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【Call for proposals】Śamatha-vipaśyanā in the Context of Indo-Sinitic Buddhism


Śamatha-vipaśyanā in the Context of Indo-Sinitic Buddhism


Statics and Dynamics

Updated to April 12, 2017

The International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization (ICSCC) at Fudan University is very pleased to announce a three-day international workshop on "Śamatha-vipaśyanā in the Context of Indo-Sinitic Buddhism: Statics and Dynamics." This workshop is designed to bring together a variety of disciplinary scholars working on topics related to the ideas of śamatha-vipaśyanā put forward in Indian and Chinese Buddhist scriptures. We cordially invite you to share your expertise, your views and your research results in our discussions.

Workshop Focus

The doctrine of śamatha-vipaśyanā is of fundamental importance in Buddhist thought and practice. One of the pioneers of Western Buddhist studies, Wassili Pawlowitsch Wassiljew described śamatha and vipaśyanā as two main results of the complete contemplative side of Buddhism in terms of both Śrāvakayāna and Mahāyāna. Hendrik Kern has furthermore mentioned the two orders of Arhats, the “barely contemplative philosophers” (Pāli: sukkhavipassaka) and the Arhats who “is devoted to quietude” (Pāli: samathayānika). A significant milestone in this field was marked by the article of de La Vallée Poussin: “Musīla et Nārada: Le chemin du Nirvāṇa.” Since then, the study of śamatha-vipaśyanā has been driven forward by numerous scholars. At present, however, only limited contributions have been made to the śamatha-vipaśyanā of non-Theravāda schools, to which a majority of the existing commentaries are attributed. This workshop will provide participants with a multi-faceted view of Indo-Sinitic concepts of śamatha-vipaśyanā and focus on philological approaches. We are soliciting papers that utilize philological and hermeneutic methods. Textual materials for consideration include, but not limited to, the Āgamasūtras, various Abhidharma works, Yogācārabhūmiśāstra, Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra and *Satyasiddhiśāstra preserved in Indic (Sanskrit, Pāli, Gāndhārī, etc.) or Chinese languages, and the native Chinese work Móhē zhǐguān (摩訶止觀). This workshop, therefore, combines both indological and sinological perspectives.


As a classical object of Buddhist studies, it is not only a topic that has long aroused a great deal of interest, but also a field opening new perspectives. Submissions might be from a range of disciplines. Transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions, such philosophical, historical, linguistic and religious psychological studies, are also encouraged.

Suggested Topics

Contributions may focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:
● Discussions on the origin and the beginning of the idea of śamatha-vipaśyanā;
● Traces of the pre-Buddhist śamatha-vipaśyanā;
● The interpretation of śamatha-vipaśyanā in individual indic texts, or in historical translations of those texts, such as Chinese and Tibetan translations;
● The historical exegetical efforts on śamatha-vipaśyanā;
● The interpretation of śamatha-vipaśyanā in native Chinese Buddhist works, such as Dàchéng zhǐguān fǎmén (大乘止觀法門) and Móhē zhǐguān (摩訶止觀);
● Discussions on the doctrines of contemplative practice embodied in Indo-Sinitic Buddhist literature;
● Theoretical and methodological discussions on the meaning and referents, the nature, structure and functions of śamatha-vipaśyanā;
● The evolution of śamatha-vipaśyanā in the development of Buddhist Soteriology;
● The roles of śamatha-vipaśyanā in the process of sinization of Indian Buddhism;
● Its transmission, transformation, and the dynamics behind those transformations;
● Śamatha-vipaśyanā in the practice of Buddhist meditation;
● Relationship between śamatha-vipaśyanā and other concepts of the system of Buddhist meditation, and its position in the path of liberation;
● Linguistic properties of the expressions of śamatha-vipaśyanā;
● Narrative, rhetoric and stylistic elements related to śamatha-vipaśyanā, e.g. the similes;
● Studies of primary sources, e.g. the concerned manuscripts;
● Śamatha-vipaśyanā and abhijñā;
● Studies on the meaning of śamatha-vipaśyanā for contemporary mindfulness practice;
● Religious psychological interpretative models about śamatha-vipaśyanā.

Date and Venue


September 23-25, 2017


International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Keynote Speaker

Michael Zimmermann, Professor and Director, Numata Center for Buddhist Studies,  University of Hamburg


Working language of the workshop will be English.


Please submit a short paper proposal of no more than 300 words together with personal information including full name(s), institutional affiliation(s) of presenter by May 31, 2017, and the full paper by October 31, 2017, to Bertram Dscho.


Presentations of papers should be delivered preferably within 45 minutes (including questions and debates), while the lecture should not exceed 30 minutes. The participants will be allowed some latitude and flexibility in designing their presentations.


Selected papers will be published in a conference volume, an issue of a series of ICSCC.


International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization, Fudan University


Gandhian and Indian Studies Center, Fudan University; Fudan Journal, Fudan University

Zhen Liu, Professor and Director, Gandhian and Indian Studies Center, Fudan University; Yonghao Wang, Professor and Editor-in-Chief, Fudan Journal, Fudan University; Bertram Dscho, Visiting Scholar, International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization, Fudan University

Contact Information

For further questions or help, please feel free to contact Bertram Dscho.