A Home Away from Home: The Upper Tianzhu Monastery and the Institutionalization of a Public Teaching Monastery in Song Dynasty China.


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


East Asian Languages and Civilizations


Buddhism in the Song dynasty is usually equated with the ascendency of the Chan school. However, many influential institutions were classified as Teaching institutions (jiaosi), primarily associated with the Tiantai school. Until we better understand the role of Tiantai institutions within the broader Buddhist world we will not fully understand the vibrancy of Buddhist ideas and practices in the long durée of Chinese Buddhism. This dissertation takes one of the central Tiantai institutions, the Upper Tianzhu Monastery (Shang Tianzhu si), as a nexus for an exploration of the interplay between doctrine, ritual, sectarian identity, and institutional practices. By focusing on a single institution, we are able to anchor the religious ideas and practices in its social environment.