Doctoral School: Buddhism in Medieval Silk Culture

The Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University is pleased to announce a doctoral school intensive course on the topic of “Buddhism in Medieval Silk Culture” from May 28 to June 1, 2018, in Ghent, Belgium.

This specialist course introduces Ph.D. students into the complex ways in which Buddhism in medieval China was defined by silk, focusing especially on Buddhist textual discourses concerning silk culture and how monastic adepts should or should not engage with silk.

The main instructor for this school will be Dr. Stuart Young, with Dr. Ann Heirman and Dr. Christoph Anderl as secondary lecturers.

The program is as follows. Asterisks * indicate lectures suitable for a non-specialist audience.

Monday, May 28
09:30: Welcome of the participants by the Doctoral School organizers (Ann Heirman, Christoph Anderl)
10:00 – 12:00: Course overview: Buddhism in the silk cultures of medieval China; The Chinese history, technology, and vocabulary of silk and sericulture* (lecture, with active participation)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:30: Research sources primary and secondary, textual, visual, and material; Archaeology of Chinese Silk, Dunhuang 敦煌 and Famensi 法門寺 (interactive presentation and discussion of sources)

Tuesday, May 29
10:00 – 12:00: Vinaya and material culture (Ann Heirman)* (lecture with active participation)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:30: Silk in the Vinaya (disciplinary monastic rules) and Chinese Vinaya Commentaries (1: Dharmaguptaka)

Wednesday, May 30
10:00 – 12:00: Silk in the Vinaya and Chinese Vinaya Commentaries (2: Sarvāstivāda and Mahīśāsaka)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:30: Discussion with students, Q+A

Thursday, May 31
10:00 – 12:00: Daoxuan’s 道宣 (596-667) Xingshi chao 行事鈔 commentary on the silk bedding precept
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:30: Daoxuan’s commentaries in comparison with Dajue大覺 (fl. 712)

Friday, June 1
10:00 – 12:00: Chinese views of silk in India: travelogues, hagiographies, miracle tales (1)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:00: Chinese views of silk in India: travelogues, hagiographies, miracle tales (2)
15:00 – 16:00: Final discussions with students (Stuart Young, Ann Heirman, Christoph Anderl)

See original course description here:



Anyone working on a Ph.D. in Buddhist or Chinese studies can apply to attend the school. For this purpose, we are pleased to award up to 800 Euros in travel remuneration for 5 Ph.D. students. To apply for this travel grant, please send a one-page cover letter and your CV to Dr. Ann Heirman ( before March 1st, 2018. A short letter of recommendation by your dissertation chair should also be sent to Dr. Heirman directly.

Please note that although attending the event is free, due to space restrictions the maximum amount of attendants is capped at 20, 5 of whom need be graduate students of Ghent University. If you want to reserve a place, please e-mail Dr. Heirman before March 1st, 2018 as well. If we do reach our maximum, we will create a backup list and inform you if and when spaces become available.