Program

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships , The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

Project

Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China

Project

The Fabric of Monasticism: Buddhism and Silk Culture in Premodern China

Department

Religious Studies

Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China

This dissertation examines medieval Chinese understandings of foreign saints as portrayed in religious biography and genealogy. It analyzes how the great patriarchs of the Indian Buddhist tradition were domesticated through Chinese hagiographic and historiographical traditions. In particular, it investigates the biographical, ritual, and visual imagery of three important Indian Buddhist patriarchs in China: Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna, and Aryadeva. Beginning with their introduction into China in the early fifth century, these patriarchs became ubiquitous in Chinese religious discourse of all varieties, and they were central to the ways in which medieval Chinese people conceived the history of Buddhism in both India and China, as well as the role of the ideal Buddhist saint within that history.

The Fabric of Monasticism: Buddhism and Silk Culture in Premodern China

Sericulture has always been a central defining feature of Chinese civilization, and silk a cornerstone of Chinese Buddhist material culture. This project investigates how Buddhism in premodern China shaped and was shaped by the ubiquitous Chinese silk industry. In many ways silk was the fabric of monasticism in premodern China–infused within the material and ideal worlds of Chinese Buddhists. Against the backdrop of normative Indian Buddhist pronouncements concerning material production, commercial engagement, attachment to luxuries, and especially killing living beings, the topic of Chinese Buddhist silk culture offers novel insights into monastic identity as a negotiation between avowedly foreign religious paradigms and widespread, culturally embedded, traditions of material production.