During the summer of 2011, with the support of the Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowship, Dr. Mario Poceski, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion, conducted extensive research in Japan for his forthcoming book. Tentatively titled The Records of Mazu Daoyi and the Making of Classical Chan Literature, this monograph explores the development of Chan (Zen) Buddhist literature in China. It examines how particular Chan religious texts were transmitted and reinterpreted throughout the course of medieval China, looking in particular at the various records related to the renowned Chan master Mazu Daoyi (709-788). The book will also provide English translations of records and writings about Mazu that have survived from the eighth through eleventh centuries.
In order to conduct his research for this book, Prof. Poceski traveled to Japan to access much of the scholarly work on Chan/Zen Buddhism and literature pertaining to Mazu. The Rothman Summer Fellowship enabled him to spend the month of June in Japan, where he conducted research at several universities and research centers in Kyoto and Tokyo and met with several prominent scholars of Chinese literature. He also took pictures at numerous Buddhist temples and shrines. In addition, while in Japan, he focused on alternate ways to formulate his project, looking at the gradual changes in Chan/Zen self-representations as embodied in the evolving images of its leading patriarchs. As generations of Chan/Zen teachers and writers articulated different visions of Chan orthodoxy, they attributed their ideas and ideological agendas back to Mazu, thereby transforming his religious persona in light of ever-changing religious perspectives and institutional predicaments.
Prof. Poceski anticipates finishing the book and submitting it for publication by spring 2013. His research in Japan has also helped him prepare the final stages of another book, The Blackwell Companion to East and Inner Asian Buddhism, which will soon be released as part of the Blackwell Companion to Religion Series.
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