Ghent-Harvard-Munich workshop “Connecting Asian Buddhism(s) Past, Present, and Future”, Ghent University, May 4–6, 2022

Venue: Het Pand, room August Vermeylen, Onderbergen 1, 9000 Gent

The workshop is sponsored by the Strategic Institutional Partnership (SIP) scheme, the Tianzhu Foundation, and Ghent University, Harvard University, and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies (GCBS), University of Ghent, SIP organizing committee:


We are grateful for the participation of the workshop’s two mentors:

James Robson, Professor, Harvard University

James Robson is the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, the Victor and William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center; the Chair of the Regional Studies East Asia (RSEA) program, and the Director of the Harvard Summer School in Kyoto program at Doshisha University. He was also recently appointed as a Harvard College Professor (2020-2025). He received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University in 2002. He specializes in the history of East Asian religious traditions. He is the author of Power of Place: The Religious Landscape of the Southern Sacred Peak [Nanyue 南嶽] in Medieval China (Harvard Asia Center, 2009), which was awarded the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2010 by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres [Prix Stanislas Julien by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France)] and the 2010 Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism, and the editor of the 2015 Norton Anthology of World Religions: Daoism (W.W. Norton & Company). He is the co- editor of Images, Relics and Legends–The Formation and Transformation of Buddhist Sacred Sites (Toronto) and Buddhist Monasticism in East Asia: Places of Practice (London: Routledge). His currently completing a book titled The Daodejing: A Biography (Princeton University Press, Lives of Great Religious Books Series).


Jens-Uwe Hartmann, Professor, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich



This workshop brings together early and advanced career scholars from three institutions (Ghent-Harvard-Munich) to discuss and deepen research on and connections between Buddhist traditions in Asia. We aim to promote intellectual exchange, provide a rich learning and networking opportunity for early career researchers, and build capacity for diverse leadership and participation in the Buddhist Studies community. Within the workshop, early career scholars share their research with peers and a panel of senior faculty serving as workshop mentors. Participants engage in collaborative inquiry and scholarly discourse while at the same time receiving individual feedback and mentorship.



May 4 (Wed)

9:00–9:15                   Opening and welcome remarks (Ghent SIP Organizing Committee)

9:15–10:00                “Meet and greet,” self-introductions and short remarks by workshop mentors James Robson and Jens-Uwe Hartmann


Session 1                   Chair: Lindsey DeWitt Prat

10:00–10:30              Kate Hartmann (Harvard University): Making the Invisible Real: Practices of Seeing in Tibetan Pilgrimage Literature

10:30–11:00              Q&A and feedback

11:00–11:30              Long break

11:30–12:00              Nan Ouyang (Ghent University):  The “Revolution” of Chinese Buddhism of the Mao Era: A Study of the Monastic Life on Mt. Jiuhua (1949–1978)

12:00–12:30              Q&A and feedback

12:30–14:00              Lunch break (self-organized)


Session 2                  Chair: Anna Andreeva

14:00–14:30              Constanze Pabst von Ohain (University of Munich): Buddhist Utopias as Indicators of Societal Conditions

14:30–15:00              Q&A and feedback

15:00–15:10              Short break

15:10–15:40              Julia Cross (Harvard University): Research on Mummies, Relics, and Nuns in Medieval Japan

15:40–16:10              Q&A and feedback

16:10–18:30              Free time, walk in town

19:00–21:00              Dinner (self-organized)


May 5 (Thu)                    

Session 3                   Chair: Ann Heirman

9:00–9:30                Anna Sokolova (Ghent University): The Regional Spread of Vinaya Traditions in the Seventh to the Ninth Centuries China

9:30–10:00              Q&A and feedback

10:00–10:30             Long break

10:30–11:00              Lina Verchery (Harvard University): Shifting Scales, Building Bridges: Doing Buddhist Studies in the Micro and the Macro

11:00–11:30              Q&A and feedback

11:30–11:40              Short break

11:40–12:10              Seongho Choi (University of Munich): Yogācāra Curriculum for Bodhisattva Carrier

12:10–12:40              Q&A and feedback

12:40–14:00              Lunch (self-organized)


Session 4                  Chair: Henry Albery

14:00–14:30              Charles DiSimone (Ghent University): Building Castles from the Sands of Time as the Tide Slowly Rises: Reflections on Buddhist Studies in the Kaliyuga

14:30–15:00              Q&A and feedback

15:00–15:10              Short break

15:10–15:40              Jin Kyoung Choi (University of Munich): The Sanskrit fragments of the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī in St. Petersburg, in Kathmandu, and in Tibet

15:40–16:10              Q&A and feedback


May 6 (Fri)                      

Session 5                   Chair: Lindsey DeWitt Prat

9:00–9:30                  Billy Brewster (Harvard): Saṅghabhadra’s Arguments for the Existence of an Intermediate State (Antarābhava) between Dying and Reincarnation as Translated by Xuanzang (602?–664 C.E.)

9:30–10:00                Q&A and feedback

10:00–10:10              Short break

10:10–10:40              Henry Albery (Ghent University): Constructing a Database of Buddhist Narratives

10:40–11:10              Q&A and feedback

11:10–11:20              Short break

11:20–12:00              Roundtable discussion led by advanced career scholars

12:00–12:15              Closing remarks

Update: workshop pictures