Keynote Presentation: A Sense of an Ending: Chinese Buddhist Eschatology Reconsidered

Keynote Presentation: A Sense of an Ending: Chinese Buddhist Eschatology Reconsidered

* Please note that the venue has moved from the C.K. Choi Building Room 120 to The xʷθəθiqətəm or Place of Many Trees (6476 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver)


Date: October 7, 2022, 6:30 pm PDT
Speaker: T. H. Barrett (SOAS)
Location: The xʷθəθiqətəm or Place of Many Trees, Liu Institute for Global Issues, and online
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Abstract: In the 1970s the Cold War was still in full swing, and many had already confronted its possible conclusion in global nuclear annihilation after experiencing the Cuban missile crisis of 1961. Yet in the Anglophone study of Asia no awareness seemed to exist as to the possibility of reactions to that future that might not be identical to those of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. In 1976 however Dan Overmyer published Folk Buddhist Religion, a volume that drew attention to the apocalyptic visions of some popular groups influenced by Buddhist conceptions, amongst others, of global disaster. Since then, more has been written in this vein, and a considerable literature has grown up, including a certain amount concerning reaction in East Asia to climate change. What have we learned over the past five decades?


About the Speaker:

Tim H. Barrett is Emeritus Professor of East Asian History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He studied Chinese at Cambridge and Buddhist Studies at Yale, and spent much of his career publishing on the history of the religious traditions of East Asia, primarily with regard to China. His books include Li Ao: Buddhist, Taoist, or Neo-Confucian? (1992), Taoism Under the T’ang (1996), The Woman Who Discovered Printing (2008), and From Religious Ideology to Political Expediency in Early Printing (2012).