Presentation of Buddhism & Australia Projects at the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium 2015 Conference
Projects associated with Buddhism & Australia were presented at the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium (PNC) 2015 Annual Conference and Joint Meeting at the University of Macau last month as part of the special Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) workshops hosted by UC Berkeley. Co-organized by Academia Sinica (Taiwan), UC Berkeley (USA), and the University of Macau, the main theme of the conference, which ran from 27–29 September, was “Taking Private Data into the Public Domain.”
Held since 1993, the PNC has been committed to enhancing digital research and interaction among researchers, educators, and professionals around the Pacific Rim nations. Its importance and contribution have been widely recognized by academic and scientific communities around the world. This year’s conference hosted speakers from such institutions at Harvard, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Taiwan Chengyi University, Academia Sinica, and the Russian Academy of Sciences, with a total of 157 speakers from 15 different countries being represented.
The ECAI forum was chaired by Professor Lewis Lancaster of UC Berkeley, and workshops included several Buddhist-related issues, such as ancient texts, Buddhist information mapping, new interpretations on historical cultures, maritime Buddhist history, Southeast Asian maritime history, and cultural data management.
Buddhism & Australia is an annual academic conference organized by the Estonian Nyingma foundation in Perth. Both were founded and are currently managed by Buddhist monk-scholar Vello Vaartnou. Buddhism & Australia has been hosted in various prestigious academic institutions in Western Australia since 2012. The conferences are held to unite scholars and Buddhists, provide an effective way for people to study Buddhism, and engage with Buddhist concepts.
Marju Broder, the organizing chair for the conferences and one of the presenters during the 2015 PNC conference, stated: “Estonia Nyingma is dedicated to developing Buddhist studies in Western Australia and building effective and long-lasting partnerships with Chinese Buddhists and scientists through projects such as the Buddhism & Australia academic conferences and the online Chinese Buddhism Encyclopedia.” The next Buddhism & Australia conference will be held in February 2016, marking 10 years of successfully running Estonian Nyingma Buddhist conferences.
At this year’s PNC conference, three speakers represented Australia from Buddhism & Australia Inc and introduced Estonian Nyingma’s history, current goals, and two ongoing projects.
The second of these, the bilingual online Chinese Buddhism Encyclopedia (English to Chinese), has now grown to 45,000 articles in English and contains some 300,000 cross-linked terms, illustrations, and 5 dictionaries. Vello Vaartnou, the project’s author, emphasizes that technology should be used to popularize Buddhism in China, which is considered important due to having the largest population of Buddhists in the world. China’s increasing global influence means that the country has great potential to preserve and develop the Buddhist tradition, influencing the course of development for Buddhism in a positive way.
Buddhism and Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia (online Buddhist encyclopedia, art, and map database)