AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 52

[ Interarea/Border-Crossing Sessions, Table of Contents | Panels by World Area Main Menu ]

Session 52: Roundtable: Buddhism and the Medieval Religious Traditions of China/Tibet/Japan.

Organizer: Matthew Kapstein, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, USA

Discussants: Christine Mollier, CNRS, France; Bryan J. Cuevas, Florida State University, USA; Nobumi Iyanaga, Ecole Francaise d Extreme-Orient, Japan; Francois Lachaud, , France; Fabio Rambelli, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA; James Robson, Harvard University, USA

The present Roundtable belongs to a multi-year project of the same title, developed under the aegis of the French Center for Research on the Civilizations of East Asia (www.crcao.fr). The general aims of the project are to study, from a comparative perspective, the interrelationships between Buddhism and medieval Taoism, Shinto, and Bon, the major “indigenous” traditions of the three civilizational spheres with which we are concerned. For, despite pronounced apparent analogies—as well as some important disanalogies—among these three major “indigenous” religious traditions in their historical, ritual and doctrinal relations with Buddhism, the role of Buddhism in their formation has never become the object of sustained research from a comparative perspective. It is here that we hope to break new ground, through a focused dialogue among specialists in Buddhism and the religions of medieval China, Tibet and Japan. Of course, we must emphasize that a part of our problematic concerns the manner in which Buddhism became an “indigenous” religion in each of the three realms being considered, i.e.,the manner in which “indigenous” and “foreign” came to suffuse one another in the religious life of Central and East Asia. In the present Roundtable, our conversation will focus on the authority and authorization of the sacred text, including as “text” scriptures as well as, in a broader sense, ritual corpuses and other established traditions and practices. Besides the border-crossing aspirations of our project, this is truly an international collaboration, bringing together scholars based in North America, Europe and Asia.