Ang Zou

Contact Details

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Ghent University
Blandijnberg 2
5th floor, office 150.013
B-9000 Gent

Research Interests

Vinaya, Tang Buddhism, history of Buddhist monasticism

PhD Dissertation

Daoxuan and his Mahayanization of the Sifen lü

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) many Buddhist masters proposed new ways of panjiao (‘classification of the Buddha dharma’), and the scholar monk and Vinaya specialist Daoxuan (702-760) was one of them. Unlike others, he was not satisfied with the basic doctrinal Vinaya text Sifen lü, but based on this text he set forth his own visions on the monastic rules. He achieved this through a process of amendments which he himself referred to as ‘cutting off what is redundant, and padding up what is lacking.’ In this process he endowed sections of the source text with certain Mahayana Buddhists characteristics. His contemporaries had mixed responses to his treatment of the text: some highly respected him and others criticized him severely.

The present research attempts to provide a clearer understanding of this process: One of the main questions under investigation is Daoxuan’s understanding of Mahayana; secondly, his amendments to the Sifen lü are analyzed in detail, based on Daoxuan’s overall vision of Buddhism. In addition, the thesis deals with the reactions to his contemporary scholar monks by carefully examining the writings of both his admirers and critiques of his ideas. The present study not only aims at concretely demonstrating the course of events triggered by Daoxuan’s endeavor, but also attempts to discuss the validity of Daoxuan proclamation in the context of his time, especially considering the fact that several important works of his contemporaries are lost.


Master of Arts SOAS London UK, 2012

  • Teaching: MA course on Religions of Asia and Africa
  • Thesis: Fighting for the Platform: From the Transmission of Vinaya Lineage from China to Japan to the Advocacy of Exclusive Mahāyāna Ordination

Master of Arts Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies University of Kelaniya Sri Lanka, 2011

  • Teaching: Master Program in Buddhist Studies
  • Thesis: A Brief Study on the Sequential Order of the Arising of Manaskara and Sparsa in Light of the Yogacara List of Dharmas

Bachelor of Arts, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, 2009

  • Pali and Buddhist Studies
  • Thesis: Faxian and his travel account, with special focus on Ceylon