Early Books Lecture Series XVIII: The Japanese Ōbaku Canon 黃檗藏 and Modern Buddhist Canon Compilations in East Asia with Jiang Wu

Early Books Lecture Series XVIII: The Japanese Ōbaku Canon 黃檗藏 and Modern Buddhist Canon Compilations in East Asia with Jiang Wu

The Early Books Lecture Series XVIII was established at the University of Arizona by Dr. Albrecht Classen, University Distinguished Professor of German Studies. For nearly 20 years, University of Arizona scholars have invited the community to explore rare books held by Special Collections, a department of the University Libraries that provides primary resource materials for research and is open to students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

The lectures are free and open to the public. This year's series is available in person and on Zoom

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
4-6pm (AZ)

Professor Jiang Wu, Department of East Asian Studies, College of Humanities
The Japanese Ōbaku Canon 黃檗藏 and Modern Buddhist Canon Compilations in East Asia

Although the creation of various modern Buddhist canons, such as the Taishō canon, is well-known in East Asia, little is known about the fact that the Ōbaku Canon, originated in early modern China but carved in Japan by the Japanese Ōbaku monk Tetsugen Dōkō 鐵眼道光 (1630-1682), a disciple of the Chinese monk Yinyuan Longqi 隱元隆琦 (1592-1673) and the founder of the Japanese Ōbaku Zen tradition.

This canon, however, was the first Chinese canon brought to Europe through the Japanese Iwakura mission in 1875.  Both Samuel Beal (1825-1889) and Max Müller’s Japanese student Nanjō Bunyū 南條文雄 (1849-1927) translated its entire catalogue into English in 1876 and 1883 respectively. These catalogues, predated all the modern canon compilations, introduced modern techniques of textual criticism which greatly influenced scholarly communities in Japan.

This lecture investigates the history of the Ōbaku Canon in China and Japan and evaluates its role in reinventing the Buddhist textual tradition in the modern era.  

About the presenter
Dr. Jiang Wu
(Ph.D., Harvard University, 2022) is director of the Center of Buddhist Studies and professor in the Department of East Asian Studies in the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona.

His research interests include seventeenth-century Chinese Buddhism, Chinese Buddhist canons, spatial analysis of religion, and the historical exchanges between Chinese and Japanese Buddhism. He is the author of numerous books and articles such as Enlightenment in Dispute (Oxford, 2008), Leaving for the Rising Sun (Oxford, 2015), and editor of Spreading Buddha’s Word in East Asia (Columbia, 2016), Reinventing the Tripitaka (Lexington, 2017), The Formation of Regional Religious Systems in Greater China (Routledge, 2022).

Series lectures

Tuesday, April 4
4-6pm (AZ)
Professor Albrecht Classen, Department of German Studies 

Myths about the Middle Ages: Medieval Engineering, War Technology, and Manuscript Illuminations in the Case of Conrad Kyeser’s Bellifortis 

Classen addresses the question: What do we really know about the Middle Ages and its technological accomplishments? Register for the lecture.

Tuesday, April 11
4-6pm (AZ)
Professor Laura Hollengreen, 
College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture
Fit for a Crusader King:  The Thirteenth-Century Morgan Picture Book 

Hollengreen highlights the history of the Morgan Old Testament Picture Book, its lavish biblical picture cycles, and original lack of text. Register for the lecture.

Disability-related accommodations

Questions or requests regarding disability-related accommodations should be directed to Lori Strazza Brown, strazzal@arizona.edu.

Location & visitor parking
Each lecture will be held at the Main Library, Rooms A313/314, on the 3rd floor. A short reception will follow the program. 

University Libraries Main Library is located at 1510 E. University Blvd. on the southwest corner of University Blvd. / Cherry Ave. View the map. 

Visitor parking is available at the Cherry Garage located just east of the Main Library. See parking garage rates.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Main Library - A313/A314
Special Collections
  Open to all  

Registration is required. There are 91 in-person seats available. There are 139 online seats available.