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1.0 Unpublished Research

The following webpages describe research that has not (yet) been published.This research does not necessarily represent my current interests, nor does it include various other projects I might like to publish. Mainly, it presents research on projects that I (1) thought had an interesting visual component, and so were suitable for presentation online, and (2) might never take the time to publish.

1.1 A True Likeness of Śākyamuni?
Did the historical Buddha look more or less like an ordinary Indian man? Or, did he appear as an ageless divinity with golden skin, a cranial protuberance, and other special, non-human features? The vast majority of relevant canonical and commentarial Buddhist literature, as well as the weight of artistic tradition, strongly indicates that his appearance differed significantly from that of a Homo sapiens. Yet one set of closely-related images that depict Śākyamuni as a fully human, middle-aged Indian man, and which claim to be accurate representations of him, have found their way into Chinese monastic quarters and Buddhist websites. This essay briefly describes and contextualizes this set of images. Photographs are included.

1.2 Buddhist, Daoist, or Capitalist?
If someone considers himself a Buddhist and has spent decades performing rituals that involve using mostly Buddhist images, symbols, scriptures, and spells, can we then consider him a Buddhist? Suppose that he also clearly distinguishes himself from competitors, who perform what both he and they consider “Daoist” rituals. Suppose further that his customers as well as his competitors identify him as a Buddhist. In Taiwan there are lineages of such ritual masters whom, during the Japanese rule, were registered by the government as Buddhist clerics (sō 僧), but whom the post-Japanese government has insisted on registering as Daoist priests 道士. This essay briefly describes some of these ritual masters within the context of a single set of funerary rituals. Ten video clips are included.

1.3 Translation of Japanese Article on Chinese Mummies
This is a rough translation of the first several pages of a Japanese article on Chinese Buddhist mummies. The first part of the article discusses the term "true bodies" (zhenshen) and  its relation to mummies. At some point I would like to edit and go further in this translation. .