What is South China Sea Buddhism

Lecture: What is South China Sea Buddhism?

Organised by the Department of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the China Studies Centre ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Education’ cluster and The Australian Society for Asian Humanities (formerly OSA).

Chinese Buddhists have never remained stationary. They have always been on the move. Why did Buddhist monks migrate from China to Southeast Asia? How did they participate in transregional Buddhist networks across the South China Sea? In this talk, I will tell the story of “South China Sea Buddhism,” referring to a Buddhism that emerged from a swirl of correspondence networks, forced exiles, voluntary visits, evangelizing missions, institution-building campaigns, and organizational efforts of countless Chinese and Chinese diasporic Buddhist monks. Drawing on multilingual research conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, I challenge the conventional categories of “Chinese Buddhism” and “Southeast Asian Buddhism” by focusing on the lesser-known—yet no less significant—Chinese Buddhist communities of maritime Southeast Asia. By crossing the artificial spatial frontier between China and Southeast Asia, this talk brings Southeast Asia into the study of Chinese Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism into the study of Southeast Asian Buddhism.

About the speaker

Jack Meng-Tat Chia is Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on Buddhism and Chinese popular religion in Southeast Asia, transnational Buddhism, and Sino-Southeast Asian interactions. He is the author of Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea (Oxford, 2020), as well as articles in Archipel, Asian Ethnology, China Quarterly, Contemporary Buddhism, History of Religions, and the Journal of Chinese Religions.

Time & Date
1:00pm-2:00pm AEST
Friday,4 June 2021
Location: Online event
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