CFP Deadline: Feb. 15, China conference on the Wutai Cult

The Second International Conference on the Wutai Cult, ““Mañjuśrī in Motion: The Cross-cultural Characteristics and  ‘International’ Impact of the Wutai Cult” will be held by the Wutai International Institute of Buddhism and East Asian Cultures and secondary sponsors of King’s College at the University of London, Tsinghua Institute for Ethics and Religions Studies (IERS), Fudan Buddhist Studies Forum, UBC Buddhist Studies Forum, July 19-22, followed by tours July 23-24. The host and venue of the Conference is the Great Sage Monastery of Bamboo Grove. Dasheng Zhulin, Mount Wutai.

Located in central China, the mountain range known as Wutai 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:

The organizers’ 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.

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.

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