The Department of East Asian Studies has invited Buddhist Studies scholars from around the world for a conference on Chan/Zen/Son Buddhism in China, Japan and Korea. Professor and Department Head Albert Welter received generous funding from American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to organize the conference, entitled “Creating the World of Chan/Sŏn/Zen: Chinese Chan Buddhism and its Spread throughout East Asia,” to be held at the University of Arizona in March 29-31, 2018. The inaugural ceremony for the Center for Buddhist Studies will be held concurrently during the conference.
Zen enthralled the scholarly world throughout much of the 20th century, and Zen Studies became a major academic discipline in its wake. Toward the end of the 20th century, some of the biases inherent in Zen Studies began to be exposed, and the parameters of the field shifted markedly into new directions. A consensus formed that the so-called “golden age” of Zen forged by Tang dynasty masters was largely the product of Song Chan revisionism. The aim of the conference is to forge new parameters for Chan/Sŏn/Zen Studies. The focus will be on developments in Chan Buddhism during the 10th through 13th centuries, and their impact throughout the East Asian region in Korea and Japan, both pre-modern and modern, as well as in China after the Song dynasty.