XVIIIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS) (August 20-25, 2017)

Click here to access the electronic copy of the circular

Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends:

Preparations are well underway for the XVIIIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS), which takes place at the University of Toronto, August 20th to the 25th, 2017. On behalf of the IABS, my university, and the conference’s Planning Committee, I kindly send you this Second Circular to share the panels that will be presented, to invite individual papers for the panels and sections here proposed, and to encourage all IABS members and supporters to attend the Congress in Toronto.

General Information

This Congress is a unique opportunity for Buddhist Studies scholars from around the world to convene and celebrate the excellence of our field. As Chair of the Planning Committee, I enthusiastically encourage you to circulate this Second Circular to colleagues, students, on message boards, electronic forums and on social media. This Second Circular is sent to all current IABS members, those who have filled out the electronic ‘Mailing List’ request form on the website, and to those who wrote me directly. We strive to convene as inclusive a Congress as possible, and welcome the attendance of a diverse range of scholars, students and supporters.

I would once again kindly remind everyone that they must be a fully paid member of IABS for the year 2017 in order to attend the event, deliver a paper, or sit on a panel in Toronto. To be a member of the association in 2017, those wishing to participate in the Congress will need to pay their IABS dues by December 31, 2016. All participants will also need to pay a Congress registration fee used to help us cover the cost of hosting the event, stipulated below. IABS membership can be secured through the online form at the IABS website. Kindly keep in mind that on registration, to complete the process aspiring participants will be required to provide proof of payment of their IABS dues for 2017. Initial enquiries about eligibility should be sent to the association’s Secretary General, Dr. Ulrich Pagel.

Submission of panel proposals for the Congress has already closed, and I, along with the Planning Committee, would like to generously thank all those who took time to submit their panel proposals. Given the high volume of submissions—an IABS record—not every panel was accepted, though all were of superior quality and testify to the wide-ranging excellence of our field.

Submission of individual paper abstracts for both panels and sections (each of which is outlined below) opens May 15th, 2016, and closes October 1st, 2016. Please note that individual paper abstracts cannot be accepted after October 1st, 2016, so be sure to take note of the deadline.

Congress registration opens October 1st, 2016, and closes just prior to the start of the proceedings, August 18th, 2017. Registration any time between these dates is permitted. Please see below for further details on how to register, as well as to the amenities covered by the fee.

Though our field spans a myriad of linguistic regions and our members represent the most diverse language backgrounds, it is IABS policy that official Congress proceedings, including papers and presentations, be conducted in an English-language medium.

As all future communication will be distributed via email, I encourage those who wish to attend or stay abreast of Congress news to fill out the electronic “Mailing List” request form found at our website. Please write to me, Christoph Emmrich, directly, if you have any questions or concerns about future communication. My address is found at the bottom of this circular under ‘Correspondent,’ or at the above website address.

Academic Program

In following with past Congresses, the proceedings in Toronto will consist of both panel presentations and paper sections. Panels have been proposed by their respective convenors, and will consist of no more than six papers, each 20 minutes in length, each followed by a 10 minute discussion period. All told, panels will last half a day, including a coffee and tea break after the first three papers. The organizers and I will strive to ensure that papers in each panel begin and end in unison to allow participants to attend select papers from multiple panels.

Sections, in contrast, have been chosen in accordance with past Congresses and are to be compiled from individual paper submissions. They will follow the same format as panels in terms of time and duration: 20 minutes for delivery and 10 minutes of question and answer period immediately following each paper. Please be advised that in the event an insufficient number of qualified entries are made to a given section, the Planning Committee and I reserve the right to decide to cancel the said section and reassign the papers accepted to another, thematically equivalent section as well as the time slot to another section with a surplus of submissions.

Individual Paper Proposals

I cordially invite scholars, students, and independent researchers from across the spectrum of Buddhist Studies to submit abstracts for individual papers, starting May 15th, 2016. Paper abstracts should be no more than 500 words, and preferably in both word and PDF format. In order to contribute a paper to an individual section, please upload abstracts to the Congress website, indicating which section the abstract will address. Please limit your selection to one section. The list of sections is found below. It has been chosen with the aim of being both representative of the traditional profile of the Congress and as inclusive as possible. Some submissions might fit under several section headers, though only one presentation per participant is permitted.

Indeed, to ensure a smooth and balanced program that allows for maximum participation, attendees are limited to act in only one official capacity at the Congress: this limit extends to presenting a paper, convening a panel, or acting as designated discussant. If one has any questions pertaining to this limit, please contact me directly at the correspondence address listed below.

The following are the sections proposed for the XVIIIth IABS Congress:

Āgama and Nikāya Studies

Abhidharma Studies

Buddhism and Gender

Buddhism and Its Relation to Other Religions

Buddhism and Its Relation to Science

Buddhism and Society

Buddhism and the Śramaṇas

Buddhist Art and Architecture

Buddhist Hermeneutics, Scholasticism, and Commentarial Techniques

Buddhist Literature

Buddhist Music

Buddhist Places

Buddhist Sciences

Contemporary Buddhism

Early Buddhism

Epigraphy, Manuscripts, and Codicology

Epistemology and Logic in Buddhism

Information Technologies in Buddhist Studies

Mahāyāna Buddhism

Mahāyāna Sūtras

Śrāvakayāna Buddhism, incl. Theravāda

Tantric Buddhism

The Canonical Languages of Buddhism

Vinaya Studies

Panels, unlike sections, are organized by their respective convenor(s), who are responsible for their academic standard, thematic cohesion, and timely submission. Should you wish to contribute a paper towards the conference that in your eyes may fit one of the announced panels, you should contact the convenor(s) directly through the email addresses provided below, before submitting a paper proposal to one of the sections. All decisions regarding acceptance of paper proposals are made by the convenor(s). Once panels have been filled, their convenor(s) can close the panels and direct further submissions to paper sections instead. We welcome convenors to also present on their respective panels (this being the only exception to the one-capacity rule stated above), but also request them to ensure that no more than six papers constitute any one panel and to remind their panelists that they may not commit to joining other panels. Convenors should email a complete package of paper abstracts directly to me no later than October 1st, 2016.

Below is a list of accepted panels for the XVIIIth IABS Congress in Toronto:

Title Convenor(s) Email(s)
A New Study of Ratnākaraśānti’s Prajñāpāramitopadeśa Katsura, Shoryu

Hong, Luo



Approaches to the Bodhicaryāvatāra Gold, Jonathan C. jcgold@princeton.edu
Bell Inscriptions Across the Buddhist World Doney, Lewis

Bretfeld, Sven



Brahmin Buddhists Walser, Joseph joseph.walser@tufts.edu
Buddhism from the Margins: Using Manuscript Sources to Re-examine the Rituals and Routines of Medieval and Early Modern Buddhist Communities in Japan, Korea, and China Keyworth, George A. george.keyworth@gmail.com
Buddhism in the Sātavāhana Empire: The Languages of the Sātavāhanas and the Languages of Buddhism Ollett, Andrew andrew.ollett@gmail.com
Buddhist Conceptions of History Thompson, Luke lnt2106@columbia.edu
Buddhist Cosmology and Astral Science Mak, Bill M. bill.m.mak@gmail.com
Buddhist Landscapes Made and Remade Carbine, Jason A. jcarbine@whittier.edu
Buddhist Studies and the Scientific Study of Meditation Braun, Erik

McMahan, David



Buddhist Tourism: Sacred Sites within Global Networks Bruntz, Courtney

Schedneck, Brooke



Buddhist Ways of Reading Heim, Maria

Gummer, Natalie



Concepts and Techniques of Prognostication Guggenmos, Esther-Maria

Scheuermann, Rolf



Conventional Reality, Conventional Truth McClintock, Sara slmccli@emory.edu
Deeds of a Buddha Tournier, Vincent

Luczanits, Christian

Sernesi, Marta




Dhāraṇī Literature and Textual Cultures Davidson, Ronald M. rdavidson@fairfield.edu
Discipline, Agency, Inquiry: Vinaya Reception in Women’s Monastic Communities Past and Present Langenberg, Amy Paris langenap@eckerd.edu
Does Candrakīrti Offer Any Epistemology (pramāṇa)? Westerhoff, Jan

Thakchoe, Sonam



Early Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhāra: New Discoveries and Research Baums, Stefan

Strauch, Ingo



Images and Practices of Buddhist Kingship across Asia Berkwitz, Stephen

Dotson, Brandon



Insights into Gandhāran Buddhist Narratives through Art and Texts Neelis, Jason jneelis@wlu.ca
Literatures of Contemplation Quintman, Andrew

Schaeffer, Kurtis



Monastic Espionage in East Asia: Medieval Period Chen, Jinhua jinhuachen2013@gmail.com
Monastic Espionage in East Asia in the Age of Isolationism, 14th to 19th Century Bingenheimer, Marcus m.bingenheimer@gmail.com
Monastic Espionage in East Asia: Modern Period Brose, Benjamin bbrose@umich.edu
New Approaches to Wŏnhyo and His Thought – A Panel in Commemoration of the  1400th Anniversary of His Birth Cho, Eun-su

Buswell, Robert



New Research on Newar Buddhism Bühnemann, Gudrun gbuhnema@wisc.edu
New Trajectories in the Study of Buddhism and Law Lammerts, D. Christian

Schonthal, Ben



Recent Approaches in Vinaya Studies Borgland, Jens W. jwborgland@gmail.com
Recent Research on the Dīrghāgama Melzer, Gudrun

Choi, Jinkyoung



Reconstructing the History of Late Indian Buddhism (Part III)

Relationship between Tantric and Non-tantric Doctrines

Kyuma, Taiken kyuma@human.mie-u.ac.jp
Ritual, Doctrine, and Monasticism: Buddhist Practices in Dunhuang Liu, Cuilan

Chen, Huaiyu



Stories Behind the Story: Revisiting the Buddha’s Hagiography Sasson, Vanessa v.sasson@marianopolis.edu
The Avadānaśataka: The Uses of Narrative Appleton, Naomi

Muldoon-Hules, Karen



The Buddha’s Footprint in Asian Cultures Handlin, Lilian lilioscar@aol.com
The Manuscript Tradition of the Pāli Texts in South and Southeast Asia Yamanaka, Yukio yukio916@icloud.com
The Roles of Iconic Imagery in South Asian Buddhist Architectural Contexts: Reconstructions and New Perspectives Morrissey, Nicolas nmorriss@uga.edu
Transmission and Transformation of Buddhist Logic and Epistemology in East Asia (I): Around Dignāga’s Logic and Fallacies of Debate Ono, Mitoi

Inami, Masahiro

Transmission and Transformation of Buddhist Logic and Epistemology in East Asia (II): Around Yogācāra and Madhyamaka Texts in Chinese Translations Moriyama, Shinya

Moro, Shigeki

Transparent, Translucent, or Opaque: Chinese Translations of Indic Texts as Windows onto Indian Buddhism Witkowski, Nicholas nwitkows@alumni.stanford.edu
Travel, Transmission, and Affiliation: Lineage in the Buddhist Crossroads of Inner Asia King, Matthew W. matthew.king@ucr.edu
Vinaya Commentaries Clarke, Shayne clarsha@mcmaster.ca
What Makes a Monastery a Great Monastery? Textual, Art Historical, and Archaeological Evidence from India to [the Borders of] China Forte, Erika erika.forte@univie.ac.at
Yogācāra Across Asia: India, Tibet, and East Asia Yao, Zhihua

Bayer, Achim



Zones of Contact: Facets of Buddhist Interactions in Eastern Central Asia During the 9th-14th Centuries Meinert, Carmen carmen.meinert@rub.de


Conference Schedule

Date Morning Afternoon Evening
Sunday, August 20, 2017 Registration Registration Opening Reception
Monday, August 21, 2017 Panels and Sections Panels and Sections Evening Presentations
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 Panels and Sections Panels and Sections Evening Presentations
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Panels and Sections Panels and Sections Evening Presentations
Thursday, August 24, 2017 Panels and Sections Excursions  
Friday, August 25, 2017 Panels and Sections Panels and Sections Closing Reception


Registration Fee

To assist the organizers in hosting the event, we have set the Congress fee at $330 CAD. This fee includes attendance, coffee, tea and hot lunch during the academic programming, meals at both the Opening and Closing Receptions, as well as printing costs for paper programs. Not included in this fee are meals outside of the academic program and Opening and Closing Receptions, such as breakfasts and dinners, as well as travel, accommodation, excursions, and special events.

Those registering before March 31st, 2017 will enjoy a discounted fee of $300 CAD, while graduate students are entitled to a rate of $250 CAD with confirmation of enrollment status. Students from countries with low currency exchange rates when compared to the Canadian Dollar may request a fee reduction by writing to me directly at the address provided below. Decisions on fee reduction will be made on a case-by-case basis, and I regret that only a limited number of such reductions can be granted.

Fee payment will be made online through our website, where, as mentioned above, you will be expected to provide proof of payment of your IABS membership fee for 2017. Please visit the website on October 1st, 2016 to complete your online Congress registration.

Posters and Exhibits

In addition to panels and paper sections, we welcome the submission of project presentations from scholars and organizations who wish to display their work to the Congress at large. We regret that only a limited number of presentations can be selected. Please write to me directly to inquire about presenting your project at the XVIIIth IABS Congress.

Exhibitors providing professional services or products such as books are also invited to contact me directly to inquire about renting space during the Congress proceedings.

Visa Requirements

As the Congress will attract scholars and students from all over the world, it is not possible for the organising team to advise or assist with securing visas to Canada, since the process varies widely depending on the country of origin of each attendee. Potential attendees are encouraged to consult the Canadian Embassy or Consulate in their home country or country of residence as early as possible. Travel agencies are also possible sources of information on the visa process. We can, however, provide letters indicating that an individual is in fact registered to attend or present at the Congress. Please write to me directly if you wish to request such a letter.


I wish to gently remind everyone that Congress attendees are responsible for covering all travel to and from Toronto. Currently we are trying to secure a discounted rate for travel by air, and updated information will appear on the website once registration begins, October 1st, 2016. Please check the website after this date for update travel information.


Congress participants are responsible to secure their own accommodation and pay all attendant costs. Below is a list of accommodations near the University of Toronto, St. George Campus, some of which have granted discounted rates to Congress attendees. When booking, please inform them of your attendance at the XVIIIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 2017. A range of options has been provided to suit the different needs of our Congress attendees. Please be advised that the University is located in downtown Toronto, and August is one of the busiest times of the year, so kindly book early if possible.


Budget Single Occupancy Double Occupancy
Admiral St. George: BB and Guesthouse

305 St. George St. / 416-921-1899


$95/1 Bedroom

$125/Big room

Annex Quest House

83 Spadina Road / 416-922-1934



Howard Johnson Hotel: Toronto-Yorkville

89 Avenue Road / 416-964-1220

$95/1 Double Bed

$143/King Bed

$109/2 Double Beds
Comfort Hotel Downtown

15 Charles St. E. / 416-924-1222

From $119  
Eaton Chelsea

33 Gerrard Street West

1-800-243-5732 / 416-595-1975

From $169* From $169*
Holiday Inn Toronto: Downtown

30 Carlton Street / 416-977-6655

$177/1 Bed Executive $177/ 2 Double Beds
Beverley Place

226 Beverley St / 416-977-0077

$180/Single, $290/Queen  
High End    
The Grande: Hotel and Suites

225 Jarvis Street / 416-863-9000

$229 Grand Deluxe*


$389 Two Bed Junior
Park Hyatt Toronto

4 Avenue Road / 416-925-1234

From $309/Night  
Intercontinental Toronto-Yorkville

220 Bloor Street West / 416-960-5200



Windsor Arms Hotel

18 St. Thomas Street / 416-971-9666

$325/Junior Suite* $395/Junior Suite 2 Beds
The Hazelton Hotel

118 Yorkville Ave / 416-963-6300

From $525/Night  
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

60 Yorkville Avenue / 416-964-0411

From $565/Night  


*Special discounts for Congress attendees. Some of these rates will expire as the date of the Congress moves closer, so make sure to book at least a month in advance of the proceedings.

An updated list of accommodations will be available on the Congress website after registration begins, so please check the website regularly after this date. The Third Circular, due in April, 2017, will also contain more information about accommodations.

Conference Travel Grants

Unfortunately we are not able to provide any grants or scholarships to participants or presenters for this Congress.


I urge you to consult our website regularly for updates and practical information about the upcoming Congress. We will be sure to update it regularly.

Third Circular

In a year from now, April 2017, I will send forth the Third Circular, the final notice before the Congress proceedings in August of that same year. The Third Circular will include a detailed academic program, further information about evening events and excursions, as well as up to date travel and accommodation information.

I truly look forward to seeing everyone in Toronto, 2017.

My warmest regards

Christoph Emmrich


Planning Committee of the XVIIIth IABS Congress

 President: Anne MacDonald
 Chair: Christoph Emmrich


 Members: Wendi Adamek, University of Calgary
  James Apple, University of Calgary
  Dan Arnold, University of Chicago
  James Benn, McMaster University
  Lara Braitstein, McGill University
  Chen Shen, Royal Ontario Museum
  Jinhua Chen, University of British Columbia
  Shayne Clarke, McMaster University
  Deepali Dewan, Royal Ontario Museum
  David Drewes, University of Manitoba
  Frances Garrett, University of Toronto
  Amanda Goodman, University of Toronto
  Nam-Lin Hur, University of British Columbia
  Chiara Letizia, Université de Québec
  Jessica Main, University of British Columbia
  Jason Neelis, Wilfrid Laurier University
  Mark Rowe, McMaster University
  Alicia Turner, York University
  Jeff Wilson, University of Waterloo
 Advisory Board: Collett Cox, University of Washington
  Birgit Kellner, Austrian Academy of Sciences
  Ulrich Pagel, University of London
  Tom Tillemans, University of Lausanne


 Academic Coordination: Anthony Scott, University of Toronto



Dr. Christoph Emmrich, Associate Professor

Chair, Planning Committee of the XVIIIth IABS Congress

University of Toronto, Department for the Study of Religion

170 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8



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