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Zhongfeng Mingben and the Case of the Disappearing Laywomen

Date: November 9, 2012

Time: 4:00 - 5:30pm PST

Language: English

Lecturer: Dr. Natasha Heller
AD208, University of the West
1409 N. Walnut Grove Ave.
Rosemead, CA91770
Tel: 626-571-8811

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Lecture Details:

Date Topics
November 9, Friday Zhongfeng Mingben and the Case of the Disappearing Laywomen

Zhongfeng Mingben 中峰明本 (1263-1323) was one of the most important Buddhist figures of the Yuan dynasty, who was sought out as a teacher by monks from across Asia and attracted many prominent lay disciples. His official biographies emphasize his wide popularity alongside his successful teaching career and written works, but also present Mingben as living in a male world. Yet if we probe at the margins of these sources, it is possible to uncover laywomen who played a role in his career. Exploring what we can know about these women adds another dimension to the picture of female devotion at this time, and offers a corrective to androcentric narratives of Buddhist monks.

About the Lecturer :

Dr. Natasha Heller is an assistant professor at UCLA (Ph.D., Harvard University). She is currently completing a monograph that explores the cultural competencies necessary to be a successful monk through the life of the Yuan-dynasty Chan master Zhongfeng Mingben. Recent publications include “Why Has the Rhinoceros Come from the West? An Excursus into the Religious, Literary, and Environmental History of the Tang Dynasty,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 131.3 (2011) and “From Imperial Glory to Buddhist Piety: The Record of a Ming Ritual in Three Contexts,” History of Religions 51.1 (2011).


Organized by the Institute of Chinese Buddhist Studies.
Admission is free and pre-registration is not required. All are welcome to attend!

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