Doctoral School “Women and Nuns in Chinese Buddhism”, Ghent University, June 3–7, 2019

Abstract: The Doctoral School specialist course will focus on “Women and Nuns in Chinese Buddhism”. While adopting a diachronic perspective, it will give ample space to the twentieth and early twenty-first century. This will offer students insight into the status of Chinese Buddhist nuns and women in contemporary Chinese society and within the Buddhist world as a whole. This specialist course contributes to the FROGBEAR project.


Date: June 3–7 2019
Venue: Het Pand (Ghent University)

Thanks to the generous support of the Tianzhu Buddhist Network, we are pleased to award up to 800 Euros in travel remuneration for 5 International PhD students. This money can be used for travel, accommodation, and meals. To apply for this travel grant, please send a one-page cover letter and your CV to The selected candidates will be notified by March 10th.


  • Prof. Ester Bianchi, University of Perugia.
  • Prof. Yu-chen Li (李玉珍), National Cheng Chi University (Taiwan)
  • Prof. Ann Heirman, Ghent University
  • Prof. Chia Longman, Ghent University

Tentative schedule

The five-day course will have 5 contact hours a day (25 contact hours all together) that include lectures, text readings, presentations by the participants, discussions, and documentary film screenings.


Monday, June 3rd : Buddhist Nuns and Women Between India and China

9:30: Welcome Greetings
10:00-12:00: Women in Buddhism: A General Introduction (Ester Bianchi) *
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-15:30: The Foundation and Early History of the Nuns’ Order in China (Ann Heirman)*
15:30-16:30: Screening of the Documentary Film The Buddhist Nuns on Emei Mountain (in English) (Ester Bianchi) *

Tuesday, June 4th : Chinese Buddhist Nuns and Women Throughout the Ages

10:00-12:00: Exemplary Buddhist Nuns and Women: Readings from the Chinese Buddhist Canon (Ester Bianchi) **
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-15:30: Buddhist Nuns and Women in Tang China, with Text Reading (Li Yu-chen) **
15:30-16:30: Methodological Discussion with Students, Moderated by Ester Bianchi and Chia Longman*

Wednesday, June 5th : The Nuns’ Ordination in China and Beyond

10:00-12:00: Buddhist Nuns’ Ordination in Twentieth Century China: Rules, Criteria, Narratives (Ester Bianchi)*
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-14:30: Nuns’ Ordination: The Taiwanese Case  (Li Yu-chen)*
14:30-16:30: Interactive presentation of Students’ PhD Projects*

Thursday, June 6th : Education and Erudition of Nuns in Modern Times

10:00-12:00: Meeting with Modernity: Buddhist Women During Republican China (Ester Bianchi)*
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-14:30: Screening of the Documentary Film on Longlian 《當代第一比丘尼隆蓮法師》(in Chinese) (Ester Bianchi) **
14:30-16:30: Interactive Presentation of Students’ PhD Projects*

Friday, June 7th : Nowadays Nuns and Women in Chinese Buddhism

10:00-12:00: Nuns and Women in the PRC (Ester Bianchi)*
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-15:30: Taiwanese Nuns in the Contemporary Era (Li Yu-chen)*
15:30-16:30: Final Discussion with Students, Moderated by Ester Bianchi and Chia Longman*

* Lectures also suitable for a general audience (no Sinological background needed) (20 hours)
** Sinological background needed (5 hours)