The Stuff of Buddhist Leisure

January 23, 2019 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

The Stuff of Buddhist Leisure

Amusement Parks and Socially Dis-Engaged Buddhism in Asia

Justin McDaniel

Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

How does the Buddhist doctrine of non-attachment work in the modern world? Penn Professor and Buddhist monk Justin McDaniel will describe the growth of a new leisure culture all across the Buddhist world, in Nepal, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Focusing on the rise of tourist attractions, memorial gardens and monuments, museums and cultural centers, and even amusement parks, McDaniel will show how these sites of leisure are altering the place of the individual within contemporary Buddhist culture.

Cosponsored by the Department of Religious Studies.

Justin McDaniel is Professor and Undergraduate Chair of Penn's Department of Religious Studies. His research foci include Lao, Thai, Pali and Sanskrit literature, art and architecture, and manuscript studies. His first book, Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words (University of Washington Press, 2008), won the Benda Prize and his second, The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk (Columbia University Press, 2011), won the Kahin Prize. His most recent book is the Architects of Buddhist Leisure (University of Hawaii Press, 2017). McDaniel's forthcoming work includes edited books on Thai Manuscripts, Buddhist Biographies, and Buddhist ritual. He is the co-editor of the journals, Buddhism Compass and Journal of Lao Studies, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies.

McDaniel has won teaching and advising awards at Harvard University, Ohio University, the University of California at Riverside, and the Ludwig Prize for Teaching at Penn. In 2017 he was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of ten innovative "Classroom Trailblazers."

In 2012 McDaniel was named a Guggenheim Fellow and in 2014 a Fellow of Kyoto University's Centre for Southeast Asian Studies. He has received grants from the NEH, Mellon, Rockefeller, Fulbright, PACRIM, Luce, the SSRC, among others. He is also the architect behind the online Thai Digital Monastery Project, where he is creating a monastic digital library for Thailand.

McDaniel took his PhD in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard after completing a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School.