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03.03.2019 12:18 Alter: 83 days

From Tiantai to Hiei

Call for Papers

Theme: From Tiantai to Hiei
Subtitle: Transborder and Transcultural Spread of Tiantai / Chontae /
Tendai Buddhism and Its Impact on East Asian Societies
Type: International Conference
Institution: Center for Buddhist Studies, Peking University
  From the Ground Up Project, University of British Columbia
Location: Beijing (China)
Date: 6.–8.12.2019
Deadline: 30.4.2019

The organizing committee for the international conference on “Tiantai
Buddhism and East Asian Societies” cordially invites the submission
of related papers. The conference is hosted by the Center for
Buddhist Studies at Peking University in Beijing, China, and
co-organized by the From the Ground Up project based at the
University of British Columbia ( The conference
will be held between December 6 and 8, 2019 at Peking University.

It would be difficult to find a more influential Chinese Buddhist
monk than Tiantai Zhiyi (538-597). He wrote a seminal treatise about
Indian Buddhist meditation practices (e.g., Great Treatise on
Concentration (śamatha) and Insight (vipśayanā), Mohe zhiguan,
advocated for classifying the teachings (panjiao) of the historical
Buddha Śākyamuni into the five periods and eight teachings, and he
wrote or monumental commentaries to three key Mahāyāna sūtras are
attributed to him. These sūtras include the Lotus (Fahua xuanyi and
Fahua wenju), Suvarṇabhāsottama (Jinguangming jing xuanyi and
Jingguangming jing wenju), and Vimalakīrtinirdeśa (Weimo jing xuanshu
and Weimo jing wenshu). Furthermore, by the 9th century the temple on
Mount Tiantai in present day Zhejiang province which legend says was
commissioned immediately after his death by emperor Sui Wendi (r.
581-604), Guoqing monastery, had become the focus of pilgrimage by
monks from Japan and Korea. Pilgrims including Saichō (767-822),
Ennin (794-864), and Enchin (814-191) returned with Zhiyi’s teachings
and those from their contemporaries at Guoqing si to establish two of
the most enduring monastic institutions in Japan: Enryakuji on Mount
Hiei and Onjōji (alt. Miidera).

Compared with other Buddhist traditions in East Asia, Tiantai/
Chontae/Tendai seems to have maintained particularly intensive and
extensive engagement in doctrinal debates, resulting in the
increasing deepening and widening of Buddhist teachings and practices
as shown, among others, by the rare documents known as
“Tōketsu” (Authorizing Answers from Tang China). These documents
amply demonstrate the multi-directional nature of the impacts between
East Asian Buddhist communities and broach the extent to which
Chinese Tiantai Buddhist scholiasts were influenced by their
counterparts in Korea and Japan.

Tiantai adherents revolutionized the ritual life of Buddhism across
China during the 10th and 11th centuries when the Jiangnan region
remained a vibrant crossroads for monastics from across East Asia;
Uicheon (1055-1101) traveled to Song China from Goryeo Korea to meet
eminent Tiantai and Huayan teachers. For nearly a millennium
thereafter, monastics from the Tiantai or Tendai or Chontae
traditions in China, Japan, and Korea interacted with members of
other Buddhist traditions (esp. Vinaya, Chan, Huayan, or Esoteric
Buddhism) and beyond to fundamentally shape religion in East Asia.

This conference seeks to address how Tiantai Buddhism spread
throughout East Asia, and to explore how Tiantai teachings and
teachers contributed to the multi-dimensional and multi-directional
circulation of book culture in East Asia. In particular, we seek to
investigate how Tiantai texts were exported from China to the rest of
East Asia, and conversely how their re-importation back into China,
especially from the Korean peninsula and Japan, transformed not only
the intellectual history of East Asian Buddhism, but also how the
trade in specifically Tiantai books—not necessarily Buddhist—can be
an innovative lens through which to examine the social, economic,
institutional, and religious life of East Asia.

In order to retrace the historical development of East Asian Tiantai
Buddhism that spread from Mount Tiantai and the Jiangnan across East
Asia, this conference proposes the following themes that are not

- Translation, collection, compilation and propagation of East Asian
 Tiantai Buddhist texts;
- Circulation and redistribution of Tiantai literature across East Asia;
- East Asian Tiantai Buddhists and the book trade;
- “Currents and Countercurrents”: Doctrinal debates among Tiantai/
 Chontae/Tendai Scholar-monks;
- Philosophical Development in Tiantai/Chontae/Tendai: A Pan-East
 Asian Perspective
- Practices and transmission of East Asian Tiantai Buddhism and the
 development and changes in other East Asian societies;
- East Asian Tiantai Buddhism and painting, sculpture and art;
- East Asian Tiantai Buddhism and literature;
- East Asian Tiantai Buddhism and medieval astronomy, calendrical
 calculations, mathematics, and science;
- East Asian Tiantai Buddhists and miracle tales
- East Asian Tiantai Buddhism and the spread and development of
 technological inventions and transformations in medieval Asia;
- Interactions between East Asian Tiantai Buddhists and non-Buddhist
 religious teachers, traditions and developments;
- Tiantai Buddhism and the military and diplomacy in East Asia.

The organizing committee welcomes all paper proposals related to
Tiantai Buddhism and East Asian societies. All conference-related
costs, including local transportation, meals and accommodation during
the conference period, will be covered by the conference organizers,
who — depending on availability of funding — may also provide a travel
subsidy to selected panelists who are in need of funding. Please
email proposals and CVs to by April 30, 2019.

A conference volume will collect all the papers in English, plus
English translations of several papers written in languages other
than English; a volume in Chinese, to be published in China, will
include Chinese versions for all papers not written in Chinese in
addition to those papers contributed by our colleagues based in
China. Only scholars who are confident in finishing their draft
papers by the end of October and publishable papers by the spring of
2020 are encouraged to apply.

Conference website: