Project examines early Buddhist teachings

June 23, 2003

A University of Toronto study examining the connection between Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism could point to the early traditional teachings of the Buddhist religion.

Professor Henry Shiu of U of T's Centre for the Study of Religion has undertaken a three-year project studying the Buddhist scripture believed important in the spread of the religion from central Asia to Tibet. The Dhyanna of Entering into Non-Conceptuality (understanding things not as they seem but as they really are) was written in the 8th or 9th century C.E. in the Sino-Tibetan border region. It was considered the authentic source of the Buddha's teaching and led to two separate schools of thought. Four translations (two Chinese, two Tibetan) have been found among historic Buddhist documents.

"This study is important to scholars because it tries to bring together Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism," Shiu says. "Traditionally in Western studies these two disciplines have been treated as completely separate areas of research but I think it's important to see their common ground. I hope to show their many similarities and how these two schools have been interpreted differently throughout the ages."

Shiu's research is funded by the Vajrayana Buddhism Association of Canada.
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CONTACT: Professor Henry Shiu, Centre for the Study of Religion, 416-726-2611, henry.shiu@utoronto.ca or Michah Rynor, U of T public affairs, 416-978-2104, michah.rynor@utoronto.ca

University of Toronto

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