Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation and True Buddha Foundation co-sponsored the 2010 Lotus Scholarship, a special project, to support Buddhist studies. Four PhD students and one advanced undergraduate student from McMaster University received scholarships to further their research and understanding of Buddhism. A report by Professor James A. Benn, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, detailed each student’s utilization of Lotus scholarship funds and expressed true appreciation of the support received. The following is a summary.
Stephanie Balkwill is a PhD student interested in the institutionalization of Chinese Buddhism during the 4th to 7th centuries. The Lotus Scholarship funds allowed Stephanie to visit many early religious sites and sacred mountains that were integral to the development of Chinese religion, including Buddhist caves at Longmen, temples in Xian and Chengdu, Hua Shan and the Southern Marchmount, Nanyue.
Jessica Fish is an undergraduate student interested in pursuing Buddhist Studies, specifically Indian Buddhism. The Lotus Scholarship funded her participation in an intensive summer language course in Sanskrit at Harvard University where she learned about the etymological, cultural and historical significance of countless Sanskrit words.
Daniel Friedrich is a PhD student focused on Buddhism in Japan. The Lotus Scholarship funded his visit to Hokkaido, Japan, to identify important sites for ethnographic research that will form the basis of his doctoral thesis. Daniel hopes contribute to greater understanding and appreciation of local social, historical, and geographical factors in contemporary Jodo Shinshu life.
Chris Jensen is a PhD student studying Chinese Buddhism. The Lotus Scholarship funds allowed him to participate in WoodenFish’s Buddhism in China tour, which included numerous historical Buddhist sites throughout Sichuan and Chongqing. Interacting with worshippers and religious professionals, seeing China’s most sacred architecture and artifacts was a profound experience for Chris.
Adrian Chih-mien Tseng is a PhD student pursuing a study of Chinese Buddhism. The Lotus Scholarship funded her attendance and participation in the XVIth Congress of IABS (International Association of Buddhist Studies) at Dharma Drum Buddhist College in Taipei, Taiwan. Adrian presented a paper at the Congress, which is part of her PhD dissertation primarily addressing how the concept of Buddha-nature was reinterpreted in Chinese Buddhism.