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2.0 Publications

2.1 Orthodox Chinese Buddhism (2007)
A lot of Western Christians and Jews like to think of themselves as “orthodox,” but Western Buddhists—many of whom experiment by adapting parts of Buddhism—tend to avoid the word “orthodox” to describe what they practice. Yet in Chinese, many Buddhist use the word “orthodox” 正信 to describe Buddhism they consider free from the superstition and transactional commercialism of some forms of popular Buddhism. This book is a translation of one of Chan Master Sheng Yen’s 聖嚴 most popular books in Asia. Also included is extensive supplementary material, including appendixes, annotations, a glossary, and a Sinitic character list. On this webpage, in my capacity as translator and editor, I provide a list of errata and suggested changes to the translated text. Also included for download are three segments of the book. [Book published by North Atlantic Books]

2.2 Flesh Bodies, Stiff Corpses, and Gathered Gold (2006)
Why do Han people generally fear corpses, yet enshrine and worship a few select corpses? Why do supposedly filial Han insist that the flesh of their dead family members must all rot away or be destroyed? Why do men marry female ghosts, and let their dead brothers adopt their sons? This article examines how Han, focusing on those in Taiwan, deal with different types of dead bodies and how such behavior relates to their broader ideas and practices regarding the dead. This webpage includes a list of errata and additional comments on the text, links to related websites, and a downloadable copy of the article. [Article published in the Journal of Chinese Religions]

2.3 Buddhist Mummification in Taiwan (2005)
If after you die your body doesn't rot, does that mean you're a saint? Why do some Chinese Buddhists think so? How have these beliefs changed over the past five decades? This article looks at the history of Buddhist mummies, also called "whole-body relics," in Taiwan. This webpage includes a list of errata and additional comments on the text, and links to related websites. [Article published in Asia Major]

2.4 Mind Dharma of the Sixth Patriarch (2010)
This booklet is a translation of Dharma talks given by Master Sheng Yen 聖嚴 in Russia in May 2003. Central to many of the talks is Sheng Yen’s commentary on the verse on “no form” (wuxiang) from Master Huineng’s (638-713) Platform Sutra. [Booklet published on]

2.5 Reintroduction and Diffusion of Mummification Practices in Taiwan, 1959-2011 (2011)
How exactly did mummification practices become re-established and spread in Postwar Taiwan? This brief article, prepared for a presentation at a conference in Paris (Sept. 2011), is too short to answer that question fully, but it does sketch several tentative conclusions and document a bit of the evidence. I adopt a (largely implicit) epidemiological model to explain the transmission of cultural representations, in this case mummification practices and associated beliefs. A more detailed answer would require further documentation of social networks, transmission vectors, and canonical precedents/resonances, as well as more case studies of some of several lesser-studied mummies. I already have some of this additional data and also await the publication of related research currently being undertaken by Taiwanese scholars. [Article published on Réseau Asie & Pacifique website]

2.6 西方学术界对禅宗“东山法脉”的研究 (A Review of Anglophone Scholarship on the Chan Eastern Mountain Lineage) (2014)
本文旨在介绍并评析有关禅宗及“东山法脉” 研究的英文学术论著。首先概述近来禅宗研究的趋势;然后,重点评述David Chappell, John Jorgensen与John McRae对于流行的所谓禅宗法脉及东山法脉疑问及研究,以及相关研究议题的异同之处;之后再以英语学界近来对中国佛教“lineage”(世系、师承、法脉、宗派) 观念的研究为背景,对于东山法脉的特色与历史定位略作议论。[Article published in Foxue Yanjiu 佛學研究 (Buddhist Studies)]

2.7 The Chinese Buddhist Ritual Field: Common Public Rituals in PRC Monasteries Today (2014)
For centuries the performance of rituals has been one of the most common, complex, remunerative, and controversial activities in Chinese Buddhism. This article lays out the contours of the contemporary Chinese Buddhist “ritual field,” focusing on rituals called “Dharma assemblies” (fahui法會) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Based on a selection of announcements and ritual schedules posted in monasteries during 2009-2013, I show which rituals are performed and how they are marketed. I also show when and how frequently certain rituals linked to the annual cycle of festivals are performed, and analyze and suggest categorization schemas for the rituals. Finally, I discuss the relationships between ritual activities on the one hand and commercial activity, monastic revenue, and seminary studies on the other. Annotated translations of six announcements and ritual schedules, followed by transcriptions of the source Chinese texts for these translations, are included in the appendixes.  [Article published in Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies]

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