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Topics in the Study of Chinese Buddhist Texts I: Translated Texts

The subject of our seminar this term will be the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (“Nirvana Sutra”). We shall begin by exploring the content and structure of the scripture with especial attention to the translation into Chinese by Dharmakṣema (385–433). In addition to a close reading of the scripture we shall discuss the influence of its ideas on the practice and doctrine of East Asian religions from medieval times to the present. We shall also consider artistic representations of the Nirvana Sutra, especially those from Dunhuang. Students will be introduced to the use of specialised research tools for the study of East Asian religions such as dictionaries, concordances, indices and databases.


Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): Graduate Term(s): Winter Offered?: No Language?: No

James A. Benn

Professor | Director, McMaster University Centre for Buddhist Studies