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State of the Field Seminar: Praying to be born in the Tusita Heaven: Xuanzang and others


Admission requirements

Only for MA students with a good basis in Premodern Chinese


Xuanzang 玄奘 (7th cent.) was the most important translators throughout the history of Chinese Buddhism. This course pays a special attention to the passage describing Xuanzang’s worship of Maitreya in the Grove of Pearls in the Garden of the Law (Fayuan zhulin 法苑珠林) 16 and other related texts. A careful reading of the passage will reveal why Xuanzang accepted the worship of Maitreya, and not the Pure Land. The instructor will also shed a new light on some of Indian and Chinese traditions on the religious stages of Nagārjuna and Asaṅga as well as Vasubandhu as the founders of the two major schools of Indian Mahāyāna. Further, some concrete passages regarding the characteristics of Amida’s Pure Land and Maitreya’s Tusita Heaven in Chinese sources will also be taken up. Students are requested to carefully read the original Chinese texts and try to translate them into English.

Assessment method

Classroom presence and final paper