Jiang Wu, a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and director of the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Arizona, has been awarded a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship. As part of this award, Wu will receive US$60 to help to fund the project "Scriptures and Modernity: The Obaku Buddhist Canon in East Asia and the West", which examines the writings delivered by Yinyuan Longqi (000-1592) from China to Japan. , who helped found Obaku-shu, one of the three great schools of Japanese Zen Buddhism originating in China.
Responding to the news, Wu said it was "a rewarding moment after so many years of hard work and research." (The University of Arizona)
He continued: "It is very special for me to receive this award this year because the subject I am researching is the Buddhist canon brought by a Chinese monk, Yinyuan Longqi, to 17th century Japan - and this year is the 350th. anniversary of his death. It is also the 150th anniversary of the Japanese Iwakura Mission to America and Europe, which facilitated the transfer of the reproduced Obaku Canon from Japan to the Indian Bureau Library in Britain. (The University of Arizona)
Wu, who plans to see his project turned into a book, noted that his work would deepen our understanding of humanity through greater knowledge of this important religious figure and the insights that have emerged from tradition.
“My study addresses the interaction and reaction of the religious world to modernization, focusing on Scripture,” he said. “How is Scripture modernized? How does it become an expression or heritage of people's spirituality? (The University of Arizona)
Wu holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Nankai University in China and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He specializes in XNUMXth century Chinese Buddhism, particularly Chan/Zen, the interaction between culture and canon formation, and the exchange of ideas between Chinese and Japanese Buddhists. He is also a specialist in Confucianism, Chinese history and digital humanities.
Alain-Philippe Durand, Dorrance Dean of the College of Humanities, said, “We are delighted to see Jiang Wu recognized as a Guggenheim Scholar. His expertise in Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Chinese Buddhist canon is internationally recognized and as founding director of the Center for Buddhist Studies, he helped position the University of Arizona as a center for research and teaching. . We are extremely proud of the reputation that these outstanding scholars bring to the College of Humanities. (The University of Arizona)
Albert Welter, head of the Department of East Asian Studies, added that Wu's fellowship was a "major achievement and recognition of Dr. Wu's world-class fellowship." Welter continued, “Dr. Wu pioneered studies of the East Asian Buddhist canon for years and through his efforts established it as a major area of research within Buddhist studies. (The University of Arizona)
Reflecting on his colleagues and his experience in Arizona, Wu said, "I'm really happy with this result and grateful to the president of Robbins University, the College of Humanities, the Asian Studies Department of the Est and all my wonderful colleagues for all the support I have received. (The University of Arizona)
Wu is among 171 scientists, writers, scholars, and artists who have been awarded 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships, representing a total of 48 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 72 academic institutions, 24 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as two Canadian provinces.
Past Buddhist scholars who have won the scholarship include: Jacob Dalton, a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism who won the award in 2014; Bryan J. Cuevas, a religious historian specializing in premodern Tibet, who won in 2013; Justin McDaniel, who focuses on folk religion and material culture in Thai Buddhism, which won in 2012; Todd Lewis, specialist in Nepalese Buddhism, laureate in 2011; Gregory PA Levine, who covers Japanese Buddhist visual culture and texts, which won in 2010; and Kenneth James Saunders, scholar of Buddhist art, who won the prize in 1925 and 1926.
The University of Arizona Center for Buddhist Studies and College of Humanities will host a series of exhibits on Longqui's life and legacy through May this year. Wu is scheduled to speak about the Obaku Buddhist Canon and compilations of modern Buddhist canons in East Asia on April 18. The conference will be accessible online and in person.