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The Annual Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture


Dr. David Loy
Visiting Scholar, University of Calgary  

Awakening from the Illusion of our Separation: A Buddhist Perspective on the Ecological Crisis 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016  7:30pm  

Can Buddhist teachings help us understand and respond to our ecological situation? We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separation, says the Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. There are precise parallels between what traditional Buddhism teaches about our usual individual predicament, and our collective ecological predicament today. This suggests that the eco-crisis is not only a technological and economic problem but also a “spiritual” challenge. If so, can the Buddhist understanding of our personal predicament also help us respond to the collective one?  


Dr. Frederick M. Smith

Professor of Sanskrit and Classical Indian Literature
Departments of Religious Studies, and Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of Iowa

Possession as Demonic and Oracular, and Possession as Metaphor, in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism

April 17, 2015  3:00pm

Conceptions of deity and spirit possession in the religions and medical systems of South Asia are as old as the religions themselves. Possession was always an individual matter, except when it was used as a trope or metaphor. Dr. Smith will summarize some of the material on possession in the Pāli sutras and later literature, and speak briefly about how it was medicalized in the canonical Ayurvedic and subsequent related and derivative Buddhist texts. One text, however, stands out in which possession was used as an apparent trope. This is the Sanskrit Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa of the 7th to 10th c. CE. This difficult and obscure text has a section on possession that contains significant material of sociolinguistic interest.

The Annual Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture


Richard K. Payne
Dean and Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies
Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, CA

The Study of Buddhist Tantra: State of the Art 

March 23, 2015  7:30pm

Strategies in Studying the Homa:  Ritual Studies, History, Syntax  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015  12:00 noon


The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies
and the Program in South Asian Studies PRESENTS

Professor Bee Scherer
Chair in Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality
Canterbury Christ Church University, U.K.

Variant Dharma: Buddhist queers, queered Buddhisms

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 4:30pm

Professor Scherer investigates human sexualities and gender diversities within the vast array of Buddhist traditions from textual-historical, philosophical and anthropological angles. How did Buddhist attitudes towards LGBTI identities and practices develop and transform through time and space? Which philosophical and cultural frameworks and paradigms aid, limit or obstruct sexual and gender diversity within various Buddhisms? The lecture will point to possible intersections, commonalities and disjunctions between Buddhist philosophies & performances and Queer theory & subversions, and exemplify the reception of the queering impulses within Buddhist traditions. In the conclusion, some light is shed on what sexual and gender diversity, equality and the avoidance of sexual misconduct might mean for Buddhists and Buddhisms today.

Professor Bee [Burkhard] Scherer is Chair (full professor) in Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Canterbury Christ Church University, U.K., and the current (2014-2015) Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist studies at McGill. A Buddhist Studies scholar-cum-practitioner, Bee’s main interests lie in the fields of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and in the study of Religion and Gender. Bee is the founder of the interdisciplinary Queering Paradigms network and conference series and editor of the Queering Paradigms book series (Peter Lang: Oxford). Bee’s publications feature  more than a dozen monographs & edited volumes and numerous articles and book chapters in the field of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philology and philosophy; Mythology; Queer Theory; and in particular contemporary Buddhist movements including transnational Buddhist responses to modernity.
Visiting speaker Prof. Bee Scherer (middle),
with Patrick DeVries and Wendi Adamek,
at the Calgary Tower

The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies and the Department of Classics and Religion Present:

Professor Wendy Swartz
Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, Rutgers University
Author of Reading Tao Yuanming: Shifting Paradigms of Historical Reception (427-1900) 
(Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2009)

Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:30-6:30pm

A Poet’s Repertoire in Early Medieval China

Though Sun Chuo 孫綽 (314-371) is little-known today, he was considered to be the best poet of his era. He was one of the masters of xuan 玄 (abstruse) -style poetry, which drew extensively from Buddhist and Lao-Zhuang thought. Within this milieu, we see increasing interconnectedness not only among different intellectual repertoires (e.g. Confucian, Lao-Zhuang, and Buddhist) but also different branches of learning (e.g. philosophy and poetry). In her talk, Prof. Swartz demonstrates how Sun Chuo made use of diverse, heterogeneous sources and adapted them to his needs. She engages in a study of medieval Chinese intertextuality by examining how Sun Chuo’s writings function as part of a network of textual relations, and are thus not reducible to attributions of influence, or mere tracing of sources. Her work has special significance and ramifications for early medieval Chinese literary history in light of the fluid boundaries of textual traditions and the dynamic interactions among expanding repertoires of literary and cultural meanings. 


The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies

The Third Annual Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture


Anne Carolyn Klein/Rigzin Drolma
Department of Religious Studies
Rice University

Vision, Song and Self: Contemplative Practice in Western and Tibetan Landscapes

October 8, 2013  7:30pm

The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies

a Department of Religious Studies lecture by

Anne Carolyn Klein/Rigzin Drolma
Department of Religious Studies
Rice University

Nine Vehicles, One Path: Short Takes from Jigme Lingpa and Longchen Rabjam 

Monday, October 7, 2013   2:00pm



Department of Religious Studies Seminar


Dr. Gregory Schopen

University of California, Los Angeles
and Brown University

On the Fragrance of the Buddha, the Scent of Monuments, and the Odor of Images 

Only recently have students of religion begun to fully consider the role of the senses in religious practice and thought. Once alerted to the issue, however, it became clear that in the Indian Buddhist tradition the sense of smell was particularly important. Textual, archeological and art historical evidence all converge to make the point, and some of this evidence will be presented and discussed.


Monday, September 24, 2012 at 12:00 noon

Social Sciences 1339
University of Calgary



The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies

The Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture


Dr. Gregory Schopen

University of California, Los Angeles
and Brown University  

Debt, Slavery, and Monasticism:
The Limited Reach of Formal Doctrine in Buddhist and Christian Monastic Settings 

One might easily assume that monastic communities, because they were intentionally planned communities, might more fully implement the formal doctrines of their respective traditions. One might even assume that this was the reason for their founding. But historical evidence will not support such assumptions: in both Buddhist monasticisms in India, and in a variety of Christian monasticisms, important formal doctrinal positions and values were not, and apparently could not be, implemented or expressed. Examples of both will be presented.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012   7:30pm

Husky Oil Great Hall, Rozsa Centre
University of Calgary



A Free Public Lecture


Dr. Lara Braitstein, McGill University

Monday, April 2, 2012

Composing Awakening: Saraha and his Adamantine Songs

Department of Religious Studies Seminar


Dr. Lara Braitstein, McGill University

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Doringpa’s ‘spiritual biography’  (rnam thar) & the 10th Shamarpa:
on the Trail of an 18th century Renegade Lama

See the article in the Calgary Herald on Dr. Braitstein - click here.




A Free Public Lecture

Dr. Chen-kuo Lin, National ChengChi University

Tuesday, October 4, 2011  6:00pm

Understanding Buddhist Epistemology in Medieval China: A Cross-Cultural Reflection

Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre
197 First Street SW, Calgary
(Presentation and Discussion with be conducted in Mandarin Chinese.)



Department of Religious Studies Seminar

Dr. Chen-kuo Lin, National ChengChi University

Wednesday, October 5, 2011  2:00pm

Epistemology and Meditation in Jingyin Huiyuan’s Essay on “Three Measures of Cognition”




Monday, September 19, 2011  12:00pm

Department of Religious Studies Seminar

Dr. Jonathan Silk, Leiden University

What Can Students of Indian Buddhist Literature Learn from Biblical Text Criticism?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011 7:30pm

The Inaugural Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture

Dr. Jonathan Silk, Leiden University

Toward a Meaningful Academic Study of Buddhism


Thursday, August 25th, 2011 

The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies co-sponsored the Public Lecture

The Virtue of Compassion in Difficult Times
with Sakya Trizin

His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin is the head of the Sakya School, which is one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in Tibet in 1945, His Holiness belongs to the ancient and distinguished Khön family, whose history extends back to the early days of Tibet, before the arrival of Buddhism.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The Numata Chair in Buddist Studies
Dr. Collett Cox, University of Washington 
The Dawn of Dogma:
Commentary and Abhidharma Scholasticism in the Ancient Buddhist Texts of Gandhāra 

Monday, April 4, 2011
The Numata Chair in Buddist Studies
Dr. Collett Cox, University of Washington  


Beginning at the Beginning:
Research on the Oldest Surviving Buddhist Manuscripts


Location: Calgary Buddhist Temple



Tuesday, October 26, 2010   8:00pm
Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies - NUMATA YEHAN LECTURE IN BUDDHISM
Dr. Ronald Davidson, Fairfield University
Mahayana Buddhist rituals and the method of coded phrases (dhāraṇī)
Location: Calgary Buddhist Temple, 207 6th Street NE, Calgary




to Leslie Kawamura
who was awarded The Order of the University of Calgary
on June 10, 2010





February 5, 2010
The Role of Compassion in Tibet's Assimilation of Buddhism with Thupten Jinpa, Institute of Tibetan Classics, Canada Center for Compassion, and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University, USA.


September 24, 2009
Dr. James Apple, "The Dalai Lamas: A cultural Heritage of Embodied Compassion"


Numata Symposium hosts Buddhism scholars - click here for more information.



October 8, 2008
Dr. Leslie Kawamura
, Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, "The State of Buddhist Studies in Canadian Universities"


November 8, 2006
Dr. John Holt, Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, "Thervada: Now and Then - Rethinking Approaches to the Study of Buddhism in S. and S.E. Asia"



April 5, 2005
Dr. Eva Neumaier, Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, "bSam gtan mig sgron and the rDzog chen Quotations: A Study in the Production of Tibetan Texts"




MAY 14-15, 2004

A two day symposium reuniting past Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies Chairholders at theUniversityofCalgary.

Past Chairholders: Kuala Lumpur Dhammajoti (Sri Lanka), Michael Hahn (Germany), John Holt (U.S.A.), Yakupitiyage Karunadasa (Sri Lanka), Shoryu Katsura (Japan), Charles Prebish (U.S.A), Tom Tillemans (Switzerland), Charles Willemen (Belgium), Paul Williams (England)

Also: John Harding (Canada), Leslie Kawamura (Canada), Eva Neumaier (Canada), Richard Payne (U.S.A), Hillary Rodrigues (Canada), Ineke Van Put (Belgium)

The conference proceedings were published as a special issue of Pacific World Journal.
Click here for the complete issue.



04 March 2004

Dr. Charles Willemen, Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, "The Sutra "School" in Nara Japan"






14 November 2002
Dr. Charles Willemen, Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, "From Where Did Zen Come?"




Fall Semester 2001
Yakupitiyage Karunadasa (International Buddhist University, Thailand) "The Early Buddhist Teaching On the Practice of the Moral Life"


Winter Semester 2001
Thomas Tillemans (U. Lausanne, Switzerland.) "Trying to be Fair to Madhyamika Buddhism"




Fall Semester 2000
John Clifford Holt (Bowdoin College) "The Hindu Buddha and the Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformations in India and Sri Lanka"


Winter Semester 2000
Kuala L. Dhammajoti (Kelaniya University) "The Sarvastivada Doctrine of Simultaneous Causality"




Fall Semester 1996
Shoryu Katsura (Hiroshima University) "How did the Buddhists prove something? The Nature of Buddhist Logic"




Fall Semester 1995
Thomas Tillemans (U. Lausanne, Switzerland) "What Would it Be Like to Be Selfless? Hinayanist Versions, Mahayanist Versions and Derek Parfit"