a public event
Standards of Historical Truth in Traditional Chinese Buddhism
UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies Colloquium with John Kieschnick (Academia Sinica)
Friday, February 04, 2005
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
243 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Like other types of historical writing in China, major Buddhist hagiographical works are for the most part compilations of biographical materials already in circulation. For the sake of a coherent narrative, Buddhist historians were required to sift through these materials and choose between divergent accounts. In my talk, I will examine a number of such instances – chiefly in “biographies of eminent monks”—discuss the standards of truth Buddhist historians applied in such cases, and suggest how they differ from standards applied in similar cases in other genres of historical writing in China.
John Kieschnick is an associate research fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. His most recent work is the Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture (Princeton, 2003). This talk relates to a larger project on Buddhist historiography in China.