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Professor Emeritus Raoul Birnbaum to Give Talk on the Interior Life of Master Hongyi

February 3, 2020

On the Interior Life of Master Hongyi 弘一大師 (1880-1942), a Modern Chinese Buddhist Artist-Monk: Three or Four Strands

Raoul Birnbaum, University of California, Santa Cruz

Thursday, February 6, 2020, 5 PM
3335 Dwinelle Hall
UC Berkeley

What can be said about the interior life of an eminent and multi-talented twentieth-century Chinese Buddhist monk? Can we speak of things below the obvious surface, beyond a sequence of events? How can the life of a complex individual be approached? This talk looks to some core elements of Hongyi’s interior life, set in time, based on consideration of a broad array of primary sources: diaries, essays, dream records, correspondence, and other manuscript remains, as well as photographic records and Hongyi’s paintings, calligraphy, poetry, and song compositions. 

Through a career focused on studies of Chinese Buddhist worlds of imagination and practice, Raoul Birnbaum (Professor Emeritus of Buddhist Studies, UCSC) has concentrated on three main topics: the great deity cults of the Chinese Buddhist world; constructions of Chinese geography interwoven with Buddhist conceptions and practices; and the lives of key figures within Chinese Buddhist worlds of the twentieth century, together with their seventeenth-century predecessors and models. He is preparing a book-length study of Master Hongyi and his worlds of practice. 

This event is supported by a generous gift from the Tianzhu Global Network for the Study of Buddhist Cultures and is free and open to the public.

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