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This is the most up-to-date schedule for the 2023 AAR Annual Meeting. If you have questions about the program, contact annualmeeting@aarweb.org. All times are listed in Central Standard Time.

Yunnan Province, located in southwest China, has long been a hub in transregional Buddhist networks. However, it has received less scholarly attention than Silk Road sites and maritime routes. This panel’s four papers demonstrate Yunnan’s significance as a place for encounters between different forms of Buddhism and Buddhists of different backgrounds, with a focus on political themes in the late imperial period (1368–1911). Each paper uses a specific case study— Xitan Temple, the Yongle Buddhist Canon, an _abhiṣeka_ ritual text, and the _Săpº kammavācā_—to foreground a different encounter zone that connects Yunnan to Tibet, the Ming (1368–1644) court, middle-period South and Southeast Asia, or Theravada Southeast Asia. The papers draw on diverse sources in various scripts to reveal different facets of Buddhist encounters in Yunnan. The panel shows the benefits of treating Yunnan as a whole, rather than separately addressing Sinitic, Tibetan, or Pali forms of Buddhism.

  • Abstract

    This study looks into how Xitan Temple 悉檀寺, located on Chicken-foot Mountain (Ch. Jizu shan 雞足山; Tib. Ri bo bya rkang), facilitated material, human, and ritual encounters between Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism. Drawing upon the Sixth Zhwa dmar Chos kyi dbang phyug’s (1584-1630) pilgrimage account, Xu Xiake’s (1587-1646) 徐霞客 travel diary, temple inscriptions, and mountain gazetteers, this paper examines the ways in which Mu Zeng 木增 (Tib. bSod nams rab brtan, 1587-1646), a Naxi Chieftain who governed the Lijiang (Tib. ‘Jang Sa tham) area in northwestern Yunnan, played a critical role in Mt. Jizu’s transformation into a sacred site by patronizing both Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism. This will shed light on the power dynamics among different ethnic groups in Yunnan, and how this influenced decisions on the religious market.

  • Abstract

    The Ming Court probably bestowed seven sets of the Yongle Northern Canon to areas in Yunnan. In one case, the Wanli Emperor (r. 1573–1619) issued a decree to present the canon to Huayan Temple on Jizu shan in the fourteenth year of Wanli (1586). His mother, Empress Dowager Li (1545–1614), issued a decree the following year that imperial court would exempt 1284 _shi_ 石of grain-tax from the local people (almost equal to 65,736 kg of rice) to bring prosperity to the country and blessings to the local people. This paper examines the Ming court’s bestowal of the Yongle Northern Canon in Yunnan to analyze the relationship between the Imperial Court and the border province in the southwest and to explore why the court disproportionately favored temples on the sacred Buddhist mountain Jizu shan. One purpose was clear: to consolidate the border region and to protect the empire.

  • Abstract

    This paper nuances the dominant view that the Buddhist kingship of the Dali kingdom drew upon the Sinitic teaching of the _Humane King_. It does so by calling attention to a group of unstudied Esoteric Buddhist ritual manuals for the consecration (Sk. _abhiṣeka_; Ch. _guanding_) of the Dali rulers and by showcasing the ideal of divine rulership embodied in the final part of the ritual. I argue this section is modeled after the enthronement part of the Hindu kingship ritual _pratiṣṭhā_, through which the king reigns as an incarnation of the Buddha. Such a merging of the king and Buddha in one person was never attained in the _Humane King_ model but constitutes a parallel with the Hindu-inspired _buddharāja_ (Buddha-king) ideal in contemporaneous Southeast Asian Buddhist kingdoms. In drawing the parallel, this paper advocates repositioning Dali in a cosmopolitan world consisting of the synchronous pursuit of an Indian-inflected divine kingship.

  • Abstract

    Bilingual Pali-vernacular versions of the Vinaya, including the core Pātimokkha rules and their ritual framework, are some of the most widespread forms of monastic exegesis in the Theravada world. These bilingual compositions, or bitexts, typically follow an interphrasal format, in which Pali words or short phrases are followed by expanded glosses in a local vernacular. As part of a broader inquiry into how bitexts shaped Buddhist translation across mainland Southeast Asia, this paper focuses on a single Pali-Dai example of the Pātimokkha from early modern Sipsongpanna (today’s Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan province, China). This paper compares this text—preserved in facsimile form as part of the massive _Zhongguo beiyejing quanji_ project—with other manuscripts in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand to reveal how the translation choices made by Dai scholars—into Dai as well as into Chinese—made the Pātimokkha respond to local conceptions of scriptural authority and temporal power.