Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

(001) Singing to Buddha: Buddhist Music in Contemporary Asia

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Thurgood Marshall South, Mezzanine

Buddhist music is produced and performed for many purposes, ranging from liturgical ceremonies, self-cultivation, evangelism, and aesthetic pleasure. In recent years, it is even packaged for mass commercial consumption. Buddhist music comprises a variety of genres, including sacred chants, devotional songs, and rock and roll music in Asia today. Although scholars of contemporary Buddhism have studied issues such as activism, environmentalism, meditation, and philanthropy since the last decade, little attention has been given to study the production and performance of Buddhist music. This inter-area panel brings together Buddhist studies scholars, ethnomusicologists, and historians in order to explore the varied forms of Buddhist music in Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. It seeks to consider the intersections between music, ritual, and Buddhist modernism. Jack Meng-Tat Chia uses the case of True Direction to analyze the development and performance of contemporary Buddhist music in Muslim-majority Indonesia. Michaela Mross examines why and how Zen clerics create new crossover music rituals in present-day Japan. Jim Sykes explores the drumming ritual of the Sinhala Buddhist community in post-war Sri Lanka. Ming-yen Lee takes Fo Guang Shan’s “Ten Thousand People Praising the Almighty Buddha” Music Concert as a case study to illuminate the diverse forms of Chinese Buddhist music in Taiwan. The respondent, Scott Mitchell, will discuss these papers in the light of his research on Buddhist music in America.

Presentations:

Jack Meng-Tat Chia

National University of Singapore, Not Applicable, Singapore

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Ming-yen Lee

National Taiwan University of Arts, Taiwan

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Scott A. Mitchell

Institute of Buddhist Studies, California

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    Jack Meng-Tat Chia

    National University of Singapore, Not Applicable, Singapore

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    Michaela Mross

    Stanford University, California

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    Jim Sykes

    University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania

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    Ming-yen Lee

    National Taiwan University of Arts, Taiwan

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    Scott A. Mitchell

    Institute of Buddhist Studies, California

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