Monday, November 13, 2017

Meet Master Hsing Yun (Xing Yun) 星雲

I was glad to be invited to the 2017 Buddhist University President Forum 佛光山大學校長論壇 and meet Master Hsing Yun (Xing Yun) 星雲 in person. He is a great man and in good health. He came again to see us off when we were about to depart.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Calligraphy by Ōbaku Dokuryū (Duli Xingyi 獨立性易) at Philadelphia Museum of Art

 I came across a piece of calligraphy by Ōbaku Dokuryū  (Duli Xingyi 獨立性易, 1596 - 1672) at Philadelphia Museum of Art. Duli became Yinyuan's 隱元 disciple but never received his dharma transmission. The collection of his works has been published in Taiwan. The museum gives the following cataloging information.

Calligraphy of a Chinese Poem

Ōbaku Dokuryū, Chinese, 1596 - 1672

Made in Japan, Asia
Edo Period (1615-1868)
Late 17th century
Ink on paper; mounted as a hanging scroll
Image: 49 x 20 3/4 inches (124.5 x 52.7 cm) Mount: 70 3/4 x 24 5/8 inches (179.7 x 62.5 cm)
Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art
Object Location:
Currently not on view

Accession Number:
Credit Line:
Bequest of Elizabeth Prior Denis, 2003
Social Tags [?]
poetry [x]

Öbaku Dokuryü was a noted calligrapher and poet in his native China before he emigrated to Japan in 1653 to join the Öbaku Zen temple Mampuki-ji, near Kyoto, Japan. His elegant and flowing calligraphy style strongly influenced his Japanese literati contemporaries.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Chinese-style Chanting of the Heart Sutra by Japanese Obaku monks

When Yinyuan went to Japan in 1654, he also brought the Chinese-style chanting method to Japan which has been preserved in Manpukuji today. We heard the chanting during the summer of 2017. Here is an example of chanting the Heart Sutra in Chinese by Japanese Obaku monks. The Chinese pronunciation can be clearly heard.


Friday, October 20, 2017

A Comprehensive Online Bibliography of Obaku Works 黄檗宗叢書目録

We are grateful to Yōmeiji 永明寺 abbot Ven. Sumitani Ujō's 住谷瓜頂 for making A Comprehensive Online Bibliography of Obaku Works available for us. See 黄檗宗叢書目録 at

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New Book Announcement: Reinventing the Tripitaka: Transformation of the Buddhist Canon in Modern East Asia

I am glad to announce the publication of my new book:

Purchase Link:

The Chinese Buddhist canon is a systematic collection of all translated Buddhist scriptures and related literatures created in East Asia and has been regarded as one of the “three treasures” in Buddhist communities. Despite its undisputed importance in the history of Buddhism, research on this huge collection has remained largely the province of Buddhologists focusing on textual and bibliographical studies. We thus aim to initiate methodological innovations to study the transformation of the canon by situating it in its modern context, characterized by intricate interactions between East and West as well as among countries in East Asia. 
During the modern period the Chinese Buddhist canon has been translated, edited, digitized, and condensed as well as internationalized, contested, and ritualized. The well-known accomplishment of this modern transformation is the compilation of the Taisho Canon during the 1920s. It has become a source of both doctrinal orthodoxy as well as creativity and its significance has greatly increased as Buddhist scholarship and devotionalism has utilized the canon for various ends. However, it is still unclear what led to the creation of the modern editions of the Buddhist canon in East Asia. This volume explores the most significant and interesting developments regarding the Chinese Buddhist canon in modern East Asia including canon formation, textual studies, historical analyses, religious studies, ritual invention, and digital research tools and methods.

Jiang Wu and Greg Wilkinson
“The Reinvention of the Buddhist Tripitaka and the Rise of “Textual Modernity” in Modern East Asia”

Part 1 The Buddhist Canon Encounters the West
Jiang Wu
“Finding the First Chinese Tripitaka in the West: Early European Buddhology, the 1872 Iwakura Mission in Britain, and the Mystery of the Ōbaku Canon in the India Office Library”
Greg Wilkinson and Nicholas J. Frederick
“Inventing Buddhist Bibles in Japan: From Nanjō Bun’yū to Numata Yehan”

Part 2 Use and Utility of Modern Editions and Printings 

Kida Tomoo
“Ōtani Kozui’s Tripitaka Diplomacy in China and the Qing Dragon Canon at Ryūkoku University”
Gregory Adam Scott
“The 1913 Pinjia Canon and the Changing Role of the Buddhist Canon in Modern China”
Richard D. McBride II
“Bearing the Canon on the Crown of the Head: Jeongdae Bulsa and Worship of the Buddhist Canon in Contemporary Korean Buddhism”

Part 3 The Buddhist Canon in the Digital Age

Christian Wittern
“The Digital Tripitaka and the Modern World”
A. Charles Muller, Shimoda Masahiro, and Nagasaki Kiyonori
“The SAT Taishō Text Database: A Brief History”

Fang Guangchang
“Defining the Chinese Buddhist Canon: Its Origin, Periodization, and Future”

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Shunjū 春秋 2017 Special Issue on Obaku Studies

Recently, a special issue on Obaku Studies has been  published in the Japanese magazine Shunjū 春秋 with articles written by authorities in the field, including Tanaka Chisei's 田中智誠 essay on the Obaku studies in and outside Japan. A four-volume collection of Obaku sources is also published by Tokugen Kimura木村得玄.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Arizona Daily Wildcat report on the new Center For Buddhist Studies at the University of Arizona

New Center for Buddhist Studies created to spread and encourage Buddhism research

Published Sep 30, 2017 2:33pm
Updated Sep 30, 2017 2:33pm

By Vanessa Ontiveros

The College of Humanities recently debuted the new Center for Buddhist Studies.

The CBS will focus on fostering research into Buddhism and its effects, both in the past and present.

It will also provide a way to both encourage student research already being done on Buddhism and spread Buddhist ideas to students not yet involved, according to the center’s director, Dr. Jiang Wu.

“We’re very grateful to have the full support of the College of Humanities,” he said. “This is a deliberate, calculated effort to move us forward, the entire college.”

The center aims to change how the humanities are studied, making it a more collaborative field.

“The traditional type of humanities studies ... is just about yourself ... reading books, writing books, publishing papers,” Wu said. “It’s very weird for a group of humanities scholars to advance themselves, set up a center, to create a program to disseminate knowledge.”

The new center takes particular interest in aiding students involved in East Asian Studies. “We service degree programs, such as the Buddhist studies minor program, [and] we provide supervision for students,” Wu said.

The CBS, which boasts a healthy community of graduate students, wants to develop a stronger undergraduate aspect as well.

“For those interested in Buddhism, they can always find many interesting courses, lectures and activities offered by the center,” Nan Ouyang, a graduate assistant at the CBS and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Studies wrote in an email. “For those not [knowledgeable about] Buddhism, the center will open a new window for … them to know better of the diversity of the world.”

With study abroad opportunities available for students, most recently during the summer with trips to China and Bhutan, the center will invite guest speakers. It will also begin giving an annual Outstanding Student Award in Buddhist Studies, featuring a $1,500 prize.

As a non-academic unit, the CBS employs a private funding model through the acquisition of grants. Currently, the center is focused on trying to secure an endowment of five to seven million dollars a year, a figure which Wu feels is highly sustainable.

The Khyentse Foundation proved extremely generous in its contributions to CBS. The foundation already sponsored a Buddhist lecture series, as well as a future project in China for UA students.

“[CBS] offers new avenues for traditional research, including digital technologies. And because of the new Department of Applied humanities … it offers some rather unique opportunities for cross-fertilization of traditional approaches and contemporary ones,” said Dr. Albert Welter, head of the Department of East Asian Studies. The creation of the center comes at a time when Asian nations are among the biggest players on the global stage. China and Japan are the second and third largest economies in the world.

“We’re in the process of seeing how this newfound economic power of Asia is translating into political and cultural influence,” Welter said.

Not only is the Center for Buddhist Studies new to the UA, but it’s also new for the American Southwest. Though a handful of major universities sport similar centers on their campuses, the UA’s center is the first of it’s kind in the region.

Both Wu and Welter expressed excitement over the creation new center and its future.

“We’re going to do something amazing, although it has not yet happened,” Wu said. “This is a study of religion. First you have to believe.”