Esther-Maria Guggenmos

Esther-Maria Guggenmos was Research Assistant of the FWO from October 2005 until September 2009 and afterwards joined the International Research Consortium "Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication in East Asia and Europe" at the University Erlangen-Nürnberg. 

Contact details

International Research Consortium "Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication in East Asia and Europe" at Erlangen-Nürnberg University (Germany) 

Biographical data

Esther-Maria Guggenmos studied Religious Studies ("Religionswissenschaft"), Sinology, Theology and Philosophy in Münster, Bonn and Taipeh. Finishing her undergraduate education at the University of Münster (Germany), she studied at Fujen Catholic University in Taiwan (DAAD scholarship). After a semester at the University of Bonn, she obtained a Diploma (M.A. equivalent) in Theology (2004) as well as an M.A. in Religious Studies and Sinology (2006) at the University of Muenster. At the same time she kept up working at the Seminary of Religious Studies at Münster University. From October 2005 until September 2009, it was her pleasure to be a member of the Centre for Buddhist Studies and the Department for Eastern Languages and Cultures as a Research Assistant at the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). After four years of intense and inspiring research into lay Buddhism in contemporary Taiwan, she became a Research Fellow within the project  "Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication in East Asia and Europe" at Erlangen-Nuremberg University.

In general, her main research interests are located in the field of religious studies and sinology, especially in contemporary Chinese Buddhism and the relationship between Buddhism and prognostication. Her PhD research focused on biographical self-constructions of lay Buddhists in contemporary Taiwan. She is interested in transmission processes of Buddhist as well as Christian ideas and functions of Buddhism within hybrid cultures. In addition, she worked on the following research areas: Huayan-Philosophy, Buddhist concepts of interreligious dialogue, and questions of acculturation of Christianity in the Chinese context.


Bibliography (2004-2009) (see also

  • GUGGENMOS, Esther-Maria (2006): Engaged Buddhism in Taiwan? Zum Profil eines gesellschaftlich ngagierten Gegenwartsbuddhismus. in: China heute XXV (2006), Nr.3 (145): 105-116.
  • GUGGENMOS, Esther-Maria (2004): 愛與和平的世界 (Ai yu heping de shijie) - Eine Welt der Liebe und des Friedens. Reflexionen über das Museum of World Religions in Taipei (Taiwan) ein Jahr nach seiner Eröffnung, in:Religion & Museum : Zur visuellen Repräsentation von Religion/en im öffentlichen Raum - Bielefeld: transcript, p. 159-194
  • WILKE, Annette / GUGGENMOS, Esther-Maria (2008): Im Netz des Indra. Das Museum of World Religions, sein interreligiöses Dialogkonzept und die neue Disziplin Religionsästhetik, Münster: Lit 2008.
  • PhD (unpublished): "I believe in Buddhism and Travelling" - On the Attractiveness of Denoting Oneself a Lay Buddhist in Contemporary Urban Taiwan. An Analysis of Lay Buddhist Self-construction within the Context of Social Change and Buddhist Reformatory Efforts based on Narrative Biographical Interviews." (advisor: Prof. Heirman).


Lectures and papers at conferences/symposia etc. (selection 2004-2009)

  • 2008 Buddhist Activism in Greater China (Oregon): Does “Engaged Buddhism” Really Reach the People Addressed?: The Impact of Engaged Buddhism and Modernization on Contemporary Biographical Self-construction of Lay Buddhists in Taiwan
  • 2008 Contemporary Chinese Buddhism and Master Sheng Yen (Taiwan): Analyzing Biographical Self-constructions of Lay Buddhists in Contemporary Taiwan- Methodological Questions
  • 2008 IABS (Atlanta): Changes in the Biographical Self-constructions of Lay Buddhists in 20th Century - On the Effects of Modernization and “renjian fojiao
  • 2008 Pluralism and Religious Competition in China in the Age of Globalization (1800-Present) (Cambridge: Does International Buddhist Networking Influence the Biographical Self-constructions of Lay Buddhists in Contemporary Taiwan - Results of Interview based Field Research
  • 2009 AAR (Montreal): (Re)conversion to Buddhism in the Urban Areas of Taiwan