harvard-university/