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Articulating a New Message: Reading the Kāśyapaparivarta as an Earlier Mahāyāna Scripture


May 24, 2014
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Hwei Tai Seminar led by Jonathan Silk, Leiden University.  By invitation only. Hwei Tai Seminars in Buddhist Studies. Co-sponsored by the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies and the Department of Religious Studies.

The Kāśyapaparivarta is often considered one of the fundamental scriptures of the emerging Mahāyāna movement. In it we find articulated a depiction of the bodhisattva’s outlook, wherein a central articulation of the Mahāyāna message is developed. Since we possess an almost complete text in Sanskrit, a Tibetan translation, five  Chinese translations, and a commentary (extant in Tibetan and Chinese), materials for a philological study of this text abound. We will examine selected passages of the text, exploring issues such as the relation between prose and verse, the nature and value of translations, the rhetoric of the authors and, if time permits and there is interest, the relation between the scripture and its commentary.


Jonathan Silk (1983 BA in East Asian Studies, Oberlin College; 1988 MA, 1994 PhD University of Michigan, in Buddhist Studies) is Professor in the study of Buddhism at Leiden University, having earlier taught at Western Michigan University, Yale University and UCLA. His research focuses primarily on Indian Buddhism, particularly on the scriptural traditions of the Mahāyāna movement. His publications include Riven by Lust: Incest and Schism in Indian Buddhist Legend and Historiography (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008) and Managing Monks: Administrators and Administrative Roles in Indian Buddhist Monasticism. (Oxford University Press, 2008). He is the Founding Editor-in-chief of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Indo Iranian Journal.