Lecture 'Frontier, Ethnicity and Religion: the Azhali Buddhist Tradition of the Bai People in South-Western China'

For whom
Students, Employees, Alumni
23-04-2019 19:30 to 24-04-2019 21:00
Universiteitsbibliotheek, Rozier 9, 9000 Gent
Vakgroep talen en culturen - Centre for Buddhist Studies
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Lecture by Huayan Wang (Inalco, Paris, France) within the context of the Permanent Training in Buddhist Studies

This lecture focuses on a local Buddhist tradition, the Azhali Buddhism of the Bai people, a minority ethnic population in northwest Yunnan (PRC) who belong to the Tibeto-Burmese group. Azhali means “preceptor or instructor in religious matters” and is the transcription of Sanskrit “Acarya”. They were supported by several successive regimes in this region since the 7th century.Azhali Buddhism became the dominant religion, although some other religious traditions co-existed there as well.

According to historical records, ritual manuscripts, and fieldwork observations, I will discuss (1) the origin, evolution, and characteristics of the Azhali Buddhist tradition; (2) the relationship between this tradition and the construction of the Bai’s ethnic identity; and (3) its present practice, particularly its transmission and adaptation strategies in response to new situations, such as the government’s religious politics aiming to control religions within a secular society.