[Event Announcement] Numata Lectures at the University of Calgary (Mar.9 &10, 2017)

The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary is pleased to present

Two Talks by Professor Chen-kuo Lin (National Chengchi University)


The Annual Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture 

“Emptiness and Violence: An Unexpected Encounter of Nāgārjuna with Derrida and Levinas”

Thursday March 9, 7-9pm | Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library, University of Calgary

This talk will deal with the seeming contradiction between the ideas of emptiness and violence. The question is: how is the issue of violence accounted for in terms of the philosophy of emptiness? The first step of the investigation is to look into how violence is presented in hagiographical narratives about the murders of Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, and Kamalaśīla in the Mādhyamika Buddhist tradition. Then I will try to see how violence is tacitly treated in Mādhyamika philosophy, while Levinas and Derrida will be taken as interlocutors in order to bring to the surface some hidden insights. The reason why I place Nāgārjuna and Levinas/Derrida together is that all of them show their distrust toward metaphysics of “the same.” They all try to find the exit, the opening space, by which the oppression in metaphysics of identity may hopefully be overcome.


Colloquium, Department of Classics and Religion

“Vasubandhu’s Theory of Memory: A Reading Based on the Chinese Commentaries”

Friday March 10, 3-5pm | Social Sciences 541, University of Calgary

In this talk I will take an exegetical approach to the philosophical issue of memory treated in Vasubandhu’s Refutation of the Theory of a Self (Ātmavādapratiṣedha), an appended chapter in the Treasury of Knowledge (Abhidharmakośa), and Twenty Verses on Consciousness-Only (Viṃśikā). Unlike Janet Gyatso’s edited volume, In the Mirror of Memory in 1992, which is indeed a milestone for its studies on the theory of memory (smṛti) in the tradition of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, this lecture deliberately reads these texts from the perspective of Chinese commentaries composed by Puguang (普光, d. 664) and Kuiji (窺基, 632-682), two eminent disciples of Xuanzang 玄奘 (602-664). The main thrust in this paper is to show how Vasubandhu argues against certain forms of the realist theory of memory, claiming that memory can be explained without presupposing the existence of the self (ātman) and the external world. This study concludes that an internalist turn taken by Vasubandhu in the Abhidharmakośa and the Viṃśikā might foresee the memory argument in Dignāga’s theory of self-awareness.


About the Speaker:

Chen-kuo Lin 林鎮國 is a Distinguished Professor in both the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Institute of Religious Studies at National Chengchi University. He earned Ph.D. from Temple University in 1991. His research interests include Buddhist philosophy (Buddhist logic and epistemology, Mādhyamika, Yogācāra), Chinese philosophy (Neo-Confucianism, Daoism), and comparative philosophy. Currently he is conducting two research projects, “Cognition and Mind: A Study and Annotated Translation of Huizhao’s Treatise on Two Means of Valid Cognition” and “The Encounter of Chinese Buddhists with Indian Yogācāra Texts: A Comparative Study of Indian and Chinese Commentaries on Vasubandhu’s Twenty Verses (Viṃśikā).” In addition to several book chapters and journal papers, he published three books: Emptiness and Modernity: From the Kyoto School, Modern Neo-Confucianism to Multivocal Hermeneutics (Taipei: New Century Publication, 1999); A Passage of Dialectics (Taipei: New Century Publication, 2002); and Emptiness and Method: Explorations in Cross-Cultural Buddhist Philosophy (Taipei: The NCCU Press, 2012). All are in Chinese. Recently, A Distant Mirror: Articulating Indic Ideas in Sixth and Seventh Century Chinese Buddhism, co-edited with Michael Radich and published by the University of Hamburg Press, is accessible online at http://blogs.sub.uni-hamburg.de/hup/products-page/publikationen/125/.


Wendi Adamek

Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies

Department of Classics and Religion

University of Calgary

2500 University Dr. NW

Calgary, AB Canada T2N1N4

For more information call: 403-220-5886          www.ucalgary.ca/numatachair

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