Buddhism in Current China - lecture by Ven. Yifa March 1
3 Week(s) 5 Day(s) ago
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Hampshire's Buddhist Studies Fund; Office of Spiritual Life; HACU; Smith College; Amherst College (
"Buddhism in Current China"
The Venerable Yifa
Lecture on March 1 at 5 pm
West Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall
As the founder of the Woodenfish Project in 2002 which moved from Taiwan to mainland China in 2009, the Ven. Yifa has been a first-hand witness of many changes and revivals within the Buddhist community in China. In her lecture, the Ven. Yifa will share her reflections on the phenomena of Buddhist rejuvenation in current China. During the first phase in the 1980's after China's Cultural Revolution, Buddhist leaders derived policies to revive Buddhism. During the second phase, after the thirty years of Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms, reconstruction of giant temples and monasteries on historical sites mushroomed around the country. Under the surface of massive temple reconstruction, we find struggles sparking between the monastic communities that want to uphold cultural traditions, local governments seeking revenue from entrance fees, and investing developers craving monetary profits from temple tourism. The rule and management of sacred temples are in the hands of investors who plan to put the temples to IPO (initial public offering), but some are stopped by the central government's decrees. As we now enter the third phase, the Chinese Buddhist community faces a challenge of cultivating a new generation of more talented monastics to fill the new, massive temples by promoting seminary education and facilitating more modern internet media and propagation of Buddhist dharma.
The ven. Dr. Yifa is abbess of Woodenfish Foundation (Beijing), a lawyer and a scholar of philosophy and religious studies. She is a leader in interreligious dialogue, Buddhist education and in advocacy for women's health and women's rights. Her work has been central to the development of Buddhist political, educational and charitable work in East Asia.
Over the course of 2016-17, the Robed Warriors program brings to the Five Colleges four prominent Buddhist monastic women whose work has transformed contemporary Buddhist practice and the world beyond. Each visiting scholar is in residence for one to two weeks, with Smith College as the home base.
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