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What do East Asian Buddhists call their books and why?

April 14, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Almost all scholars of East Asian Buddhism refer to Buddhists’ books as either the “Three Baskets” or the “canon”. But either term denotes a collection of thousands of individual books, whether in manuscript or printed form. Many premodern Japanese Buddhist temple librarians used another term, shōgyō 聖教 (shengjiao), possibly meaning the noble teachings. This presentation will explore the category of shōgyō and its origins to demonstrate how it was widely used by nearly all Buddhist sectarian denominations throughout 19th century, and how these venerated books were used on a daily basis.


This lecture is part of the Glorisun Distinguished Lecture Series.