WMU News

Expert on Buddhism to speak

Sept. 25, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- An expert on Buddhism will present a lecture at Western Michigan University Monday, Oct. 13.

Dr. Robert H. Sharf, associate professor of Buddhist studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, will speak at 8 p.m. in the Lee Honors College. The topic of his free public address will be "On the Allure of Buddhist Relics."

Sharf is a specialist in Ch'an/Zen history, ideology and art, Japanese Buddhism, methodology and critical theory in the study of religion, and ritual studies. His publications have dealt with such diverse issues as the religious dimensions of mummification, the ritual use of portraiture, Japanese nationalism and Zen Buddhism, and the notion of religious experience.

In his address at WMU, he will explore why medieval Buddhists, like their Christian counterparts, regarded the remains of deceased saints as powerful animate forces worthy of veneration as well as why contemporary scholars of religion are fascinated with this topic.

Sharf's lecture is being sponsored by the WMU Department of Comparative Religion. For more information, persons may contact Dr. Jonathan A. Silk, assistant professor in the department, at 387-4399.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Linda L. Dannison, chairperson of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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