Anthologizing the Great Way

Tue, Mar 31, 2015, 5:00 pm

Co-sponsored by East Asian Studies Program and the Buddhist Studies Workshop. 


Princeton University Buddhist Studies Workshop

Paul Harrison

Stanford University

Anthologizing the Great Way

This talk presents some reflections on four Indian Buddhist commentaries which are today valued primarily as anthologies of passages from Mahāyāna sūtras. The four include the well-known Śikṣāsamuccaya of Śāntideva (ca. 8th century) and the Sūtrasamuccaya attributed to Nāgārjuna (date uncertain). This is a report on work in progress, with a great deal yet to be done, but already we can see certain issues coming to the fore, including questions of authorship, authorial purpose, structure, and continuity of tradition, both religious and literary. Who is talking? How do they present the Mahāyāna? And what do their compilations mean for our understanding of this particular variety of Buddhism?

Paul Harrison taught for over 20 years at Canterbury University in his native New Zealand before taking up a position at Stanford in 2007. At Stanford he is chair of the Religious Studies Department and co-director of the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies. His research concerns itself primarily with the interpretation of Buddhist literature, in particular Mahāyāna sūtras, but he is also active in the study of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts.

5 Ivy Lane, Seminar Room

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