Seeking Śākyamuni: South Asia in the Formation of Modern Japanese Buddhism
Author Conversations Series, Summer 2020
Speaker and Author: Richard Jaffe, Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Duke University; Director of the Asia Pacific Studies Institute at Duke University
Charles Hallisey, Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures, Harvard Divinity School
James Robson, James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center
Produced by the Harvard University Asia Center
Richard Jaffe is a Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Director of the Asia Pacific Studies Institute at Duke University. He received his Ph.D. in religious studies with a concentration in Buddhist studies from Yale University in 1995. Prof. Jaffe is a specialist in modern Japanese Buddhism. He is the author of Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism (Princeton University Press, 2001) and Seeking Śākyamuni: World Travel and Creation of Modern Japanese Buddhism (University of Chicago Press, 2019). He is also the editor of the Selected Works of D.T. Suzuki (University of California Press), first volume published in 2014 and the author of numerous groundbreaking articles.
Charles Hallisey is the Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures, Harvard Divinity School. He joined the Faculty of Divinity in 2007–08 after teaching at the University of Wisconsin as Associate Professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia and the Religious Studies Program since 2001. Earlier, he taught in the Department of Theology at Loyola University in Chicago, and at Harvard University, where he was John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities in the Committee on the Study of Religion and the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies from 1996 to 2001. His research centers on Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, Pali language and literature, Buddhist ethics, and literature in Buddhist culture. His most recent book is Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women (Harvard University Press, 2015). He is currently working on a book project entitled "Flowers on the Tree of Poetry: The Moral Economy of Literature in Buddhist Sri Lanka."
James Robson is the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center. He is also the Chair of the Regional Studies East Asia M.A. program. Robson received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University in 2002, after spending many years researching in China, Taiwan, and Japan. He specializes in the history of medieval Chinese Buddhism and Daoism and is particularly interested in issues of sacred geography, local religious history, and Chan/Zen Buddhism. He has been engaged in a long-term collaborative research project with the École Française d’Extrême-Orient studying local religious statuary from Hunan province. He is the author of Power of Place: The Religious Landscape of the Southern Sacred Peak [Nanyue 南嶽] in Medieval China (Harvard, 2009), which was awarded the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2010 by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres and the 2010 Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism. Robson is also the author of "Signs of Power: Talismanic Writings in Chinese Buddhism" (History of Religions 48:2), "Faith in Museums: On the Confluence of Museums and Religious Sites in Asia" (PMLA, 2010), and "A Tang Dynasty Chan Mummy [roushen] and a Modern Case of Furta Sacra? Investigating the Contested Bones of Shitou Xiqian." His current research includes a long-term project on the history of the confluence of Buddhist monasteries and mental hospitals in East Asia.