This lecture is sponsored by Tianzhu Global Network for the Study of Buddhist Cultures with administrative support from FROGBEAR. Hosted by UBC Department of Asian Studies.

UBC Tianzhu-Hurvitz Lecture Series

Karma in Chinese Buddhist Historiography

About the event
Friday, October 9, 2020 | 8:00 – 9:30 AM

Over the course of 1500 years, Chinese Buddhist historiography emerged and developed under the shadow of the more prestigious tradition of court historiography. But by turning to the doctrine of karma, Buddhist historians felt that they could see the past with greater clarity than their non-Buddhist counterparts. That is, not only did Buddhist historians think that they could demonstrate the truth of karma through careful examination of the historical record; they also thought that they could better explain historical causation than those unaware of the power of karma as a historical force. In this presentation, I will explore the appeal of karma for Buddhist historians in China, as well as their use of history as a way of thinking through the doctrine.

About the Speaker

John Kieschnick, the Robert H. N. Ho Professor of Buddhist Studies at Stanford University, specializes in the cultural history of Chinese Buddhism. His representative works are The Eminent Monk: Monastic Ideals in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Hagiography (University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997) and The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture (Princeton, 2003). He is currently writing a book on the place of the past in Chinese Buddhism.


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About the UBC Tianzhu-Hurvitz Lecture Series

The UBC Tianzhu-Hurvitz Lecture Series are made possible by the generous support of the Tianzhu Global Network for the Study of Buddhist Cultures in honour of Dr. Leon Hurvitz, a prominent academic and pioneer in the field of Buddhist Studies, and a former faculty at UBC Department of Asian Studies.

For more information about the UBC Tianzhu-Hurvitz Lecture Series please visit