Symposium on Literati Buddhism in Middle-Period China

DATE: Saturday, April 19, 2008, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

PLACE: IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor

SPONSORS: Center for Buddhist Studies
Center for Chinese Studies
Institute of East Asian Studies
Townsend Center for the Humanities



This symposium on "Literati Buddhism in Middle-Period China" will explore the intersection between elite culture and Buddhism in the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties (7th through 14th c.). Our hope is to contribute to the understanding of Buddhism's place within Chinese history, as well as bring different scholarly approaches into greater conversation. The topic of the symposium will be of interest to scholars of Chinese culture and history, and well as to those interested in the interaction of religion and society.

The relationship between Buddhist clergy and lay followers has several dimensions: literati who pursued Buddhism as a complement or alternative to state-sanctioned studies; engagement with "Confucian" learning by Buddhist monks; the role of Buddhist sites in literary and artistic imaginations; the use of poetry and calligraphy by Buddhist monks; the role of Buddhist monasteries, temples, and cloisters in local society; and the material instantiations of the relations between monks and literati. Elite lay practitioners of Buddhism had multiple identities, acting as government officials, local leaders, and cultural figures as well. Their devotion to Buddhism entailed both intellectual navigations through divergent ideologies, as well as social action, manifested through economic and personal patronage. Monks, on the other hand, needed to be able to elicit support from local and national figures; this happened on both the level of discourse and through material culture. Monks and literati shared philosophical interests, ethical concerns, and cultural pursuits. By examining their contact in these various spheres, the symposium will address the creation of communities of scholars both through discourse and institutions.


Saturday, April 19
Panel I - 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

Anthony DeBlasi, SUNY-Albany
Thinking about Regulation: Literati and Clerical Views of Monastic Codes

Elizabeth Morrison, Middlebury College
The Category of Ruseng and the Case of Qisong

Morten Schlütter, University of Iowa
The Literati Role in the Evolution of Chan Ideology as Seen Through the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch

Moderator: Mark Halperin, University of California, Davis

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch break

Panel II - 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Albert Welter, The University of Winnipeg
Literati Motive and Literary Craft in Chan Buddhism's Records of Sayings Literature

Miriam Levering, University of Tennessee
What Was Dahui Like? The Representation of a Song Dynasty Chan Master in his Recorded Sayings

Chi-chiang Huang, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Engaging Literati: Literary Monks and Zhang Jizhi (1186-1266) in Late Southern Song

Moderator: Natasha Heller, University of California, Berkeley

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Dinner (for participants and invited guests)
Seaborg Room, Faculty Club



Anthony DeBlasi, SUNY-Albany

Mark Halperin, UC Davis

Natasha Heller, UC Berkeley

Chi-chiang Huang, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Miriam Levering, University of Tennessee

Elizabeth Morrison, Middlebury College

Morten Schlütter, University of Iowa

Albert Welter, University of Winnipeg



The Symposium on Literati Buddhism in Middle-Period China will be held in the IEAS conference room on the Berkeley campus.

Directions to IEAS

IEAS is located on the sixth floor of 2223 Fulton Street at the southwest corner of campus at the intersection of Kittredge and Fulton Streets. Please find IEAS in section D1 of this campus map.

Campus map


If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk south down Shattuck Avenue to Kittredge Street (one or two blocks depending on which station exit you leave from) and turn left. Walk one block to Fulton Street and you will be facing the 2223 Fulton Street Building.

From Interstate 80

To reach the site by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east to Oxford Street and turn right. Oxford becomes Fulton Street in a couple of blocks. We are located in the six-story beige building on the east (left) side of the street.

From Highways 24/13

To reach us from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at Telegraph and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way and turn left. The 2223 Fulton Street Building is at the northeast corner of the Bancroft and Fulton intersection (right side).

Directions to campus are also available at


There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

Other lots:

  • Berkeley Way near Shattuck
  • Center Street near Shattuck
  • Allston Way near Shattuck
  • Kittredge Street near Milvia

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.