The Modern Lives of the Buddha Theater and Global Buddhism


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




My project contributes to the field work of studies on the wake of modern Buddhism via the examination of previously unidentified source material: theater plays and musical dramas that stage the life of the Buddha, composed from 1890 to 1920 by playwrights, poets and philosophers from Europe and the United States. These authors attempted to give shape to a modern Buddha and designed their plays in the scope of the coeval crisis of modern art. I argue that these “Buddha-dramas” offer a new insight on the making of modern Buddhism, as their authors weave together spiritual and artistic issues to make sense of an unsettling and changing world. The expected results are a series of articles and a book project.