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China Humanities Seminar: The Poetry Demon – Tensions within Chinese Buddhist Monks’ Literature

February 27 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Speaker: Jason Protass is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University. He completed doctoral work at Stanford University in 2016, and was a visiting researcher at Academia Sinica in Taipei and at Hanazono and Ryukoku universities in Kyoto.

Buddhist monks in Song dynasty China were visited by a literary impulse that interrupted religious activities and ritual. This unwelcome muse was sometimes referred to as the demon of poetry. In this talk, I explore some lesser-known intersections of Chinese poetry and the Buddhist path. I read monks’ verse together with prescriptive texts that restricted literary activity, including legal codes, primers, and hagiography. I hypothesize that at the heart of monastic verse culture was the negotiation of competing commitments to Buddhist monasticism and to literary expression.


February 27
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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CGIS Knafel K262
1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies