This is a past event. Registration is closed. View other Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai events.

Following the successful second event of the RAS Philosophy Club's series on Mozi, our third event will feature a discussion of philosophical ideas connected to the Chan (Zen) school of Buddhism. Duke Kunshan University professors Ben Van Overmeire and James Miller will host a conversation about why Chan remains one of the pre-eminent representatives of East-Asian spirituality across the world. The conversation format is designed to provide a more interactive experience and to encourage a critical, constructive atmosphere.

The Chinese character for Chan 禅 is a transliteration of the Sanskrit term dhyāna or "meditation." Above all other religious activities, adherents of this school stressed a direct transmission of knowledge that does not rely on scriptures or conventional study. Practitioners may study with a Chan master, and discover the truth of Buddhism for themselves. During the Song dynasty, supporters of Chan managed to secure for it strong government support, making it the official affiliation of all Buddhist temples in China. Chan students and masters spread the ideas, practices, and literature of the school to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan, and later on all over the world.

In our conversation we will explore the following questions:

  • What are the core ideas and practices of Chan?
  • What is typical about Chan literature?
  • How is Chan different from and similar to other schools of East-Asian Buddhism?
  • What was it about Chan that made it so succesful in our modern, globalized world?

We look forward to welcoming you to the conversation!

Please note that this event will take place at a private venue on Changshu Lu. Full address details will be sent via email to registered attendees in advance of the event.