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Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon (exhibit)

Dates: March 21, 2011 - April 8, 2011

Location:   Main Library

Contact: Ping Situ


The Chinese Buddhist canon is an organized collection of Buddhist texts translated or written in Chinese. Its main content centers on translated Buddhist works from Indian and Central Asian regions and is supplemented with Buddhist and related texts written in Chinese.

A carefully compiled canon assembles important texts in the Chinese Buddhist tradition and has acquired significant textual and spiritual authority. In Buddhist communities, a whole set of the canon has also been treated as the object of worship and devotion in all aspects of its production and circulation. Because of the complexity of its structure and historical evolution, the formation and transformation of the Chinese Buddhist canon can be considered as a phenomenon with religious, social, and textual significance in Buddhist history.

"Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon" will highlight 15 print copies from the University Libraries' collection. An opening lecture will be held Monday, March 21 from 1:00 p.m - 2:00 p.m. in the Main Library. Additional details about the opening lecture are available here.

Both the lecture and the exhibition are linked to an international conference to be held in Tucson at the end of March, "Spreading Buddha's Words in China." Some 20 experts from the United States, Europe, mainland China and Taiwan will examine the role of Buddhist canons (including digital canons) in the formation and transformation of Buddhist communities. The conference is the first international conference on this topic ever held in the western world and is funded by a grant received by Wu from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

This lecture and exhibition have been organized by the department of East Asian studies, the School of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the College of Humanities, and the University Libraries.