The International Association of Sanskrit Studies (IASS) is organizing the 17th World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, from 9–13 July. Hosted by the Department of Asian Studies at UBC, it will be the first time that the triennial event is held in Canada.
The WSC is an international forum for professional scholars, researchers, and educators of the Sanskrit language and its literatures, and of related history, religion, and cultures. Some 600 scholars from around the world will present their research findings within the discipline.
The conference program is divided into 24 sections, including panels, scholarly papers, plenary speakers, and keynotes. Most of the research to be presented at the conference ranges from Sanskrit language, grammar, poetry, drama, and aesthetics, to philosophy, Veda, epics, and Buddhist and Jain studies. There are also two special panels on “Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts: Texts, Techniques, and Traditions.”
The author of this news report, a PhD student at The University of Hong Kong’s Centre of Buddhist Studies and a regular contributor to Buddhistdoor Global, will present a paper at the conference titled, “A Linguistics Approach to the Use of the Terms Bhavanga and Bhavanga-citta in the Theory of Continuity of Personality.” The presentation will discuss the relationship between consciousness (citta) and personhood (attabhava), which has attracted scholarly attention recently and is at the center of a lively debate. The author will also present the different ways that discussions on consciousness and personhood have served as an area of academic study for a wider range of issues, including rebirth, and continuity of consciousness until the attainment of nirvana.
The conference will also include a number of cultural performances and lectures open to the public, including the Gala Kutiyattam Performance by Nepathya, introduced by David Shulman of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This performance will be the first time that the ancient Sanskrit theatrical tradition of Kutiyattam, a UNESCO Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, will be performed in Canada. To enhance the public dimensions of the WSC, the Indian Summer Festival will be held in Vancouver during the conference.
The IASS was founded in 1972 after the first International Sanskrit Conference, which was sponsored by the Indian government in collaboration with UNESCO. The primary purpose of the IASS is to organize the World Sanskrit Conference every three years.