Mañjuśrī in Motion: The Cross-cultural Characteristics and ‘International’ Impact of the Wutai Cult

Jinhua Chen's picture
Call for Papers
February 15, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Korean History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

The Second International Conference on the Wutai Cult

Mañjuśrī in Motion: The Cross-cultural Characteristics and  ‘International’ Impact of the Wutai Cult”

Primary Sponsor:  Wutai International Institute of Buddhism and East Asian Cultures

Secondary Sponsors: King’s College at the University of London, Tsinghua Institute for Ethics and Religions Studies (IERS), Fudan Buddhist Studies Forum, UBC Buddhist Studies Forum 

Host:            Great Sage Monastery of Bamboo Grove

Venue:             Great Sage Monastery of Bamboo Grove (Dasheng Zhulin si 大聖竹林寺), Mount Wutai 五臺山

Dates:       Afternoon of July 19 (opening ceremony and keynote speeches); July 20 (tour on Mount Wutai); July 21-22 (conference); July 23-24 (tour in Datong 大同, including the Yungang Grottoes complex 雲岡石窟 and several major temples in Datong)

Located in central China, the mountain range known as Wutai 五臺 was perceived as the new Chinese abode for the famous Indian bodhisattva, Mañjuśrī. As such, it came to be widely venerated by Buddhist believers from all over East Asia. This conference explores a plethora of trans-cultural, multi-ethnic, and cross-regional factors that contributed to the formation and transformation of the cult centered on Wutai and its dwelling bodhisattva (Mañjuśrī), as well as the “international” roles (religious, political, economic, commercial, diplomatic and even military) that the Wutai-centered cult has played in Asia and beyond.

Topics for this conference include, but are not limited to:

  1. Wutai’s status as a pilgrimage center in Asia;
  2. Various patterns of interactions between different religious traditions at Wutai;
  3. Presence of and interactions between different Buddhist traditions (Chan, Tiantai, Pure-land, Vinaya, Esotericism, Tibetan Buddhism) at Wutai;
  4. Political and military uses of Wutai by competing powers in East Asia (the international rivalry revolving around Wutai, intensified by its location as a frontier territory for several major forces in Central and East Asia);
  5. Imagination and perceptions of Wutai in East Asian countries and regions beyond China;
  6. Wutai as the model on which sacred sites (including sacred mountains, temples, and shrines) were “cloned” in the rest of Asia (Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Central Asia);
  7. Wutai as the source of inspiration for different forms of literature and arts in Asia;
  8. Wutai as the source of revelations for religious traditions, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist.

The organizing committee welcomes paper proposals related to any aspect(s) of the "internationality" and cross-culturalism of the cult centered on Wutai and/or Mañjuśrī. All conference-related costs, including meals and accommodation during the conference period, will be covered by the conference organizers, who—depending on availability of funding—may also provide a modest travel subsidy to selected panelists who are in need of funding.

This conference is planned as a continuation of a conference on the Wutai cult that was held last summer at Mount Wutai:

Our goal is to bring 15-18 international scholars to the conference, who will be joined by an equal number of China-based scholars working on the Wutai cult. Similar to the last Wutai conference, the conference this coming year will generate two conference proceedings: one in English and the other in Chinese. The English volume will collect all the papers in English, plus the English translations of several papers written in non-English languages; the Chinese volume, to be published in China, will include the Chinese versions for all non-Chinese papers in addition to those papers contributed by our colleagues based in China. Only scholars who are confident in finishing their draft papers by the end of June and publishable papers by the end of 2016 are encouraged to apply.

Thirty-one scholars (listed below) have already confirmed their participation in this conference. We wish to invite five additional scholars to join us. In considering proposals, priority will be given to young scholars affiliated with institutions outside of China. Interested individuals should email their proposals, along with copies of their updated CV, to Jinhua Chen ( by February 15, 2016.

This conference is planned as part of our annual Intensive Program of 

Lectures Series, Conference/Forum, and Fieldwork on Buddhism and East Asian Cultures. Interested graduate student and post-doctoral fellows are welcomed to apply for the whole program:

List of Committed Panelists: 

  1. Prof. Susan Andrews (University of Mount Allison)
  2. Prof. T. H. Barrett (University of London)
  3. Prof. Ester Bianchi (Università degli Studi di Perugia)
  4. Prof. Robert Borgen (University of California in Davis)
  5. Prof. Isabelle Charleux (National Centre for Scientific Research)
  6. Prof. Chen Jinhua 陳金華 (University of British Columbia)
  7. Prof. Chen Huaiyu 陳懷宇 (Arizona State University)
  8. Prof. Chen Long 陳龍 (Xinzhou Normal University 忻州師範學院/Center for the Study of the Wutai Culture 五臺山文化研究中心)
  9. Prof. Chi Limei 池麗梅 (Tsurumi U. 日本鶴見大學)
  10. Prof. Chou Wenshing 周文欣 (Hunter College of the City University of New York 紐約市立大學杭特學院)
  11. Prof. Duan Yuming 段玉明 (Sichuan Univesity 四川大學)
  12. Iwasaki Hideo 岩崎日出男 (Sonoda Women’s University 園田学園女子大学)
  13. Prof. Ji Yun  紀贇 (Buddhist College of Singapore)
  14. Dr. Kuan Guang 寬廣 (University of London)
  15. Dr. Kwak Roe 郭磊 (Dongguk University 韓國東國大學)
  16. Prof. Imre Hamar (Eötvös Loránd University)
  17. Prof. Youn-mi Kim  (Yale 耶魯大學)
  18. Prof. Lin Wei-cheng 林偉正 (University of Chicago  芝加哥大學)
  19. Ven. Nengren 能仁 (Chinese Research Institute for Buddhist Cultures 中国佛教文化研究所)
  20. James Robson (Harvard University 哈佛大學)
  21. Prof. Seok Gil-Am 石吉巖 (Research Institute for Buddhist Cultures,  Geumgang University韓國金剛大學佛教文化研究所)
  22. Prof. Tansen Sen (Baruch College, The City University of New York 紐約州立大學)
  23. Prof. SHENG Kai 聖凱 (Tsing-hua University 清華 大學)
  24. Prof. Barend ter Haar (Oxford University 牛津大學)
  25. Prof. Yinggang Sun 孫英剛  (Fudan University 復旦大學)
  26. Prof. Wang Song 王頌 (Peking University 北京大學)
  27. Prof. Temur Temule  鐵木勒 (Nanjing University 南京大學)
  28. Usui Junji  薄井 俊二  (Saitama University 埼玉大学)
  29. Prof. Dorothy Wong 王靜芬 (University of Virginia 弗吉利亞大學)
  30. Prof. Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Yale University 耶魯大學)
  31. Prof. Zhang Wenliang 張文良 (Renmin University of China 中國人民大學)
Contact Info: 

Jinhua Chen

Depart of Asian Studies

607-1871 West Mall

Vancouver, BC, V6T1Z2, CANADA

Contact Email: