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Online Symposium: “Other Power in Buddhism” to be Held in December


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada is to host an international virtual symposium in December titled, “‘Other Power’ in Indian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese Buddhism: Its Nature and Role in Buddhist Awakening.”

The event, scheduled to be held on 16 December from 5:00 p.m. PST, is the first of a two-part series, and will feature five prominent panelists: Prof. Mark Blum of the University of California, Berkley; Prof. David Eckel of Boston University; Prof. David Matsumoto from the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Graduate Theological Union; Prof. A. Charles Muller, Musashino University; and Prof. Kenneth K. Tanaka, Musashino University.

“The doctrine of ‘Other Power’ continues to perplex many Buddhists and Buddhist scholars, who consider it antithetical to the foundational Buddhist spirit of self-cultivation, the symposium organizer said in a statement. “For many, it even reminds them of ‘grace’ in Christianity. Further, it is often seen to be a teaching exclusive to Pure Land Buddhism, especially among disciples of the 12th century Pure Land master Honen. However, if we define Other Power as the ‘spiritual working or power for the seeking self,’ it is found widely throughout the development of Mahayana thought from India to Central Asia and to East Asia.”

The symposium will be held at the following times (click here to register):

Thursday, 17 December, 2 p.m. (Aukland)
Thursday, 17 December, 12 a.m. (Sydney)
Thursday, 17 December, 10 a.m. (Seoul, Tokyo)
Thursday, 17 December, 9 .a.m. (Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore)
Thursday, 17 December, 8 a.m. (Bangkok, Jakarta)
Thursday, 17 December, 6:30 a.m. (New Delhi)
Thursday, 17 December, 4 a.m. (Moscow)
Thursday, 17 December, 2 a.m. (Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm)
Thursday, 17 December, 1 a.m. (London)
Wednesday, 16 December, 8 p.m. (Montreal, New York)
Wednesday, 16 December, 5 p.m. (Los Angeles, Vancouver)

“The five panelists will explore the nature and role of Other Power in this first of two panels—the second panel will be held in 2021 and focus on Shinran’s understanding of Other Power,” the organizers stated.

Prof. Blum will speak on “Conceptions of Other-Power in Japan,” while Prof. Eckel will talk on “The Logic of Other-Power in the Philosophy of the Indian Mahayana.” Prof. Matsumoto will give a talk titled “Merit and Faith: the Transitional Nature of Tanluan’s Approach to Other Power,” and Prof. Muller will speak on “Cases of Other-Power Soteriology in Korean Buddhism,” while Prof. Tanaka will discuss “The Other Power in Indian Tathagatagarbha Thought: Reassessing the Dichotomy Drawn between Other Power and ‘Buddha Nature.’” 

“This event was originally scheduled as part of the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting, but due to the coronavirus this event and registration will be hosted virtually on Zoom by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society as our annual symposium,” said the forum organizer.

The event is sponsored by UBC’s Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society and the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies (IASBS). For more information: Symposium: Other Power in Buddhism

See more

Symposium: Other Power in Buddhism (The University of British Columbia)
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society (The University of British Columbia)
International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies

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