Dr. Tzu-Lung Chiu

Dr. Tzu-Lung Chiu

Buddhist Studies

Fon: +49 (551) 4956 - 214
Fax: +49 (551) 4956 - 170
chiu(at)mmg.mpg.de

Tzu-Lung Chiu is a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. In 2016 she received a Ph.D.at Ghent University, Belgium. In her dissertation, Contemporary Buddhist Nunneries in Taiwan and Mainland China: A Study of Vinaya Practices, she explored Chinese Mahāyāna nuns’ perceptions of how they interpret and practice vinaya rules in the contemporary contexts of Taiwan and Mainland China. The dissertation studies the institutional organisation of Buddhist nunneries in a Chinese and in an international context. The focus lies on the attitude of nunneries towards tradition and present-day reality, as well as on their international role based on this attitude. The main aims of the research are to better understand how original Indian Vinaya monastic rules are applied in the modern bhikkhunī sangha, and to explore how Chinese nunneries inherit traditional monastic rules to meet contemporary needs and achieve future goals.

Previously, Tzu-Lung was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (2016-2017). She obtained her MA in Women’s Studies at Lancaster University, UK. Her research interests include India Vinaya rules, Chinese Buddhism, gender, the Bodhisattva rules, the qinggui (rules of purity), Humanistic Buddhism, and Contemporary Chinese Buddhism in Southeast Asia (especially Bangkok, Yangon and Mandalay).  

Current Research

In July 2018, I have commenced work on a new project for the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, on monastic networks that link Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhism in East and Southeast Asia. In the past few decades, globalisation has brought about transnational flows of people and cultures via both immigration and commerce. Inevitably, the different Buddhist traditions have passed beyond their historical geographic boundaries, resulting in unprecedented mutual dialogue, competition and integration, even to the point of creating hybrid Mahāyāna/Theravāda communities. My future research will therefore investigate how Chinese Mahāyāna monasteries in Thailand and Myanmar have influenced and been influenced by the prevailing cultural ethos of Theravāda Buddhism in those places. Given the marked differences between these two traditions in terms of both ritual/ceremony and religious practices such as meditation and precept observance, it is especially worth examining how and how much Chinese monastics have adjusted their way of everyday life to suit their interactions with the Theravāda laity. This research will also investigate Theravāda monastics’ experience in the Chinese cultural contexts of Taiwan and Mainland China.

Publications

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Chiu, Tzu-Lung. 2017. “An Overview of Buddhist Precepts in Taiwan and Mainland China”, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 13, pp. 150-196.

Chiu, Tzu-Lung. 2015. “The Practice of Fasting after Midday in Contemporary Chinese Nunneries”, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 11, pp. 57-89.

Chiu, Tzu-Lung and Ann Heirman. 2014. “The Gurudharmas in Buddhist Nunneries of Mainland China”, Buddhist Studies Review [A&HCI], 31(2), pp. 241-272.

Chiu, Tzu-Lung. 2014. “Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money in Contemporary Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese Buddhist Nunneries”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 21, pp. 9-56.

  • Reprinted in Humanistic Buddhism: Journal, Arts, and Culture 11 (September 2017): 178-213.

Heirman, Ann and Tzu-Lung Chiu. 2012. “The Gurudharmas in Taiwanese Buddhist Nunneries”, Buddhist Studies Review [A&HCI], 29(2), pp. 273-300.

Chapters in edited volumes

Chiu, Tzu-Lung. 2018. “The Roles of Secular States in the Development of Contemporary Chinese Buddhism: A Cross-Strait Perspective on Buddhist Nunneries”. In The Secular in South, East and Southeast Asia, edited by Kenneth Dean and Peter van der Veer, 165-189. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.