Moving to a New Website: Please Update your Bookmarks!

As part of our recent Renaming Ceremony, held on October 17, 2014, when we became “The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society,” we’ve built a new website:

New Website

This blog has served us well, but all future event announcements, research, reports, videos, and program related content will be posted to the UBC site. Please update your bookmarks!

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Upcoming Lecture: Prof. Shi Zhiru on Bells, Hells, and Dizang in Chinese Buddhism

We are pleased to welcome Professor Shi Zhiru (Pomona College) to UBC.  Her lecture entitled, “For Whom The Bell Tolls: Bells, Hells, and Venerating Dizang in China” will take place at:

  • UBC Robson Square | Room C100 | 800 Robson Street
  • Monday, OCTOBER 20, 2014 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Lectures are free and open to the public. Please register at our Constant Contact Event page. 5 minutes prior to start, any extra seating will be made available.

Shi Zhiru posterclip 1

Professor Shi Zhiru is part of this year’s Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at UBC. This year’s speaker series will focus on Chinese Buddhism to connect with the theme of the upcoming Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, sponsored by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. From October 18, 2014 to January 11, 2015, the VAG will exhibit nearly 200 treasured objects from the collections of Beijing’s Palace Museum. Continue reading

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Public Talk: Prof. Laliberte on Buddhist Philanthropy in China

UBC’s Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program, funded by The Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation, is pleased to welcome Professor André Laliberté, for a talk entitled “The Growth of Buddhist philanthropy in contemporary China,” on June 16, 2014 at the Institute for Asian Research, UBC, Point Grey campus.

  • Date: Monday, June 16
  • Time: 4:00-6:00 pm
  • Place: Room 120, Institute of Asian Research, UBC

Talk description: One of the most unexpected development of the last two decades in China is the steady growth of Buddhist philanthropy. My talk will present the policy context in which Buddhist institutions were invited by local officials in China to assist them in the provision of disaster relief, support to students, and health promotion. My talk will offer evidence from fieldwork over the last ten years and spend some time to introduce the contributions of different kinds of organizations at the provincial, municipal, and temple-level, as well as Taiwan-based Buddhist institutions.

Bio: André Laliberté (UBC 1999) is full professor at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, where he teaches on the politics of China and comparative politics. He is also a research fellow at Purdue University’s Center for Religion and Chinese Society, the Groupe Societés, Religions, et Laïcités in Paris, and the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia at the University of Groningen. He is currently on leave from the University of Ottawa and visiting professor at the Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. He is a co-investigator for a research team funded by the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada on ‘Gender, Migration, and the Work of Care’ looking at the transnational care chain across the Pacific. He has done research in Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, and Hong Kong, and has written on Buddhist philanthropy and the regulation of religion,among others. He has written The Politics of Buddhist Organizations in Taiwan (RoutledgeCurzon 2004), and he has co-edited Secular States and Religious Diversity (UBC Press 2013). Laliberté has received his doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia in 1999.

Continue reading

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“Zen Terrorism: Meditation as a Terrorist Weapon in 1930s Japan”

UBC’s Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program, funded by The Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation, is pleased to welcome Professor Brian Victoria, for a talk on “Zen Terrorism: Meditation as a Terrorist Weapon in 1930s Japan” on June 9, 2014 at the Asian Centre, UBC, Point Grey campus.

Date: Monday, June 9

Time: 4-6 pm

Place: Room 604, Asian Centre, UBC

Speaker: Brian Victoria, currently at the International Research Center for for Japanese Studies in Kyoto

Title: “Zen Terrorism: Meditation as a Terrorist Weapon in 1930s Japan”

Talk description: This presentation focuses on the “Blood Oath Corp” (ketsumeidan), led by the Zen-trained layman, Inoue Nisshô. Inoue has long been mistakenly identified both within and without Japan as a Nichiren priest. However, the lecture will demonstrate that Inoue’s affiliation to the Zen meditative tradition is key to understanding the terrorist acts he and his band were responsible for.

Bio: Brian Daizen Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and a 1961 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. He holds a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from St Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University.
In addition to a 2nd, enlarged edition of Zen At War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Brian’s major writings include Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003); an autobiographical work in Japanese entitled Gaijin de ari, Zen bozu de ari (As a Foreigner, As a Zen Priest), published by San-ichi Shobo in 1971; Zen Master Dgen, coauthored with Prof. Yokoi Yh of Aichi-gakuin University (Weatherhill, 1976); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill, 1972). In addition, Brian has published numerous journal articles, focusing on the relationship of not only Buddhism but religion in general to violence and warfare.
From 2005 to 2013 Brian was a professor of Japanese Studies and director of the AEA “Japan and Its Buddhist Traditions Program” at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, OH. Currently he is a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, Japan where he is writing a book tentatively entitled: Zen Terrorism in 1930s Japan. Brian is also a Fellow of the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies at Oxford University and a fully ordained Buddhist priest in the St Zen sect.

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Upcoming Conference: Buddhism and Politics in the Twentieth-Century

UBC’s Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program, funded by The Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation, will hold a conference on Buddhism and Politics on June 6-7, 2014 at the C.K. Choi Building, Point Grey campus.

***Event is free and open to public registrants*** 

Register here

Refreshments, snacks, and lunch will be available for registered guests. The organizers will offer dinner only to the conference presenters. Meals and refreshments will be available at the Choi Building Lobby during the conference.

Questions about this event may be addressed to Andre Laliberte at, with the subject head: conference on Buddhism and Politics.

Friday, June 6th

Registration: 8:30 – 9:00 AM

Welcoming address and introductions:  9:00 – 9:30 AM

First session: Buddhist utopias: 9:30 – 11:30 AM

  • Tsering Shakya, University of British Columbia, “State secularism and religion in contemporary Tibet.”
  • Barbara Clayton, Mount Allison University, “An analysis of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness.”
  • Marian Gallenkamp, Heidelberg University, “Democratic transformation and the politics of happiness in Bhutan: Guided by Buddhist principles or royal self-interests?”

Second session:  Buddhism and dissent: 1:00 – 3:00 PM

  • Michael Jerryson, Youngstown State University, “Dhammic autocracies and dissent in Buddhist traditions.”
  • Antonio Terrone, Northwestern University, “Burning for a Budhdist cause in Tibet: self-immolations, rationality, and the issue of terrorism.”
  • David Geary, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, “From Rohingya to Bodh Gaya: Terror, conspiracy and the public life of Buddhist heritage in North India.”

Third session:  Buddhists and national identities: 3:15 – 5:15 PM

  • Brian Victoria, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, “The Buddhist military chaplaincy in 20th century Japan and 21st century US: Continuity and change.”
  • Alexander Soucy, Saint-Mary’s University, “Building temples for Vietnam: Buddhism, nationalism and the Spratly Islands dispute.”
  • Matthew King, University of Toronto, “Dorje Shugden and Mongolian Buddhist revivalism: debates and contexts.”

Saturday, June 7th

Fourth session: Global perspectives: 9:00 – 10:30 AM

  • André Laliberté, University of Ottawa, “The global politics of Buddhism.”
  • Douglas Ober, University of British Columbia, “A tryst with destiny? Diplomacy, revolution and Nehruvian Buddhism in the secular Indian state.”  

Fifth session: Transnational perspectives: 10:45 – 12:15 AM

  • Huang Weishan, Univeristy of Göttingen, “Great love from across the ocean: The case study of a transnational Buddhist movement in the era of the religious revival in China.”
  • Deba Mitra Barua, University of Saskatchewan, “Transnational politics, pressure and protection: The politics of/on Bangladeshi Buddhist minority.”

Sixth session: Women in Buddhism: 1:30 – 3:00 PM

  • Christie Chang, Sakyadhita International, “Daughters of the Buddha: Buddhists and/or feminists?”
  • Manuel Litalien, Nipissing University, “Social inequalities and the promotion of women in Buddhism in Thailand.”

Seventh session: Reform and change in Buddhism: 3:15 – 4:45 PM

  • Khun Eng Kuah-Pearce, University of Hong Kong, “State and the Governance of the emerging ethos of Buddhist philanthropy: Reformist Buddhism in Singapore.”
  • Jessica Main, University of British Columbia, “Shin Buddhist internal politics: ‘Uprising’ in the Higashi Hongan-ji.”

Closing session: Publication projects: 4:45 – 5:30 PM


Posted in Buddhism and Politics, Conference Schedules, Conferences | Tagged , ,