WORKSHOP> Special Workshop on Early Chinese Buddhist Translations with Jan Nattier at Yale University

Eric Greene's picture


With the generous support of the Research Center for Buddhist Texts and Arts (Peking University), the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University is pleased to announce a special 3-day workshop on early Chinese Buddhist translations led by Professor Jan Nattier, to be held on October 13-15, 2017 at Yale. The full description of the topics to be covered is given below.

Professor Nattier is one of world’s foremost experts on the rarely-studied corpus of early Chinese translations of Buddhist texts, and this workshop is a unique opportunity to read such materials with her. The workshop is open and free of charge to all interested graduate students and faculty. Lunches and dinners will be provided for all participants.

FUNDING is available to cover travel and accommodation expenses in New Haven for a limited number of graduate students coming from anywhere in North America. To apply for funding, you must be enrolled in, or set to begin in fall 2017, a relevant MA or PhD program. Please send a brief cover letter explaining your reasons for wishing to attend and your background and qualifications. Your advisor at your home institution must also send a (brief) email indicating your status and confirming that you have their support to attend.  When applying for funding, please indicate what city you will be traveling from.

The final DEADLINE for applying for funding is August 1st 2017, but funding will be allocated on a rolling basis (first-come first-serve). Funding is limited, so you are encouraged to apply as soon as you can.

Anyone not applying for funding must still REGISTER to confirm their participation, no later than September 1st 2017.

Please direct all inquiries and send funding/registration applications to:


The specific topic of the workshop will be two unusual Chinese versions of the story of the final nirvana (i.e., the death) of the Buddha’s foster mother, Mahāprajāpatī:  大愛道般泥洹經 (T144) and 佛母般泥洹經(T145).  We will consider, first of all, how to evaluate the translator attributions given in the received tradition.  Having established the probable dates and attributions of these texts, we will begin to read through them, discussing what to do with Buddhist names and terms that are not registered in existing dictionaries.  We will then compare these two Chinese versions with other versions of the story extant in Chinese, Tibetan, and Pāli, in an attempt to place the texts we have read within their historical context.

Reading materials for the workshop will be entirely in Chinese, and a basic competence in classical/literary Chinese will be assumed of all participants. Those with knowledge of other Buddhist scriptural languages are welcome to use those to consult parallels to our texts, but such collateral work will not be expected or required.


Eric Greene

Department of Religious Studies
Yale University