Practices of Scriptural Economy: Compiling and Copying a Seventh Century Chinese Buddhist Anthology


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


What are Buddhist anthologies, and what kind of work do they perform on Buddhist texts and their traditions? In my dissertation, I investigate the composition and copying of a seventh-century Chinese Buddhist anthology called _A Grove of Pearls from the Garden of Dharma (Fayuan zhulin)_ as a case study. I hypothesize that _A Grove of Pearls_ can profitably be imagined as a textual trace of what I call “practices of scriptural economy,” a mode of interpreting the written Dharma wherein Chinese Buddhist scholars reduced and re-organized multitudes of Buddhist scriptures to a supposedly more efficacious format. In tracing how Chinese Buddhists cut, collected, and copied scripture, I make clearer how they engaged with scriptural material and the difficulty of its abundance.