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系所簡介

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系所簡介

Graduate Institute of Asian Humanities華梵大學 東方人文思想研究所
Introduction

 

* I. Ideal and Goal

The Graduate Institute of Asian Humanities at Huafan University was founded in August, 1994. On the basis of the educational ideals of the founder of Huafan University, Venarable Xiaoyun Fashi 曉雲法師(1912-2004), the Institute’s primary goal aims at fostering graduate and post-graduate students with a profound knowledge of the traditional East Asian culture developed in the shape of Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist thought, along with a humanistic concern and a global view for modern communities, which could be grounded on the basis of this culture and ideals. Students are trained to perform the role of the actors and mediators in the modern world of academic, cultural, and economic areas under the current trend of globalization.

* II. Characteristics in Teaching

(a) Content

The Graduate Institute emphasizes and teaches both the reading of the classics, scriptures, canonical texts as well as commentaries composed or compiled by the Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist masters or thinkers, and the modern and pre-modern interpretations based on these ancient sources. All the courses and lectures are designed to enhance the students’ understanding of the ancient texts in Classical Chinese and Sanskrit by means of using modern libraries and digital tools. Both the teaching and the research of the Graduate Institute focus on the intellectual, historical, religious development of the indigenous Chinese Buddhist schools and exegetical traditions, their methods of practice, the confluence with the indigenous philosophical traditions, as well as their impact and influence on the world of modern Chinese thought. Moreover, the Graduate Institute has also established the Tiantai Archive Center (TAC) which contains – besides all the Tiantai classics – the whole collection of all the modern and pre-modern studies on this Chinese Buddhist school – which is the earliest and, probably, the most influential one in East Asian Buddhism. The development of the Chinese Buddhist traditions is rooted in the translation of the scriptures transmitted from India as well as the indigenous philosophy and religious practices. Therefore, the Graduate Institute also offers courses about Confucian and Daoist thought, in addition to the lectures related to Buddhist contents, and the study of Sanskrit and ancient Buddhist Chinese. The scope of texts that these courses and lectures are dealing with includes Buddhist sūtras, śāstras, commentaries, hagiographies, chronicles, materials of historiography, literature and poetry, and Confucian and Daoist classics. Both graduate students as well as those of the doctor class are trained to become competent in performing academic research by reading and understanding all these ancient texts of that research field. The content of the doctor class further specializes on particular topics and issues which concern the confluence of Chinese indigenous culture with Indian Buddhist thought, as well as the independent development of the Buddhist schools in China. The Graduate Institute also cooperates with local and international Buddhist Faculties of other academic institutes and libraries in a diversity of research and teaching projects.        

(b) Languages

The Graduate Institute and its doctor class offer courses of ancient classical languages, such as Classical Chinese of different periods, Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan. In addition to this, students are also trained in modern academic languages, such as Japanese and English. The doctor class also offers lectures in English, besides Chinese.

(c) Division of Classes

Besides the courses for classical languages and academic languages, there are the classes for the graduate students and those for the doctor class students, which deal with the contents introduced in the previous section. Most of the lectures and courses are taught in Chinese.

(d) Tiantai Archive Center

The Graduate Institute has established the Tiantai Archive Center (TAC) which contains all the Tiantai classics and the whole collection of pre-modern as well as modern studies related to this Buddhist school. In each semester, two or three invited guest speakers and scholars lecture on a topic related to Chinese Tiantai Buddhism. Moreover, every two years, this center organizes an international conference on a topic in Buddhist studies. The 2012 conference on Chinese Tiantai Buddhism resulted in a published collection of the peer-reviewed conference articles – Special Edition of Tiantai Studies (Huafan Xuebao Zhuankan) – composed by internationally known scholars of this field from Japan, China, Hongkong, Taiwan, USA, and Europe in Chinese and English. The 2014 conference “Language in the Traditions of Madhyamaka Thought” dealt with the Indo-Tibetan and East Asian traditions of this Mahāyāna school and was attended by internationally well known scholars from Japan, China, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Italy, and Israel. The collection of the conference articles is planned to be published by the prestigious Austrian Academy of Science Press in English. Further events and publications on a regular basis are planned in future. Moreover, the website of the TAC also contains a search function for all the topics and materials collected in the archive. Each academic year offers a course related to the research projects and work of the TAC, which includes and integrates the students’ study into the projects of this center. In this way, students are trained to interact with both the international and the local academia.

(e) Teacher-Student Interactions

Besides the classroom contact, the teachers here are amiable, willing to offer help in solving problems in class and in life – particularly for the student from foreign countries, which also gives much encouragement for students in their learning interests. In a broad sense, this positive relationship may lead students into a path that is healthier and higher in regard to their choice of a life career.

Research Focus:

With the establishment of the Tiantai Research Center (TAC), the focus of research is on the examination and description of the intellectual development of Chinese Buddhism, which includes the issue of translation and transmission of the Indian heritage, the confluence with the indigenous tradition of thought, the emergence of the schools and exegetical traditions in China, their mutual interaction as well as that with Confucianism and Daoism, their methods of ritual and religious practices and meditation, and their influence on the world of thought in the environment of modern Chinese societies. The TAC not only organizes international conferences on relevant topics in the area of Buddhist thought and practice in South Asia and East Asia but also publishes the collections of articles based on those conferences with distinguished and well known publishing companies in the international academia. The scope of research projects conducted by the members of the TAC includes the translation of relevant Tiantai texts into English and other Western languages, the publication of monographs on the development of Tiantai thought and its interaction with other indigenous schools in the intellectual history of Chinese Buddhism, and the exploration of Indian commentaries to Madhyamaka root texts, which are only extant in the Chinese canon.   

 

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