Centre for Buddhist Studies
The Centre for Buddhist Studies is a centre for cultural elaboration, education and consultation, founded in 2002 following the organisation of the "First Neapolitan Conference on Buddhism Studies". Among its statutory objectives it proposes:
- to promote research on Buddhism in its many forms through times and cultures according to various disciplinary and methodological approaches;
- to promote and organise conferences, meetings and any other initiative aimed at promoting in international circles, scientific collaboration and the exchange of information, experience and knowledge among scholars of Buddhism;
- to organise conferences and other initiatives aimed at favouring, even beyond the world of research, the spread of knowledge on Buddhism;
- to promote the acquisition, conservation and enhancement, by the libraries of the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, of any kind of documentation of cultural heritage and expressions of Buddhism in different civilisations.
- to promote educational and lifelong learning initiatives that favour knowledge about Buddhism in its various aspects; promote the establishment of scholarships and research on issues related to Buddhism.
Many initiatives have been launched within the Center. Every year since 2003, a series of lectures on Buddhism have been organised with the participation of leading international experts on the history, civilisation, literature and art of the Asian countries where Buddhism has spread (India, SriLanka, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea etc.)
In 2007 the Fourth Conference Cycle was held. It was inserted, like the previous conferences, among the "other educational activities" of the degree programme in Languages ??and Cultures of Asia and Africa of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy for the academic year 2006 - 2007. Numerous internationally renown scholars participated.
Furthermore, in June 2007, the Center helped in the organisation of three seminars on the topic of the protection and recovery of traditional architectural techniques in Asia, in particular Tibet. This was done in collaboration with the non-governmental organisation ASIA in partnership with Tibet Heritage Fund and the CICSENE and with the collaboration of the Polytechnic of Turin and the Central Institute for the restoration of Rome. Finally, on November 21, 2007, a study day was held on "Buddhism and human rights: the case of Burma”.
In 2008, in collaboration with the PhD in Eastern and Southern Asia, the Fifth Conference Circle was held. The aim was to offer to both the students of the University and the public a thorough course on the history of Buddhism, articulated in an organic way and following a diachronic path. In April 2008, the seminar "Tibet: China is fragile", organised in collaboration with the magazine "Limes", was a great success. It focused on a matter of crucial importance in the framework of international politics in Asia and had wide coverage on the pages of local and national newspapers. In October, the Center organised an international event on "Contemporary Tibetan cinema: the discovery of a new political and cultural language" with interventions by prestigious scholars, contemporary Tibetan filmmakers and projections of films.
In 2009 the Sixth Conference Cycle was held which, using the valuable contributions of teachers from the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and other international scholars, such as Prof. Gerard Fussmann and Claudine Bautze-Picron, offered a fascinating course on the history of Buddhist art.
The Center has also organised a series of conferences on comparative studies on theatre entitled "The grotesque and the sublime in the ancient theatrical traditions of Eurasia". On 20 May 2009, Prof. Ulrich Pagel of SOAS London gave a lecture entitled "When Merchants Betray Monks: Tax Disputes at the Customs Office". In the same year the Centre edited the printing of "Magic Bridges, Buddhism and Western Literature", edited by Giacomella Orofino and Francesco Sferra.
In 2010 for the Seventh Conference Cycle the Centre organised a film festival entitled "Things of the Other World: Cinema and Religion in Asia" in collaboration with Dr. Stefania Cavaliere and Dr. Mara Matta. On May 10th a Day of Studies on Psychoanalysis and Buddhism was organised, with the participation of psychoanalysts, psychologists and neurologists. In the same month Prof. Helmut Tauscher of Vienna gave a lecture entitled "Remarks on Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (1109-1169) and his Madhyamaka treatises" while Prof. Ulrich Pagel of SOAS London gave a lecture on "Buddhist Monks and Merchants: The Dynamics of Conversion, Profit and Religious Merit ".