Buddhism, Science and Technology – Abstracts

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1. Justin BRODY 布洛迪 (Franklin and Marshall College 美國富蘭克林與馬歇爾學院): Infinitesimals, Causality and Mereological Nihilism | 無窮小、因果律和分體論虛無主義

Notions of the infinitely small have engendered numerous paradoxes within both Buddhist and Western intellectual history. In the West, Zeno famously noticed ways in which infinitely small distances challenged competing intuitions while Bishop Berkeley mocked their use in calculus, derisively dubbing them “ghosts of departed quantities”. In Buddhist philosophy, a commitment to mereological reductionism would seem to leave infinitesimal particles as the last stand for realism; thus dismissing their possibility constitutes a final step for Vasunbadhu in his proof of idealism. Dharmak¯irti, on the other hand, treated infinitesimals as dharmas when working within a Sautr¯antika framework. This lead to new questions about the nature of such particles and debates ensued within the tradition on matters such as the seeming inability of causally inert infinitesimal particles to give rise to the perception of extension.

In an attempt to give a logically coherent account of the infinitely small, mathematicians have developed sophisticated tools and gained deep insights into the nature of infinitesimals. These tools and insights can in turn provide some new ways to think about some of the ways in which infinitesimals are encountered in the works of Vasubandhu and Dharmak¯irti.

This paper will begin such an exploration. In particular, I will examine Vasubandhu’s outright rejection of infinitesimals in light of modern mathematics, offer some possible rejoinders to his objections, and consider what new objections might be raised therefrom. Turning to Dharmak¯irti and his interepreters, the paper will give a mathematical treatment of some of the attempts to explain how infinitesimals can give rise to the experience of extension.

The overall discussion will aim to bring two very rich intellectual traditions into conversation and draw on ideas from both Buddhist metaphysics and the mathematics of set theory, nonstandard analysis and cellular automata.

無窮小的概念在佛教和西方學術史上都引生了眾多悖論。在西方,芝諾(Zeno)著名地指出無窮小距離質疑其他學派的方法,而柏克萊主教(Bishop Berkeley)嘲弄了無窮小在微積分中的應用,嘲諷地將其戲稱為“消失量的幽靈(ghosts of departed quantities)”。在佛教哲學中,對分體還原論的投入似乎使極微成為實在論的最後立場,因而駁斥極微的可能性構成了世親(Vasubandhu)證明唯心論的最後一步。另一方面,法稱(Dharmakirti)在經量部的框架中將極微視為“法(dharmas)”。這導致了新的關於極微本質的疑問以及隨後在佛教中關於諸如不動的極微似乎沒有能力導致對擴展的認知。



全部的討論旨在將這兩個豐富的學術傳統引入對話並借鑑佛教形而上學以及集合論、非標準分析和元胞自動機(cellular automata)等數學方法。


2. CHEN Ming 陳明 (PekingU 北京大學): 《印度密教經文中的藥物使用與民俗》 | Medical Use and Folklore in Indian Tantric Texts


Chinese Buddhist canons (Tripitaka) preserve a large number of translations of Indian Buddhist texts, which reflect the many rich facets of ancient Indian Buddhism and the complexity of social life in ancient India. Based on Chinese translations of some Tantric texts utilizing some relevant Sanskrit Tantric texts, this paper discusses use of medicines in Indian Tantric texts and their roles in Indian folklore and social life. It will also try to recover the roles played by medical sciences in Sino-Indian religious and cultural exchanges from the perspectives of translation studies and cultural exchanges.


3. CHEN J (UBC): 人工智能與佛教: 挑戰與超越 | Technology and Disaster: Buddhist Perspectives

宗教與災難之間的關係是一個值得研究的話題。世界上每一大宗教似乎都是在威脅人類命運的大災難發生之前或之後產生的。從災難中存活下來或有可能存活下來是一個關鍵時刻,它往往促進了一個大宗教的建立。另一個關口是宗教改革。誠然,有社會原因和宗教機構的內部原因,可以推動改革。然而,還有一個因素至關重要:災難。在歷史上,任何宗教如果沒有經歷過改革,固然都會落入解體的命運。但更為關鍵的因素(至少從外部因素而言),卻是大災難。災難能對一個宗教產生如此大的影響,這一點很有意思,也很有意義。這種現象使我們不得不考慮宗教的本質。人類何以需要宗教? 如果能夠理解宗教的本質——它幫助人類克服不完美、有限,以及死亡帶來的威脅、困惑和無助,可能就有望理解宗教何以與災難密切相關。當下的世界正經歷著一場巨大的、前所未有的危機——由技術革命引發的對人類生存的根本性威脅。這篇小文試圖解釋技術為何與如何構成對人類前所未有的威脅,以及佛教可能如何有助於人類討論和因應這種特殊的危機。

The relationship between religion and catastrophe is a topic worth investigating. Every major religion comes into being preceding or following a catastrophe. Survival from a catastrophe or the prospect thereof is a critical juncture that instigates the foundation of a major religion. The other juncture is the religious reformation. Admittedly, there are social reasons as well as reasons internal to the religious institutions, which can propel the reformation. There is, however, another factor that is crucial: catastrophe. In history, any religion would have fallen to the fate of disintegration, had it not undergone a reformation, or a renaissance. And the most important factor, at least among external factors, is catastrophe. It is interesting and significant that catastrophe can exert such an influence on a religion. This phenomenon obliges us to consider the nature of religion. Why do we need religion?  If we could comprehend the nature of religion — that it helps us overcome imperfection, the finite, as well as the menace, confusion and helplessness brought about by death──then we would understand why religion and catastrophe are an intimately connected pair.Our world is currently undergoing a tremendous, unprecedented catastrophe──the kind caused by technology revolution. This article explains why and how the technology comes to pose humanity is unprecedented and how a Buddhist perspective may contribute to the discussion of human response to technology-related catastrophes.


4. Celine CODEREY 柯徳蕊 (NationalU of Singapore 新加坡國立大學): When Buddhism is the medicine. Questioning the boundaries between Buddhism and medicine in Myanmar | 當佛教是醫學時:緬甸佛教與醫學邊界之疑問

On the basis of data collected through fieldwork and the existing literature, this chapter unpacks the  way Buddhist populations in contemporary Rakhine deal with health and illness using a plurality of conceptions and practices. Previous scholarly works have failed to understand this “therapeutic field” and its specific dynamics, the main reason being that health-related conceptions and practices have always been studied separately as considered to belong to different fields, religion or medicine. If, in this sense, etic categories are blinding, as they prevent a comprehensive approach, I claim that emic categories and notably the ones of Buddhism and medicine that appear in people’s narratives have an ethnographic and analytic value, as they reveal the cultural, social and political forces that contributed to define the position different notions and practices occupy in the therapeutic field and the relations of hierarchy and complementarity that have emerged over time between them. I want to show that the position attributed to the different notions and practices not only depend on their intrinsic capacity to contribute to the apprehension of health and illness, but also on the epistemic hierarchies which emerged between them as a consequence of the state’s intervention in this plurality and which affects the way there are implemented, valued, and used. In particular, the formalization and regulation of Buddhism and medicine carried out by the colonial and post-colonial state, came to attribute to these traditions a somehow privileged position, in the same time as it led to a redefinition (“purification”) of the contents of these categories, thus limiting their action in the therapeutic field and shifting the relationship with the other components of the field such as astrology, divination, exorcist practices and spirit cults. This complex process of categorisations and redefinition of relations, coexists and contrasts with the persistent hybridity of health-related notions and practices that keep cutting across all categories. I argue that if the coexistence of, and the tension between clear categories in people’s representations and the blurriness of these categories in the practices, reflects the complex interplay between biological, cultural, social and political forces, it also contributes to shape therapeutic efficacy in a certain way which reproduces political interests and power.



5. Kate CROSBY 寇思璧 (Oxford 英國牛津大學): Technology and Pre-Modern Theravada Meditation: Shared Conceptions of Causality | 科技與前現代上座部佛教禪修:共同的因果觀

This talk looks at the somatic (body-based) practices of pre-modern or ‘boran’ Theravada meditation. In boran practice, positive outcomes of meditation are internalised to create a Buddha within the practitioner’s body. When we examine the advanced stages of this practice closely, we can see that its understanding of how transformation takes place shows parallels with other pre-modern sciences and technologies, including chemistry, medicine and grammar. Boran meditation was widespread until the mid-colonial period, but then began to disappear for various reasons, with just a handful of teaching lineages surviving beyond the 1970s. This means that it was already rare by the time Buddhist meditation began to gain popularity globally. This global popularity underpinned a new trend of research into meditation, but by this time meditations which stopped with psychological transformation as the highest goal had come to the fore. At the same time, colonialism and modernity transformed the broader landscape of technologies and scientific learning. This meant that the relationship between boran meditation and pre-modern technologies went unrecognised, with early studies of boran practices stalling because what was described in relevant manuals confounded researchers’ expectations of what meditation should be. This paper will look at how boran meditation harnesses understandings of causality that came to be forgotten or side-lined in the modern period, and the implications this has had for our perception of Theravada meditation.

本演講討論前现代或“Boran”的上座部佛教禪修中以身体为基础的修行。在 Boran 的訓練中,禪修的积极成果被內化,從而在修行者身體中創造一尊佛。當我們仔細研究這種修行方式的高級階段時,我們可以發現它對於轉化方式的理解與其他前現代科學和技術(包括化學、醫學和語法)存在相似之處。Boran禅修在殖民時期的中期之前一直很普遍,但之後由於各種原因開始消失,在20世紀20年代之後,只有少數幾個傳承得以保留下來。這意味著,當佛教禅修開始在全球範圍內流行之時,它已經變得很少見了。禪修在全球的流行推動了禪修研究的新潮流,但此時以心理轉化為最高目標的各类禅修已經脱颖而出。與此同時,殖民主義和現代化改變了技術和科學學習的大环境。這意味著Boran禅修與前現代技術之間的關係未被認識,而早期對Boran修行的研究停滯不前,是因為其相關手冊中描述的內容与研究人員對禪修的預期相悖。本文將探討Boran禅修如何利用在現代被遺忘或被邊緣化的因果觀,以及其對於我們於上座部禪修認知的影響。


6. Douglas DUCKWORTH 達珂沃 (TempleU 美國天普大學): From Nescience to Science: Buddhist Reflections on Bridging Human-Nature | 從無知到知:連接人與自然的佛教見解

A Buddhist system of two truths provides a descriptive framework with criteria for what counts as real in contrast to what does not. This paper looks at the relationship between the two truths in the works of two seventh-century Indian philosophers, Dharmakīrti and Candrakīrti, and draws implications for comparison and contrast with modern scientific understandings of the world. I will highlight important features of Dharmakīrti’s epistemology that aim to circumvent cultural conventions in a way that resonates with scientific representations of knowledge.  I will also contrast this approach with one inspired by Candrakīrti to argue for an irreducible place of ethics and persons in a hybrid Buddhist-scientific picture of the world.



7. Jessica FALCONE 佛爾崆  (Kansas StateU 美國堪薩斯州立大學): Meditating Online “Alone Together”: Two Case Studies of Digital Buddhist Practice | “獨自在一起”線上冥想:數字佛教實踐的兩個案例

This paper will look at two disparate Buddhist communities—the Buddha Center in Second Life, and the Daifukuji Soto Zen Mission in Hawai’i—and show how each sangha has used digital outreach to build community capacity for online practice. Although the two institutions are very different—one only exists in a virtual world, while the other is a 100-year-old actual life temple—they have both worked to expand opportunities for community members to participate in online meditative ritual and practice. Based on years of ethnographic work with both communities, I look at the opportunities and limitations of online meditation with a Buddhist sangha. Since I did substantial fieldwork with these two communities before, during, and after the Covid-19 crisis, I will also discuss the extent to which the closure of in-person services during quarantine periods impacted digital Buddhist worship.

本文關注兩個完全不同的佛教群體——“第二人生”(Second Life)的“佛陀中心”(Buddha Center)和夏威夷的大福寺曹洞宗,揭示二者的僧團如何各自利用數字外展服務創建社區線上修行實踐的能力。儘管這兩家機構十分不同——一個僅存在於虛擬世界,另一個是有著百年歷史的現實生活中的寺院,他們都努力擴展社區成員線上參與坐禪修行實踐的機會。基於對兩個團體多年的民族誌調查,我將探討佛教僧團開展線上坐禪的機遇和限制。因為我曾在新冠疫情前、疫情中及疫情後對兩個團體進行實地調查,我也將討論疫情隔離期間面對面服務終止對數字禮佛的影響程度。


8. Imre GALAMBOS 高奕睿 (UoCambridge 英國劍橋大學): Searching for Buddhist manuscripts in Western China | 在中國西部尋找佛教寫本.

The excavation of Buddhist sites in Chinese Central Asia is among the most fascinating chapters in the history of modern exploration. Partly fuelled by the British and Russian colonial rivalry known as the Great Game, a series of Western expeditions explored the region along the region known today as the Silk Roads. Inspired by the results of excavations carried out by European explorers, three expeditions were organized by Ōtani Kōzui, abbot of the Nishi Honganji branch of the Jōdo Shinshū school of Buddhism. His aim was to locate Buddhist ruins and relics related to the history of the transmission of Buddhism from Central Asia to China. The expeditions carried out excavations at sites around Kucha, Turfan and Khotan, bringing to light a large quantity of manuscripts and artefacts. Among the most important items was the group of Buddhist manuscripts acquired in Dunhuang and Turfan. This presentation examines how Japanese explorers who possessed a Buddhist background differed from their European counterparts in approaching these sites and artefacts. My interest is in comparing their motivations with explorers such as Sven Hedin, Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot, and what effect the differences in attitude had on the fate of their collections.

對中國西部地區佛教遺址的勘探與挖掘是現代探險史上最引人入勝的篇章之一。部分受英俄之間稱作大博弈的殖民競賽影響,一系列西方探險隊在如今被稱作絲綢之路的地區展開了一系列的探索挖掘。受這些歐洲探險家的成果所啟發,日本淨土真宗西本願寺的方丈大谷光瑞先後組織了三次探索,旨在尋找佛教從中亞傳入中國這一過程中相關的佛教遺址與歷史文物。這三次探險分別在吐魯番,庫車和于闐等地進行挖掘勘探,發現了大量的寫本與文物。其中最重要的是在敦煌與吐魯番獲取的一批佛教寫本。本次演講將探索具有佛教背景的日本探險家在對待與處理這些遺址與文物時,與歐洲同行之間有著何種不同。我將著重分析其與如赫定(Sven Hedin)、斯坦因(Aurel Stein)與伯希和(Paul Pelliot)等西方探險者的不同,並探索這類觀念態度上的差異對其所獲文物的影響。


9. GAO Junling 高峻岭 (UHK 香港大學) and Hin Hung Sik 釋衍空 (University of Hong Kong 香港大學): Bridging Buddhism and Science: The Role of Neuroscience and Technology in Spiritual Growth and Counselling | 念佛的情緒調節研究:佛教與神經科學和科技的融合

The advance of science especially neuroscience is providing more coherence evidence to Buddhism theories including those on human mind and nature. With regard to Buddhism discussion on dukkha and three poisons, greed, anger, and ignorance are interconnected factors that influence one another. In cognitive science, three poisons represent three levels of brain evolutionary stage of central nervous system, the reptilian brain, mammalian brain and human brain. Greed and anger are more impulsive and bottom-up processes, originating from lower-order brain structures.  Higher-order cognitive functions well-developed in human brain are needed to regulate these impulsive behaviors. These are top-down processes, while the lack of this is referred to as ignorance in Buddhism term. Our neuroimaging studies reveal that Buddhist chanting can intercept the cycle of greed, anger, and ignorance through both top-down cognitive activity involving language and bottom-up processing by activating the locus coeruleus in the brainstem, which belongs to the reptilian brain. This unique training process, which intertwines instinct, emotion, and cognition, may elucidate the power and popularity of Buddhist chanting.

Another field of neuroscientific research on Buddhism is about the body and mind problem, a hard problem in philosophy and science. We begin the investigation on a more solid topic of connection of heart and brain, which are the vital parts to represent the body and mind, respectively. With the advance of neuroscience, we could utilize algorithms including machine learning to monitor the connection between heart activity and brain activities, by measuring the correspondent electrocardiogram (ECG) and electroencephalogram (EEG). This relevant research on body and mind problem can be also meaningful for the development of AI system in human society. The integration of modern neuroscience with Buddhist principles offers promising opportunities for future research and potential therapeutic applications, especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). By integrating principles of mindfulness, equanimity, and interconnectedness into AI training algorithms, we may foster the development of AI systems that are more attuned to human emotions and the complexities of the world. This holistic approach to AI training can potentially result in systems that exhibit not only advanced problem-solving skills but also a deeper understanding of the human experience. Ultimately, blending Buddhist teachings with AI development may lead to a more harmonious coexistence between humans and advanced intelligent system as we navigate the complexities of our ever-changing world.



10. GAO Xi 高晞 (FudanU 復旦大學): 中國濟生會的醫療救助活動——兼論佛教慈善模式的近代轉型 | Medical Aid of the Chinese Philanthropic Institution: Also a Case Study of Transformation of Buddhist Charity in the Modern Era


The Chinese Philanthropic Institution, founded by Shanghai Jiyunxuan 集雲軒, which is an artist’s organization with Layman Buddhist, is one of the largest non-governmental charitable organizations in China. Wang Yiting 王一亭 (1867-1936), a famous Buddhist layman in modern China, was the second president of the institution (1928-1938). He was also a famous revolutionary, artist, industrialist, and philanthropist as well. Previous studies focused on his charitable activities and the institution, but there were few views on the rescue mode of specific medical assistance activities. This paper observes the relief activities carried out by the institution led by Wang Yiting during the Wuhan Flood 武漢水災 in 1931. It tries to explore the factors affecting the modern transformation of Buddhist charity mode based on sorting out the ways and means of medical activities. Therefore, the social identity of Buddhist layman in modern China is investigated, and its modern significance to the construction of Buddhist charity concept is analyzed.


11. Charles GOODMAN 顧德曼  (BinghamtonU 美國賓漢頓大學): AI Safety and the Interdependence of Extremes | 人工智能安全與極限的互相依存

As the power of large language models (LLMs) has become more and more obvious, concerns have increased about the adverse social impacts, and even existential risks to humanity, such technology could potentially create.  These concerns have been strengthened by examples of outrageous misbehavior exhibited by models such as Microsoft’s Bing AI shortly after their public release.  One prominent analysis that could make sense of this misbehavior postulates a “Waluigi Effect” that sometimes causes LLMs to behave in ways directly opposed to the personality traits that programmers were trying to induce.  I show that the analysis, published under the pseudonym “Cleo Nardo,” depends in part on a version of the interdependence of extremes, a key teaching of both Buddhism and Daoism.  Indeed, Nardo shows us a way to use the technical concept of Kolmogorov complexity to make the traditional teaching much more precise.

Given the problems predicted by Nardo’s hypothesis, and those which have been actually encountered in practice, what could help make LLMs and related AI systems safer?  The Tibetan yogi Milarepa taught: “When it comes to moral discipline, nothing to do but stop being dishonest.”  After examining this saying in its Buddhist context, I show how most cases of existential risk from AI centrally depend on the system’s capacity to deceive us.  Honesty could protect us, but is difficult to engineer into AI systems generally; for LLMs in particular, the concept may not even be well-defined.  This topic raises problems which may be similar to those that confront Buddhist philosophers in certain other contexts.

In these ways, Buddhist teachings can help us understand the contours of the problems we face in the realm of AI safety.  Could they point to any solutions?  As AI systems grow more powerful, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that they respect human values, but experts in the field seem to agree that no one knows how to do this.  I offer the very tentative suggestion that we try to build AI systems with the capacity for repentance.  The practice of repentance, specifically as it is understood in the Buddhist tradition, could offer a model for what it would take to train future AI systems to internalize moral norms, thereby making them more likely to make a positive contribution to humanity’s future.

隨著大型語言模型(large language models, LLMs)愈加明顯,對於這種技術可能帶來的負面社會影響乃至對人類存在的風險的擔憂不斷增長。這些憂慮也由於模型(例如微軟Bing AI)發布不久即展現出來的駭人的不當行為而進一步加強。一個重要的可以解釋這種不當行為的分析假定“瓦路易吉效應”(Waluigi Effect)有時會導致大型語言模型(LLMs)以與程序設計者試圖引導的人格特質截然相反的方式做出反應。我將表明這個以筆名(Cleo Nardo)發表的分析,在某種程度上依賴於佛教和道教中都有的一個重要觀念——極限的互相依存。Nardo確實為我們呈現了利用柯爾莫哥洛夫複雜性這個技術概念使傳統教義更加精確的方法。




12. Peter D. HERSHOCK 赫碩軻 (East West Center 美國西東中心): Consciousness Mattering: The “Really Hard Problem” is Ethical | 意識:真正的難題是道德倫理

The “hard problem” of consciousness is generally seen as one of explaining how phenomenal experience emerges out of physical brain activity, often with the expectation that this will require some biological explanation of the evolutionary value of consciousness. Blending Buddhist and contemporary scientific resources to theorize consciousness relationally, I will suggest, instead, that: that the explanatory gap between the phenomenal and the physical is an experimental artifact; that evolution is an improvisational record of consciousness mattering; and that the “really hard problem” of consciousness is fundamentally ethical. The talk will conclude by considering the technological risks of synthesizing human and machine intelligences and already ongoing experiments in algorithmic consciousness hacking.



13. Jenny HUNG 洪真如 (HKUST 香港科技大學): Wellbeing in Early Buddhism: Zombies, Experience Machines, and the Value of Consciousness | 早期佛教的福祉觀:哲學喪屍(zombies)、經驗機器(experience machine) 和意識的價值

In this presentation, I discuss the intrinsic value of phenomenal consciousness in early Buddhism, focusing on the āgamas that comprise the Suttapiṭaka. This paper has three parts. First, I argue that for early Buddhism, consciousness is intrinsically disvaluable. Second, I contend that early Buddhists would choose to be zombies rather than attaining nirvana. Third, I show that one can attain nirvana in an experience machine.

在本演講中,我會討論早期佛教如何看待意識的內在價值。我會以構成經藏的《阿含經》為主要研讀文本。是次演講分為三個部分。首先,我提出對於早期佛教而言,意識本質上是有負面價值的。其次,我推論出早期佛教徒或會選擇成為哲學喪屍(zombies)而不是獲得涅槃。第三,我提出我們可以在體驗機器(experience machine)中證得涅槃。


14. Jeffrey KOTYK 康傑夫 (UoBologna 意大利博洛尼亞大學): Buddhism and Metallurgy in China | 中國佛教及冶金術

Buddhist literature is a unique witness to the evolution of metallurgy in China over the course of over a thousand years. Translators used native Chinese vocabulary for different metals when translating foreign texts, although in some instances they were faced with unclear nomenclature or references to alloys that were rare in China. The use of specific metals in ritual contexts became essential following the introduction of Mantrayāna in China during the mid-Tang period. The present study will focus on brass (an alloy of copper and zinc), which was originally imported from the Western Regions, and a unique type of iron called bintie 鑌鐵 (crucible steel), which was first known as an import from Sasanian Iran. Based on the common Buddhist use of metals in the casting of statues, vajras, and bells, we might wonder whether Buddhists in China had a strong understanding of metallurgy during the first millennium. The present study will address this question with reference to Buddhist and non-Buddhist sources.

佛教文獻是中國冶金發展的獨特見證。 佛教譯者在翻譯梵文時,使用了漢語本土詞彙來表示不同的金屬,儘管在某些情況下,他們面臨著不明確的命名法或提及在中國罕見的合金。 中唐時期密教入中國,金屬在儀式及修行中的使用很重要。 本研究將重點關注最初從西域進口的黃銅,以及一種獨特的鐵,稱為鑌鐵,最早是從薩珊王朝的伊朗進口的 。 基於佛教在鑄造佛像、金剛杵和編鐘時普遍使用金屬,我們可能會想,中國佛教徒在第一個千年是否對冶金有深入的了解。 本研究要參考佛教和非佛教的資料來解決這個問題。


15. LAMOKYI 拉毛吉 (TibetU 西藏大學): 藏歷的時間劃分 | The time division of the Tibetan calendar


Tibetan astrological science has several different system, such as the elementary astrology, Kalachakra calendar, Shi-xian calendar and so on. The time of a day in Kalachakra calendar is based on the breathing rhythm of a healthy man. The year, month and day are divided according to the laws of the sun and the moon. There are several ways of numbering the years as 12, 60 and 180. The Time in a large scale is calculated in Kalpa. This paper attempt to analyze the division of different time scales in the Tibetan calendar, and then to explore the exchange between Eastern and Western cultures.


16. LI Ling 李翎 (SichuanU 四川大學): 印度石窟寺營建與古代數學 | Perfect Mathematics: Construction of Caitya and the Cultural Origins

調查表明,印度早期石窟寺在建造時,是嚴格按照一定的數學比例關係設計的,最典型的就是石窟寺的核心洞窟——支提窟,支提窟的主室在整體設計採用了印度建築學上慣用的精緻數字比,這種簡約的數字關係,建立了一種美學上的優雅風格。這些石窟雖然經過2000多年的風蝕和人為破壞,如果忽略工匠在設計時出現的8-10釐米的微小誤差,我們可以發現,洞窟的高、寬幾乎相等;殿內,從前面木屏位置到佛塔前的距長,為整個殿寬的1.5倍;塔的直徑又是塔到兩側牆邊距的1.5倍;塔與後牆的距離等於塔與左右牆距;內頂高度與寬度幾乎相等;側廊是殿寬的1/8;(主)殿寬又是總寬度的3/5;列柱是殿內通高的2/5;入口寬為洞窟總寬的1/8等等,這些規則與印度古老的宗教建築量度,即 《準繩經》(śulva sûtras)可能密切相關,本文嘗試從數學的角度解讀印度早期佛教石窟寺在建造上的特點。

The investigation shows that the early Indian caves were designed strictly in accordance with a certain mathematical ratio when they were built. The most typical one is the caitya. The main room of the caitya was designed with the exquisite numerical ratio commonly used in Indian architecture. Although these caves have undergone wind erosion and man-made destruction for more than 2,000 years, if we ignore the small error of 8-10 cm in the design of the artists, we can find that the height and width of the caves are almost the same; Inside the hall, the distance from the position of the front wooden screen to the front of the stupa is 1.5 times the width of the entire hall; The diameter of the stupa is 1.5 times the distance between the stupa and the sides of the wall; The distance between the stupa and the back wall is equal to the distance between the stupa and the left and right walls; The height of the inner top is almost equal to the width; The side corridor is 1/8 of the width of the hall; The width of the hall is 3/5 of the total width; The columns are 2/5 of the full height of the hall; The entrance width was 1/8 of the total width of the cave, etc. These rules may be closely related to the old Indian religious architectural literatures-the śulva sûtras, and from this way, the paper is trying to understand the characteristics of the construction of the early Buddhist caves in India.


17. LIANG Chenxue 梁辰雪 (FudanU 復旦大學): 日本陰陽道星祭對佛教元素的融攝與重塑——以祭文為中心 | Assimilation and Transformation: Buddhist Influence on the Zokushōsai Ritual in Japanese Onmyōdō


Beidou belief, a prevalent form of faith in East Asia, permeates various religious and belief systems, resulting in diverse expressions. This paper primarily examines the liturgical texts of the Zokushōsai 屬星祭 ritual, which is centered around the veneration of stars, within the framework of Japanese Onmyōdō. The aim is to analyze the influence of Buddhism in this context. It is noteworthy that the Zokushōsai ritual has undergone a multifaceted evolutionary process, exemplified by the liturgical texts found in Shosaimon Kojitsu Shō 諸祭文故実抄 and the later Saimon Burui 祭文部類 from Documents of the Wakasugi Family. This transformation is partly attributed to the evolution of Beidou belief in Japan and the gradual development of a more indigenous belief system within Onmyōdō, which deviated from its initial form that regarded Buddhist sutras as authoritative scriptures. Both tendencies are intricately linked with Buddhism, although they manifest as active and passive aspects, respectively. This case study provides valuable insights into the dynamics of cultural exchange in East Asia and sheds light on the distinct roles played by Buddhism as a faith system with significant cross-cultural influence.


18. Bill M. MAK 麥文彪 (UHK 香港大學): Flat Earth and Mount Sumeru: Can East Asian Buddhist Cosmology be Accommodated in Modern Science | 平地與須彌山: 東亞佛教宇宙論能否適應現代科學?

While Buddhism is often recognised in the contemporary society as a religion compatible to modern scientific thinking in terms of its purported rationalism and universalist values such as non-violence and compassion, the Buddhist cosmology which is inherently at odd with our scientific understanding of the universe is rarely discussed. Ideas such as flat earth and Mount Sumeru are implicit in all Buddhist texts but are aberrant to the modern minds. This paper examines the history of Buddhist attempts to accommodate these ideas from the Bonreki movement in late Edo Japan to some of the more recent ones from various Buddhist traditions.



19. Brianna MORSETH 莫百納 (CUHK 香港中文大學): Bridging Ecologies through Contemplative Technologies: Effects of Huatou and Huayan Practice on Oxytocin and Environmentally Sustainable Behavior | 通過沈思技術連接生態: 話頭和華嚴經對催產素和環境可持續行為的影響

Contemplative technologies for enhancing interrelationality are viable strategies for addressing social and environmental challenges. Scientific studies of contemplative practice often focus narrowly on mindfulness, usually secular forms, alongside compassion meditation, while largely neglecting to examine neuroendocrine variables and sustainable behaviors reflective of inner and outer ecologies. Other contemplative methods from Buddhism remain less investigated, particularly via scientific technologies such as biobehavioral analytics. Combining hermeneutical and empirical methods, this project reports on fieldwork among international retreatants at a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Throughout a one month immersion program, measurements were obtained of recycling, food waste, and oxytocin via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Empirical findings indicate increased oxytocin following huatou, a Chan practice, accompanied by quantifiable improvements in pro-environmental behavior, including increased recycling and decreased food waste by mass. Extrapolating from these novel results, I identify Huayan philosophical doctrines and meditation practices with potential to induce comparable neuroendocrine and behavioral changes. The fieldwork and proposed follow-up study thus shed light on the relevance of Chinese Buddhist teachings and practices to scientific investigation integrating textual analysis and laboratory technologies, yielding outcomes with potential to bridge inner and outer ecologies and mitigate ongoing social and environmental challenges.



20. NIU Weixing 鈕衛星 (U of Science and Technology of China 中國科學技術大學): 佛藏中的天文學資料與研究進展 | Astronomical Materials in the Buddhist Sutras and Related Research Progress


There are many foreign astronomical materials preserved in the Chinese translation of Buddhist sutras. From the content, these astronomical materials include cosmology theories, lunar mansion systems and calendrical data, etc. These astronomical materials are important evidence for the exchange and dissemination of astronomy between ancient civilizations. This report aims to sort out and analyze the astronomical materials preserved in the Chinese translation of Buddhist sutras, evaluating the preservation form, characteristics, reliability, and functionality of these astronomical materials, classifying and differentiating the content of foreign astronomy, discussing its origin and local influence. Through the above discussion, this report will demonstrate the core meaning of the historical view of transcultural transmission of sciences and technology, which is ‘knowledge advances through dissemination and civilization thrives through exchange’. This report will also provide an overview of the progress of relevant research and explore possible future research directions.


21. Alessandro POLETTO 薄樂  (Washington University [St. Louis] 美國華盛頓大學 [聖路易斯]): Therapeutics and botany in medieval Japan: the monk Shinjaku-bō in context | 中世日本的治療學與植物學:語境中的僧人心寂房

Therapeutics and botany in medieval Japan: the monk Shinjaku-bō in context Buddhist monks have been known for their ability to handle materia medica since the inception of Buddhism in Japan. Eminent figures like Jianzhen 鑑真 (J: Ganjin; 688-763) were noted, among other things, for their ability to recognize herbs and concoct medications, as records in Shoku Nihongi 続日本紀 (797) and Ishinpō 医心方 (984) show. In this talk, I will focus on a relatively obscure figure, the monk Shinjaku-bō 心寂房 (d. 1231), whose activities are only documented in the diary and letters of the famous poet Fujiwara no Sadaie 藤原定家 (better known as Teika; 1162-1241). Shinjaku-bō, whose descent, Dharma name and temple affiliation remain unknown, was an accomplished practitioner of continental therapeutics; in particular, he appears in Teika’s journal as a frequent practitioner of moxibustion and herbalism. For a number of years and until his death, Shinjaku-bō was a constant presence in Teika’s life, for whom he also functioned as a source of information and gossip, counsel and support. At the same time, Shinjaku-bō was also a skilled botanist, and Teika often resorted to his services for most garden-related issues, including numerous instances of grafting and gifts of trees. As the poet records in his journal, “as for plants and trees, I simply follow what this monk does.” Shinjaku-bō’s pharmacological and botanical skills, as well as hints pointing towards a Shingon affiliation, allow for a broader discussion of the locus of his practices within early medieval Buddhism. Plants, whether as ingredients for medications and decoctions, or as herbs dried and burned as incense and aromatics, played, in fact, an important role within the ritual domain of Japanese Buddhism at the time, and of the esoteric traditions in particular. I will, thus, conclude my talk by tracing possible sources for the monk’s mastery of these technical domains.



22. POON Chung-kwong 潘宗光 (PolyU PolyU 香港理工大學): 佛經用語的科學詮釋 | The Scientific Exegesis of Terminology in the Buddhist Scripture


二, 既然佛經藴含不少科學理論,若能活用科普知識,對於注重科技的現代人可能更容易明白佛理,亦能更有效推廣佛法。


The thesis delves into the following two main points:

  1. Some Buddhist scriptures contain a significant amount of scientific content. This indicates that the metaphorical use of science was not uncommon in Buddhist India. If we possess an understanding of popular science, it may help us to deepen our understanding of the scriptures and aid in comprehending the teachings of the Buddha.
  2. Since the metaphorical use of science is a common technique in composing Buddhist scriptures, applying popular science in analogizing the Buddha’s teaching may help people in modern society, where scientific technology is significantly valued, to understand Buddhism better. This should, in turn, lead to more effective promotion of Buddhism.

The thesis examines numerous scientific terms cited in the Diamond Sutra to explore their underlying ideas and impacts on human civilization. This may be what the Sutra emphasizes as the Buddha being a “speaker of reality.”  Furthermore, examples of modern science are designed to illustrate the meaning of the sutra to see if they could enhance its readability.


23. Robert SHARF 夏復 (UCBerkeley 美國加州大學柏克萊分校): Sarvāstivāda, the Block Universe, and Superdeterminism | 說一切有部,塊狀宇宙與超決定論

My talk will take as its focus the signature Sarvāstivāda-Vaibhāṣika doctrine that past, present, and future things all exist. This theory—or theories, since the Vaibhāṣika masters themselves disagreed on how to make sense of it—anticipates, in many respects, “block-time” models of the universe that are in fashion among theoretical physicists today. In these models, time is a dimension spread out like space, and everything that ever was or will be has a fixed position within this four-dimensional space-time block. I will argue that the similarities between the early Buddhist theories and contemporary scientific ones are neither coincidental nor insignificant: both are responses to deep puzzles concerning the nature of change, causation, and the apparent “flow” and “direction” of time.



24. SHI Jizhen 釋寂真 (Mount Kuaiji Institute of Advanced Research on Buddhism 稽山書院): 佛教量論與當代意識理論中的「自我表徵主義」 | “Self-Representationalism” in the Contemporary Philosophy of Mind and the “Epistemological and Logical System of Buddhism” (Pramāṇavidyā)

當代心智哲學中的「自我表徵主義」(self-representationalism)是對於「有意識的心理狀態何以可能」该問題進行回應的最新進路之一,相比於此前的高階意識理論等表徵模型,自我表徵理論展現出了更優的解釋力與自洽性,是一種目前頗具潛力的意識理論。當我們將目光轉向佛教時,我們能夠發現,「有意識的心理狀態」該問題也曾在印度與西藏的思想家間得到討論,而當代自我表徵理論的模型及其相關論證,更是與佛教量論(Pramāṇavidyā)之「自證」(Svasaṃvitti)理論有着較高的相似度,並且,在一定程度上,自證理論能夠對於自我表徵理论進行補充。本文旨在以當代最為活躍的自我表徵主義哲學家克里格爾(Uriah Kriegel)與古代印度的佛教思想家陳那(Dignāga)論師為代表,通過聚焦於二者證成意識反身理論的論證進路、解釋意識之反身機制的方案等方面,而對於「自我表徵主義」與「自證」理論作一簡要的比較研究。

The “self-representationalism” in the contemporary philosophy of mind is one of the latest ways to respond to the question “how a mental state can be conscious”. Compared with higher-order representationalism and the like, self-representationalism suggests a series of stronger and more reasonable arguments; it is a current theory with potential. The same conscious question was also discussed between philosophers in India and Tibet. Especially, the model and the argument steps of self-representationalism have a high degree of similarity with the “reflexive self-awareness theory” (Svasaṃvitti) in the “epistemological and logical system of Buddhism” (Pramāṇavidyā); to a certain extent, the reflexive self-awareness theory could supplement the self-representationalism. In this paper, I will focus on Uriah Kriegel, the most representative self-representationalist in the contemporary philosophy of mind, and Indian Buddhist philosopher Dignāga in the 6th century CE, comparing their argument steps, interpretation method and so forth, to reach a brief comparative study.


25. SHI Zhanru 釋湛如 (PekingU 北京大學): 人工智能對人類的新挑戰: 佛教的應對 | Challenges to Humanity from Artificial Intelligence (AI): Responses from Buddhism

人工智能 (Artificial Intelligence) 在近些年獲得了前所未有的巨大進步, 其發展速度之快已經遠遠超過了即使是過去極為超前的若干預期。人工智能的崛起, 就產生了諸多相關的重要社會問題, 從而需要學界對於由此引起的相關倫理及社會問題加以探討並且試圖加以應對。除此之外, 人類還應該考慮另一個更為根本的深層次問題, 即目前人類自身所一手打造的人工智能,是否會終極成為替代人類的選項?由此而言, 也觸發了人類對於自身與人工智能體之間關係的考量, 以及如果技術最終會成為人類災難性結果的誘因, 那麼是否可以從宗教, 尤其是佛教的角度來未雨綢繆?所有這些, 就都是相當值得學界與社會各界詳加思考的重要問題。

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made unprecedented advances in recent years, and its rapid development has far exceeded even some of the most advanced expectations of the past. The rise of Artificial Intelligence has given rise to a number of relevant and important social issues, which require academics to explore and attempt to address the ethical and social problems that arise. In addition to this, there is a more fundamental and deeper question that scholars should consider, namely, will the artificial intelligence that mankind is currently building become an option to replace mankind? In this way, it also triggers the consideration of the relationship between human beings and artificial intelligences, and if technology will eventually become the cause of catastrophic results for human beings, what constructive responses can be proposed from the perspective of religion, especially Buddhism? All of these are important issues that deserve deliberation by academics and society at large.


26. SIK Hin Tak 釋衍德 (Hong Kong Chu Hai College 香港珠海學院): Medical Sciences in Early Buddhist Literature | 初期佛典中的醫療科學

Buddhist literature contains not only teachings for spiritual liberation but also information on diverse aspects of ancient cultures, such as medical knowledge of different civilizations. Material pertaining to ancient Indian medical sciences is found in early Buddhist literature. This paper explores such material in the early Buddhist scriptures, especially the Nikāyas and Āgamas, as well as the extant versions of the Chapter on Medicine (CM) of the Vinayas. Data on ancient Indian medical sciences are examined and interpreted in terms of modern medical terminology. Abundant information pertaining to various medical sciences – including anatomy, physiology, aetiology, nosology, therapeutics, and preventive medicine (health maintenance) – is preserved in these early Buddhist texts. From such information, it can be noted that medical sciences had already developed to a certain level in ancient India. Study of medical sciences in early Buddhist literature may act as a base for further exploration of medical knowledge in other Buddhist texts. Moreover, comparisons of ancient Indian medicine with modern biomedicine may discover similarities and differences between the two medical traditions, and ancient Indian medical ideas and/or practices may provide inspirations for research and development in modern medicine.



27. SONG Shenmi 宋神秘 (ShanghaiU of Traditional Chinese Medicine 上海中醫藥大學): 中古時期佛教中的四份二十八宿圖像研究 | A study of the Four Texts Recording Images of the Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions in Buddhism in the Medieval Ages


There are four Buddhist texts from the late Tang to Song and Yuan periods that record the star-point charts and star god figures of the twenty-eight lunar mansions: the Seven Obsidian Star Separation Acts (Qiyao xingchen biexingfa,《七曜星辰别行法》) from the late Tang period, the Killing Light Buddha’s Dzogchen (《熾盛光佛頂大威德銷災吉祥陀羅尼經》) (972) from the Nara Collection in Japan, a fresco of a star chart from the Uighur period (866-1383) excavated from the Shengjinkou Grottoes in Kaochang, and the Fire-Ra (Huoluo tu,《火罗图》) chart from the Gokokuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan (1166). These four documents are unusual in that they combine a star-point chart with a star god chart for each lunar mansion. This is because traditional Chinese star-point charts of the twenty-eight lunar mansions exist in tombs, astronomical star charts and astronomical astrological texts, and only having star-point charts, whereas depictions of the numbers and shapes of the foreign twenty-eight lunar mansions exist only in textual narratives of Chinese translations of Buddhism, with no specific illustrations. At the same time, the twenty-eight star charts with foreign elements are mainly found in the Five Stars and Twenty-eight Star Charts and in Buddhist images of the Star Mandala and the Blazing Broad Buddha, and generally do not contain star-point charts. These four Buddhist texts combine the traditional Chinese star-point charts with star god figures of foreign origin, and although there are many misconfigurations in their correspondence, their most important effect is to give the star-point charts a different meaning from their purely celestial predecessors, i.e. a divine power similar to that of the star charts, while highlighting the individual differences in the religious beliefs and rituals of each lunar mansion. Since then, however, the divine power of the star-point charts have been manifested mainly in Taoist rituals and practices; while the power of the star-god charts have been displayed mainly in Buddhist and folk beliefs, but these beliefs and their practices mostly highlight the function of images of the twenty-eight lunar mansions in their totality, with their differences gradually diminishing.


28. Christopher TONG 唐思凱 (UMaryland, Baltimore 美國馬里蘭大學 [巴爾的摩]): Buddhism, Linguistics, and Artificial Intelligence | “佛學、語言學和人工智能”

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in linguistics claims that language is correlated with, or even determines, worldview. That is to say, the language we use impacts the way we observe the world. Based on this premise, Benjamin Lee Whorf concludes that “users of markedly different grammars … are not equivalent as observers but must arrive at somewhat different views of the world.” Whorf goes on to suggest that modern science, with its European origins, has therefore been shaped more by the grammatical structures of Indo-European languages than other languages. If one accepts Whorf’s hypothesis to be true, an intriguing question begs to be asked: how have the non-Indo-European languages of Asia contributed to the ongoing development of modern science? In response, this paper examines how Buddhism offers a counterpoint to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and sheds light on the emergent discourse of artificial intelligence. While scholars and scientists generally accept Whorf’s linguistic relativity to a certain extent, they almost always understand this relativity as applicable to human languages only. In contrast, Buddhist thought and praxis often push the limits of human language to the realm of nothingness where the human self withdraws from the myriad world. Given this context, this paper examines how Buddhist approaches to the nonhuman—from Buddha’s reincarnation as a nine-color deer (jiu se lu) to Wang Guowei’s literary theory of “self-withdrawal” (wuwo) and even the Zen Buddhist practice of ensō as communicating beyond the limits of human language—offer a different framework for contemplating ongoing developments in artificial intelligence, especially in the West. Citing a wide range of materials in media studies, literature and linguistics, and the history of science, this paper compares how Buddhism as well as contemporary scientific and cultural discourses have variously approached the question of nonhuman intelligence.

據薩丕爾-沃夫假說 (Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) 所稱,語言與世界觀有密切的關係。語言學中的“語言相對論”就是指語言的使用能影響觀察世界的模式。在這前提下,沃夫認為:“使用不同語法的人…不是等同的觀察者,並必然得出稍微不同的世界觀。”沃夫進一步指出,起源於歐洲的科學因此比其他語言更多地受到印歐語系語法結構的影響。假設沃夫的理論是正確的,那麼亞洲的非印歐語言如何為現代科學作出貢獻?本文探討佛家思想如何對薩丕爾-沃夫假說作出回應,並且提供對人工智能的一種闡明。雖然學者普遍接受沃夫的語言相對論,但他們認同的程度不一,而這個理論更限於人類語言的範疇。相比之下,佛家思想往往將人類語言推向“空”的境界,使人的自我漸漸退出塵世。從佛陀前生為九色鹿的敘述到禪宗的“円相”以至王國維的“無我”詩學,本文探討佛家思想如何促進超越人類極限,並在這過程中提供應對“非人類”智能的思维模式。本文引用文學、語言學、媒體研究及科學史中的廣泛材料,提出思考佛學和人工智能問題的一個框架。


29. WANG Dawei 王大偉 (SichuanU 四川大學): 以醫為業,以僧為生:宋元時期的涉醫僧人與社會 | Take Medicine as a Career and Make a Living as a Monk: Social Activities of Medical Monks in the Period of Song and Yuan Dynasties


In the period of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, many medical monks were active at different levels of society. They had contact with a wide range of social classes when practicing medicine. It was a special and active group. The medical skills of this group were spread. Different types of events or stories occurred such as politics, charity, and gods and spirits. These monks actually formed a lifestyle of taking medicine as a career and making a living as a monk. Around their stories, we can further discover the medical monk group except for the ordinary medical group in the society in Song and Yuan Dynasties. Their lives and technologies formed an interesting and vivid picture of life in the period of the Song and Yuan Dynasties.


30. WU Hua 吳華 (SichuanU 四川大學): 虛擬與現實:作為網絡朝聖社區的送子靈廟 | Virtual and Real: The Child-Granting NuminousTemple as an Online Pilgrimage Community


The child-granting temple under discussion here is not a physical temple that exists in reality. It is not associated with any religious institution, nor does it involve the participation or guidance of religious clerics. The temple is a digital space that originated from fertility prayers and aspirations of expectant mothers expressed on the internet. Apart from occasional traffic redirection by online administrators, the operation of this virtual temple relies primarily on spontaneous sense, self-discipline, and mutual assistance among the community of expectant mothers. This Send-Child Numinous Temple is perceived as a genuine temple despite its operation in an online setting. It facilitates the daily rituals of offering incense, worshiping, and making wishes, silently listening to the heartfelt aspirations of expectant mothers. Over a period of approximately eight years, it has gathered hundreds of thousands of records of wishes and fulfillments, creating a self-sustaining and beneficial cycle and a virtual pilgrimage community.

This paper aims to deconstruct the existence of the virtual pilgrimage community represented by the Child-Granting Numinous Temple based on the presentation of online texts. It demonstrates the demand among ordinary people for the belief in the Child-Granting Guanyin. Furthermore, it highlights the active role that the belief in Send-Granting Guanyin plays in alleviating anxieties related to childbirth among devotees.


31. WU Shaowei 武紹衛 (ShandongU 山東大學): 唐代佛教僧團識字率初探 | A study on the literacy rate of Buddhist monastics in Tang Dynasty


The Buddhist Sangha was an important cultural group in ancient China and had a significant influence on ancient Chinese society. This influence stemmed from their religious identity as well as their cultural knowledge. However, not all members of the monastic community were literate. The examination system implemented during the Tang Dynasty, which tested monks’ ability to recite a sufficient number of Buddhist scriptures to determine their eligibility for ordination, and the movement to eliminate unqualified monks and nuns provided an opportunity to estimate the literacy rate among the monastic community in the Tang Dynasty. Statistical analysis of the literacy rate among the monastic community provides a new perspective for understanding the development of Buddhism, the relationship between religion and politics, and the role of the monastic community in local society during the Tang Dynasty.


32. ZHANG Meiqiao 張美僑 (ZhejiangU 浙江大學): 佛教印刷文化一斑:元代管主八刊刻秘密經文集的版本流傳與入藏始末 | A Glimpse of Buddhist Printing Culture: The Circulation and the History of the Incorporation into the Buddhist Canon of the Secret Scriptures Collection Published by Guan Zhuba in the Yuan Dynasty





“Wu 武 to Zun 遵 total twenty-eight cases of secret scriptures” were created under the director of Guan Zhuba 管主八, a monk in the Yuan Dynasty. The secret scriptures collection, the sole supplement for Tantric texts in the entire history of woodblock printing, circulated alongside the Puning canon and could be found in the photocopy of the Qisha canon. However, several questions about the collection remain unsolved, such as: Whence did the collection come from? When was it carved? When did it begin circulating with the Puning canon and Qisha canon? And when was it incorporated in the Buddhist canon?

This paper examines the circulation of the secret scriptures collection from two aspects: the circulation of the texts and the circulation of the wooden blocks. The texts began circulating in the eleventh year of Dade 大德 (1307), while the wooden blocks,  which were the private property of the Guan family, were surrendered to the Qisha Yansheng Monastery in Pingjiang Prefecture in 1363. Although the majority of the texts in the secret scriptures collection were from the Jin canon, the sequence of the Thousand-Character Classic (Qianzi wen 千字文) from Wu to Zun is consistent with the Jiangnan system of the Buddhist canon.

After collecting all the secret scriptures, Guan Zhuba began fundraising in 1306, when the cases from Tian 天 to Gan 感 of the Puning canon had already been completed. He established a new printing office for the secret scriptures collection which was not connected to the printing office of the Puning canon. On the other hand, as a merit sponsor of the Qisha canon, Guan Zhuba knew more about the Qisha canon and the state of the Jiangnan system of the Buddhist canons. While carving the Qisha canon, he noticed the absence of Tantric texts in the Jiangnan, Min and Zhe Buddhist Canons. After the secret scriptures collection was completed in 1307, the entire Qisha canon had not yet been completed. Therefore, the purpose of carving the secret scriptures was not for the supplement the Qisha canon, but to provide Buddhist canons with Tantric text supplements, especially the most widely spread Puning canon.

The secret scripture collection as a separate corpus alongside the Puning canon until 1363. The collection had received their Thousand-Character Classic before 1313, because the printing office of the Puning canon carved the Baiyun Heshang Chuxue ji 白雲和尚初學記 under the Thousand-Character Classic, Yue 約. In 1315, the complement of the Yue 約 case of the Qisha canon indicated that two printing offices had recognized and accepted the fixed position of the collection within the Jiangnan system of the Buddhist canon. However, it was not until by 1363 that the collection was formally incorporated into the Buddhist canon.

The incorporation of the twenty-eight cases of secret scriptures followed a process of separation from the Buddhist canon, rearrangement as the secret scriptures collection and circulation alongside canons, and formal incorporation into the Buddhist canon. This process not only contains Guan Zhuba’s personal intentions, but also reflects the changes in the attitudes of the printing offices. It is a unique case study in the study of the Buddhist canon.


33. ZHAO You 趙悠 (PekingU 北京大學): Oneself as Mechanical: Buddhist Insights from the First Millennium | 機關木人喻:公元初期佛教經典對主體性的一種反思

While Buddhist teachings deny the presence of a stable, unchanging self, they must still make sense of human agency. In this article, I look through metaphors of mechanical men in Buddhist literature which inform us of attempts to tackle the problem by resorting to figurative speech. This survey does not only show how ancient Buddhist scholars think with technologies of their times, but also provides us with insights into what it possibly means to live towards an era of artificial intelligence.



34. ZHENG Qijun 鄭麒駿 (École Pratique des Hautes Études 法國高等應用研究學院): Divine Prescriptions: Medicinal Philanthropy through Spirit-Writing by Lay Buddhists in Republican China | 論近代中國佛教居士通過扶乩進行的醫療及慈善活動

This research explores the history of medical prescriptions (jifang 乩方) and disaster relief (jishi 濟世) through spirit-writing. Originating in the late Ming dynasty, the cult of the Buddhist monk Jigong 濟公 (?-1209) flourished by the late Qing and early Republican periods. Organized as Pavilion of Gathered Clouds 集雲軒 in Shanghai, this group of lay Buddhists self-identified as the Buddhist lineage of Nanping 南屏派, venerating Jigong as their patriarch. Led by successive urban elites including Wang Yiting 王一亭 (1867-1938), their success and widespread recognition helped it to establish Chinese Society for the Relief of Sentient Beings 中國濟生會 in Shanghai. One unique aspect of their activities involved spirit-writing sessions during which they received divine revelations from Jigong. These revelations guided their multi-faceted disaster relief efforts during periods of crises. To conduct an in-depth analysis of their initiatives, this study will draw upon a variety of primary sources, such as spirit-written texts, religious scriptures, temple and local gazetteers, and newspaper reports. The main objective of this paper is to shed new light on the significant influence of spirit-writing on the philanthropic activities undertaken by lay Buddhists during the Republican period.



35. ZHOU Liqun 周利群 (Beijing Foreign StudiesU 北京外國語大學): 從早期漢譯佛教天文看宗教中國化的歷史 | The History of the Sinicization of Religion in the Light of Early Chinese Translations of Buddhist Astronomy


From the Three Kingdoms period to the Tang Dynasty, Indian astrological knowledge came to the Han along the desert Silk Road with the translation of Buddhist canon. Through a comparison of the Sanskrit and Chinese translations of Buddhist scriptures such as the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna, Xiuyaojing and the Records of the Western Regions of the Great Tang Dynasty, the history of the early Sinicization of astrological aspects of astronomy and calendars is explored. In astronomy, the Chinese translation of the names of the Indian astrological constellations, using the inherently Chinese names of the 28 constellations to correspond to the Indian 28 constellations, is preferred over the use of the meaningful or phonetic transliteration of the names of the constellations. For the unit of time measurement, the Chinese tradition of dividing the four seasons replaces the Indian system of three or six seasons and corresponds to the Indian twelve astrological months, reflecting the translators’ skilful handling of the natural seasons. At the level of calendrical practice, the adoption of Central Asian or China sun and shadow data in the Chinese translation shows the intellectual adoption of local scientific data. And in the astrological divinations, the blurring of special terms such as mountain and place names from South Asia aids in the ability of the divinations to spread across regions. Overall, the early Chinese Buddhist translations of astrological material often employ locally adapted changes, from which a glimpse of the dissemination strategies and methods adopted by ancient scientific and technological knowledge in the process of the Sinicization of religion can be roughly gleaned.