Gongfu and Meditation in Buddhist Practice: A View from the Shaolin Temple


Gongfu and Meditation in Buddhist Practice: A View from the Shaolin Temple

March 19, 2014 / 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm / Add to Google
220 Stephens Hall

Influential temples have long been a major part of the religious and educational landscape in East Asia, but it is only recently that major temples in the People’s Republic of China have begun to receive official sanction, revisit their traditional identities, and adapt to the conditions in contemporary China. One of the Chan temples with the longest history is the Shaolin Temple 少林寺 on Mount Song 嵩山, which has nevertheless had to almost completely rebuild following the Cultural Revolution. As part of this rebuilding, the temple’s integration of Shaolin’s historical connection with gongfu 功夫 practice into Buddhist practice has distinguished it from many other temples. As part of the celebration of its 40th anniversary, Abbot Shi Yongxin 釋永信, who has led Shaolin since 1999, will engage in a panel discussion about gongfu and other practices within Chan disciplines. Mary Evelyn Tucker (Yale Divinity School), an authority on Asian Religions, and Jiang Wu (University of Arizona), an expert on Chan Buddhism in China, will respond to Abbot Shi Yongxin and engage him in dialog on his views about experience and practice in Chan Buddhism, and the roles Buddhism plays in modern China.

• Shi Yongxin, Venerable Abbot of the China Songshan Shaolin Temple

• Mary Evelyn Tucker, Senior Research Scholar, Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies, Yale University

• Jiang Wu, Professor of East Asian Studies, The University of Arizona

• Tanya Storch, Associate Professor of Religion and Classical Studies, University of the Pacific

Moderated by Mark A. Csikszentmihalyi, Professor and Eliaser Chair of International Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Co-Director, Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, UC Berkeley

In English and Chinese with English translation.

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar at Yale University where she teaches in a joint master’s program between the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Divinity School. She is co-founder and co-director with John Grim of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale. Together they organized a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at the Harvard Divinity School. Professor Tucker is the author of Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase (Open Court, 2003) and with John Grim of a new book, Ecology and Religion (Island Press, 2014).

Jiang Wu is an associate professor in Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona (Tucson). He received his Masters degree from Nankai University (1994) and Ph.D. from Harvard University (2002). His research interests include seventeenth-century Chinese Buddhism, especially Chan/Zen Buddhism, the role of Buddhist canons in the formation of East Asian Buddhist culture, and the historical exchanges between Chinese Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism. He has published articles in Asia Major, Journal of East Asian History, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, and Monumenta Serica on a variety of topics. His first book, Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-century China, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008.

Shi Yongxin is the Abbot of the China Songshan Shaolin Temple. Inaugurated in 1999, he is the thirteenth successor after Shi Xingzheng. Ven. Abbot Yongxin is the Vice Chairman of the Buddhist Association of China and the Director of the Overseas Communication Committee of Buddhist Association of China. He has been successively elected as representatives of the Ninth, the Tenth, the Eleventh and the Twelfth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China.

Presented by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) with the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University.