Inviting the Gods to Yunnan: Dali-kingdom Ritual Texts

Key information

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Brunei Gallery

About this event

Prof. Megan Bryson (University of Tennessee)
The seminar is free and open to all, but registration is necessary. Please email for information.

Dali-kingdom (937-1253) Buddhism survives in a rich collection of texts, images, objects, and architecture. This seminar gives a general overview of the six unique ritual texts from the Dali kingdom, and then gives a more in-depth introduction to the compendium of esoteric Buddhist invitation rituals, Zhu fo pusa jingang deng qiqing yigui (Ritual Procedures for Inviting Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Vajra Beings, Etc.). This text includes sections for inviting approximately forty deities; it is mainly written in Sinitic script, but also incorporates dhāraṇī and bīja in Nāgarī script. Reviewing two of the sections in this text in conjunction with related images from the Dali kingdom will show how court Buddhists in the Dali kingdom crafted their own distinctive Buddhist tradition.

Speaker Biography

Megan Bryson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focuses primarily on Buddhism in the Dali region of Yunnan Province, especially during the Nanzhao (649-903) and Dali (937-1253) kingdoms. Bryson’s first book, Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China (Stanford University Press, 2016), traced the worship of a local deity in Dali from the 12th to 21st centuries. Her current projects include Buddhism on the Southern Silk Road , a monograph on the textual, visual, and material transmission of Buddhism in the Dali kingdom, as well as the edited volume Buddhist Masculinities (with Kevin Buckelew). Bryson’s research has been supported by an ACLS fellowship and she serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religion and the Tang Studies Society.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies

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Sponsor: Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation