From 6-7 July 2010, UKABS held its 2010 conference, ‘Historiography, adaptation and contemporary practice’, hosted by the White Rose East Asia Centre (WREAC) and Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds.
The two-day national conference brought together leading scholars with the purpose of developing and disseminating research on Buddhist doctrine and practice from both historical and current perspectives. It was one of the largest that UKABS has held, attended by 60 delegates, including scholars, monastics and government representatives from the US, Canada, Belgium, Japan and Cambodia, as well as from Buddhist organisations, schools and 14 universities in the UK.
The programme was lively and varied, investigating diverse Buddhist forms, traditions and contemporary practices from a variety of angles and methodological approaches, stimulating debate and exchange across disciplines and regions. Conference papers ranged from ideas of gender and madness in the Pali canon, Chinese and Tibetan historiography, pilgrimage, insight meditation practices, Buddhism and the state in contemporary Thailand, Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in contemporary China, Tibetan Buddhist ritual traditions, monastic discipline, and Buddhist images in modern China. The first day was rounded off with an evening talk and slideshow on a project to find and record Mongolian monasteries destroyed during the 1920s and 1930s. The conference included two sessions for postgraduate papers, enabling these young scholars to receive extensive feedback from leading academics.
Since its founding in July 1996 UKABS has held an annual conference, including one-day events at the School of Oriental and African Studies and at York (2008); and two or three-day conferences at Oxford (2007), Lancaster (2006), and Bristol (2000). These conferences have been extremely successful at bringing together internationally recognised scholars and providing fora for exchange and discussion across geographical and disciplinary boundaries.
The 2010 conference was supported by the White Rose East Asia Centre (WREAC); Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, Dharma Drum Mountain; Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds; and the United Kingdom Association for Buddhist Studies (UKABS). Its organising committee was Martin Seeger, Francesca Tarocco, Ian Harris, Jane Caple.
Conference papers (in programme order):
Professor Steven Collins (Chicago): “No-self, gender, and madness”
Dr Joanna Cook (Cambridge): “Remaking Thai Buddhism through international pilgrimage”
Professor Duncan McCargo (Leeds): “Buddhism, legitimacy and violence in southern Thailand”
Jane Caple (Leeds): “Contemporary revival and development of Gelukpa monasticism in Qinghai (Amdo)”
Berthe Jansen (Oxford): “Buddhist and non-Buddhist themes contained in Tibetan wedding recitations”
Dr Kate Crosby (SOAS) (with input from Dr Catherine Newell and Phibul Choompolpaisal):“From mainstream to marginal and back again: an overview of our current knowledge of ‘tantric’ (yogavacara) Theravada”
Sue Byrne: “Searching for Mongolia’s Buddhist past as memories and traces fade”
Dr Cathy Cantwell (Oxford): “Framing and re-framing ritual traditions in twentieth and twenty-first century Tibetan Buddhism: the case of the Seed of Immortal Life”
Dr James Benn (McMaster): “A Chinese apocryphal sutra in its eighth-century context”
Lewis Doney (SOAS): “The daṇḍa-swinging Dharmarāja: early Tibetan appropriations of Indian Buddhist narratives”
Frederick, Shih-Chung Chen (Oxford): “A pagan god transformed into a Buddhist god or a Buddhist god transformed into a Chinese god? A new study of the origin and the development of the Great God of the Five Paths 五道大神”
Professor Ann Heirman (Ghent): “Speech is silver, silence is golden? Speech and silence in the Buddhist saṃgha”
Dr John Kieschnick (Bristol): “The adjudication of sources in traditional Chinese Buddhist historiography”
Dr Francesca Tarocco (Manchester): “Buddhist images in modern China”