Buddhist East Asia:   The Interplay of Religion, the Arts and Politics

An NEH Summer Institute ~ May 28 to June 22, 2018 ~ Honolulu, Hawaii ~ Hosted by the Asian Studies Development Program

Buddhist East Asia:  The Interplay of Religion, The Arts and Politics
An NEH Summer Institute

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Useful Weblinks

The links below may provide useful information and further links, when exploring in the field of Buddhism in East Asia.

Bowl with the Eight Buddhist Treasures; Ming dynasty, China; Photo Credit:  www.metmuseum.org

Asia Pacific Research Online by Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek, Australian National University
Buddhist Studies WWW Virtual Library by Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek, Australian National University
Online Resources Compiled by the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies
Resources at the Center for Buddhist Studies, University of California Los Angeles
Resources for Buddhist Studies, Maitripa College, Oregon
Academic Study Resources by DharmaNet International
buddhanet, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc, offers a wide range of information and resources in the form of online magazines, eLibrary, Buddhist studies, ebooks, multimedia, talks, and much more.
Exploring Religions:  Buddhism by the Religious Studies Program at the University of Wyoming covers topics, such as Cosmos, Organization, Time & Worship, Texts & Tales, Timeline, Religious Life, Glossary, Terms, Maps and Life Stages in the area of Buddhism.
Tricycle by the Tricycle Foundation Tricycle provides a unique and independent public forum for exploring Buddhism, establishing a dialogue between Buddhism and the broader culture, and introducing Buddhist thinking to Western disciplines. The site offers resources for e-books, films, online courses and covers topics, such as arts & culture, body & mind, history & philosophy, and more. 

Journals and Publications

Directory of Open Access Journals to search in your interested fields
Publications by the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, CA
Inquiring Mind:  collection of essays, interviews, reviews, poems and others made available through donation-supported, semianual print journal dedicated to the creative transmission of Buddhadharma to the West
History of Japanese Education Translation Series by East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University. Supported by the Center for Research on Japanese Educational History, this translation series has produced three translations of works by Japanese scholars in the field of history of Japanese education, including "The Development of Buddhism and Literacy in Japan." All volumes are available in free PDF files.

The Collected Works of Korean Buddhism:  all the 12 volumes in their entirety are downloadable from the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies

H-Buddhism Bibliography Project:  one of the networks in H-net Humanities and Social Sciences Online. The bibliography project offers information on publications and articles in the field of Buddhism. It is possible to tag and narrow scopes within the bibliography site.
Bibliography on Buddhist Ecology and Environmentalism provided by Professor Les Sponsel, University of Hawai‘i
Languages and Dictionaries

Resources for East Asian Language and Thought by Dr. Charles Muller, University of Tokyo

Digital Dictionary of Buddhism by Dr. Charles Muller, University of Tokyo
Projects and Resources at the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia provided by Buddhism & Australia:  International Conference on Buddhism. Categories cover architecture, Buddhism and science, geography, monasteries, symbols, writers, deities, history, and much more and cover all traditions of Buddhism.
Libraries and Museums
The Arizona State University Library Guides on Buddhist Studies
Digital Library & Museum of Buddhist Studies--National Taiwan University
Asia for Educators by Columbia University
The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art
Harvard-Yenching Library--Asia Collections
Japanese Woodblock Prints at Honolulu Museum of Art:  More than 6,000 out of 10,000 Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints are digitized


Buddhist Film Foundation:  it is the world’s leading resource for Buddhist-themed and Buddhist-inspired cinema. Its mission is to utilize the powerful medium of motion pictures to foster knowledge and appreciation of core Buddhist principles: the practice of compassion, and respect for impermanence and the interdependent web of connectivity of our world
Tricycle Film Club:  Buddhist films and discussion for the Tricycle Community. The Tricycle Foundation is a non-profit educational organization that is dedicated to making Buddhist teachings and practices broadly available
Thus Have I Seen THIS Buddhist Film Festival of 2016:  biennial event that aims to promote awareness of the Buddha’s timeless Teachings and the diversity of Buddhism through specially curated films that reflect the cultural, social and religious aspects of this world religion
Film Series from our 2015 NEH Buddhist Asia Summer Institute

Filmography:  Buddhism in East Asia:  bibliography, films with synopsis, and more


East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University:  a webinar, Spirits of the Mind:  Gods, Ghosts, and Meditating Monks in Chinese Buddhist Art by Phillip Bloom, Art History, Indiana University Bloomington. Adobe Connect plug-in required on device to view this webinar.

Buddhist Talks, Chanting and Meditation Audio Library of buddhanet. Recordings of Buddhist chanting, hymns and mantras form different Buddhist traditions and in Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Burmese, and English.
Sutta Readings:  Suttas selected and read aloud by teachers and senior Dhamma practitioners in the Theravada Buddhist tradition
Buddhist Geeks the Multiverse: variety of topics with "geek" twists provided by Buddhist Geeks. They facilitate active exploration of Dharma in the Age of the Network
Dharma Media by DharmaNet International offers various audio and video talks in Buddhism ranging from Theravada, Zen, Mahayana, to Tibetan and on variety of topics
Regions and Religions
Living in the Chinese Cosmos:  Understanding Religion in late-Imperial China (1644-1911):  features different religions in China in historical context
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization
A Universal Guide for China Studies--Chinaknowledge
Modern Chinese Literature and Culture Resource Center--The Ohio State University
East Asian History Sourcebook by Fordham University
East Asian Buddhist Studies:  A Reference Guide maintained by the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. The site offers bibliographical information in areas, such as spiritual collections, Asian translations of the scriptures, methodology and history of Buddhist studies, and more
Korean History:  A Bibliography by Kenneth R. Robinson
Information on Korean Buddhism by the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies:  provides links to various sites that contain information on Korean Buddhism, such as general resources, monasteries, teaching and practice centers, art and architecture, and more
Silk Road Seattle--Walter Chapin Simpson Center for The Humanities at the University of Washington
Buddhism, one of the religions featured in Exploring Religions by Religious Studies Program at the University of Wyoming. The site features various aspects of Buddhism, such as Timeline, Organization, Cosmos, Religious Life, Glossary, Maps, and more.
Buddhist Studies by buddhanet offers education material on all aspects of Buddhism:  basic Buddhism guide, online study guide, Buddhist scriptures and teachings, Buddhist history & culture, and Buddhist world.

Buddhism and Its Spread along the Silk Road by the Silkroad Foundation, a non-profit organization, established in 1996, to promote the study and preservation of cultures and art on Inner Asia and the Silk Road. The site offers information on the origin, dissemination and spread of Buddhism into China by way of the silk road. It also provides timeline on the Buddhist activities along the silk road.

Spread of Buddhism offered by Buddha Dharma Education Association & BuddhaNet offers information on how Buddhism spread not only in East Asia but also in South Asia and Southeast Asia, Buddhism across the Himalayas, as well as Buddhism in the West.
Access to Insight offers resources for practice and meditation, such as dictionaries, text archives, self-guided tour through the Pali Canon, and more
Asia Maps, University of Texas libraries
Historical Maps of Asia, University of Texas Libraries
Silk Road Seattle Silk Road Atlas

China Maps, University of Texas Libraries

Korea Maps, University of Texas Libraries

Japan Maps, University of Texas Libraries
Silk Road Spread of Buddhism, an interactive map with information and photographs that illustrates the spread of Buddhism.
Teaching Resources
Teaching about Asia
Asia for Educators, the Weatheerhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University:  includes teaching aids, resources and a library on China, Japan, Korea and other countries in Asia. Topics range from geography, art, language arts, religions and history.
Education about Asia, Association for Asian Studies:  articles on all areas of Asia in wide range of topics from ancient times and cultures to current events, resources for classroom use, sample syllabus, and more.
The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, funded by Freeman Foundation and created jointly by Columbia University, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, Indiana University, the University of Colorado and the University of Washington:  offers seminars, workshops, summer institutes, webinars and other useful resources in the area of teaching about Asia.

Asian Educational Media Services, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:  provides multimedia resources for teaching about Asia, including searchable database, lesson plans, film reviews, and more.

Expanding East Asian Studies Program, Columbia University, funded by the Freeman Foundation:  provides teaching materials and resources, syllabus, and links to online resources for teaching about Asia and more.

Five College Center for East Asian Studies, Five College Consortium:  classroom resources, links to useful organization and sites, publications, events and more.

Programs in International Education Resources, Yale University:  PIER-East Asian Studies, established in 1974, works to strengthen the understanding of East Asia – China, Japan, and Korea. Provides online resources, classroom resources, media resources and more. In addition to East Asia, it also provides resources in African, European, Latin American and Middle East Studies.

Primary Source, a nonprofit professional development center for educators in the areas of world history and cultures. Offers resources on teaching about Asia, including resource guides, seminars, publications, modules and more.

Resources Compiled by Scholar Participants during Institute

Intro Text on Buddhism

Mitchell, Donald W., and Jacoby, Sarah H. Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience. Third Edition. Oxford, 2014. ISBN 9780199861873. 

Keown, Damien. Buddhism:  A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2013):  It is short, so it is good if you are planning to have a short (but thorough) introduction before launching into something else or if you have Buddhism as a part of a course that is not entirely focused on Buddhism.
Lopez, Jr., Donald S. Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics, 2004):  it is a good (and affordable) collection, but it is arranged topically rather than geographically or chronologically, so it requires a bit to navigate.
"Roughly" Contemporary Memoir

Nonomura, Kaoru. Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan’s Most Rigorous Zen Temple. Kodansha International, 1996. ISBN 9784770030757. 

Primary Source Collection

Addis, Stephen., Lombardo, Stanley., and Roitman, Judith. Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea, and Japan. Hackett, 2008. ISBN-13: 9780872209091:  Crosses China, Korea and Japan, and includes a good introduction essay and materials by women and laypeople

BDK English Tripiṭaka Downloads:  A great online primary source storehouse, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai's extensive collection of free downloadable translations
Contemporary Anthologies on Chan/Zen

Heine, Steven., and Wright, Dale S. Zen Masters. Oxford, 2010. IBSN 9780195367652

Heine, Steven., and Wright, Dale S. Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice. Oxford, 2008. ISBN 9780195304688. 

Zen (Japanese) Art:  with color pictures and good introduction

Addiss, Stephen., and Daido Loori, John. The Zen Art Book: The Art of Enlightenment. Shambala Press, 2009. ISBN 9781590307472. 

Women in Chan/Zen

Arai, Paula Kane Robinson. Women Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns. Oxford, 1999. ISBN 9780199928682.​

Schireson, Grace. Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters. ISBN 978-0861714759.

Ambros, Barbara R. Women in Japanese Religions (Women in Religions) (NYU Press, 2015):  Has large percentage devoted to Buddhism
Race, Sexuality and Gender

Manuel, Zenju Earthlyn. The Way of Tenderness:  Awakening through Race, Sexuality and Gender (Wisdom Publications, 2015).

Films and Video Clips
The Heart Sutra Rap by EVISBEATS:  Short, so good for class. You can also find electronica sutra chanting, metal bands performing sutras, etc.
Film, Ikiru (To Live) by Akira Kurosawa:  although the narrative is not explicitly about Buddhism, it could be viewed as wonderful depiction of the idea discussed – understanding the Mahayana path by asking oneself, "how would I function as a Bodhisattva within the communal world I find myself?”
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center collaborates with Buddhist Film Foundation and hosts the International Buddhist Film Festival. The 2018 festival showcases Zen for Nothing, Honeygiver among the Dogs, and My Son Tenzin in June in San Rafael, CA.
  • Zen for Nothing:  The title may be provocative, but this masterful documentary immerses us in life at a Japanese Zen monastery over three seasons of a year. Swiss novice Sabine arrives at Antaiji and her learning process begins: how to bow, sit, move, behave. But there’s more to life in the monastery than meditation, farming and maintenance—there are also picnics, music and Wi-Fi! Beautifully photographed, this film could be described as Into Great Silence meets Enlightenment Guaranteed, with Oakland-based composer Fred Frith performing an elegant score. In Japanese and German with English subtitles. Director: Werner Penzel. (Germany/Japan 2016) 100 min. plus discussion.
  • Honeygiver among the Dogs:  The first feature by Bhutanese Dechen Roder is her feminist twist on film noir. It’s also a beautiful and provocative journey into contemporary Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom, making the case that a creative cinema community is growing there. When the abbess of a Buddhist nunnery goes missing, policeman Kinley gets on the case, and his number one suspect is sexy Choden, who regales him with legends about enlightened female deities fighting social oppression. He dismisses her stories as “rumors,” given that he eyes Buddhist murals with suspicion rather than awe. In Dzongkha with English subtitles. Camera: Jigme Tenzing. Writer/Director: Dechen Roder. (Bhutan 2016) 132 min.
  • My Son Tenzin:  This Bay Area production in English is a warm-hearted and clear-eyed look at life in exile for a new generation of Tibetans separated from their homeland by more than distance. Tsering Dorjee Bawa (who will also give an live performance of Tibetan songs) stars as a monk who arrives in the US in search of his grown son Tenzin, sent away years earlier to get an education. Co-director Wangchuk is a veteran radio producer for Voice of America Tibetan, and he brings to his film an intimate knowledge of the dilemmas of the exiled confronting cultural, political, familial and spiritual challenges. Directors: Tsultrim Dorjee, Tashi Wangchuk. (US 2017) 70 min. plus music performance and discussion.
Goma fire rituals:  a dramatic clip and more of a quieter clip
Kate Bush's 1986 music video about a death-dealing sound, "Experiment IV":  it was terrifying at the time and is probably even more terrifying now that this concept of "a sound that could kill someone/at a distance" is no longer the stuff of sheer speculation. 
Okuyama Yoshiko. "Shinto and Buddhist Metaphors in Departures." Journal of Religion & Film, Vol. 17, No. 1, April 2013.:  it is pertinent and helpful, especially when teaching the film, Departures.
Short Articles

Lion's Roar:  Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time:  provides Buddhist teachings, nhews and perspectives so that t he understanding and practice of Buddhism flourishes in today's world, and that its timeless wisdom is accessible to all. Where Will You Stand? by Rev. angel Kyodo williams and Beyond Privilege:  a Q&A with angel Kyodo williams

Thick Nhat Hanh. "The Environment is You:  A Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh--Denver, Colorado, August 29, 2007." Human Architecture:  Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, Vol. 3, Summer 2008, 15-20.
Dictionaries and References
Damien Keown's A Dictionary of Buddhism by Oxford Reference:  In addition to diacriticals and brief meanings, this dictionary features broad-ranging entries on the history and doctrines of the major Buddhist schools, information on the spread of Buddhism in Asia and the West, and coverage of issues of contemporary concern such as human rights, abortion, euthanasia, ‘engaged Buddhism’, and the role of women in Buddhist teachings.
Buswell, Robert., & Lopez, Donald. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton University Press, 2013):  college/university libraries may have online subscription of this dictionary, which is fully searchable and easy to navigate.
A Primer in Chinese Buddhist Writings by John Kieschnick at Stanford University:  useful as a way of either getting up to speed for reading Buddhist texts in classical Chinese, but also as an introduction to reading classical Chinese. The first part is a very clear exposition of grammar and sentence construction with easily understood examples.
References Mentioned in Lectures during Institute