The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Philosophy and Religion presents: “Ghosts and the Buddhist Imagination in Early Medieval China” with Dr. Robert Campany of Vanderbilt University. This installment of North Callahan Distinguished Lecturer Series will be held on Monday, April 1, 3-4:30 p.m., UTC University Center, in the Raccoon Mountain Room.
The Buddhism familiar to many Americans and Europeans today has aptly been termed “a modern hybrid tradition with roots in the European Enlightenment no less than the Buddha’s enlightenment” (D. McMahan, The Making of Buddhist Modernism). In this talk, Campany will discuss miracle tales emanating from a much earlier and very different sort of Buddhism as it was lived and practiced in early medieval China.
The tales he will present feature visitations by ghosts to living persons.
Medieval Chinese readers and hearers took these stories to be documentation of the workings of the normally unseen spirit-world. Through the tales we can glimpse an imaginal world that, although central to many people in China around 490 C.E., is now often ignored. The talk will focus on the roles and functions of ghosts in these narratives.