Category Archives: Seminars

SEAP Gatty Lecture Series: “Dharma in Motion: Buddhism and Mobility across the South China Sea”

SEAP Gatty Lecture Series:
“Dharma in Motion: Buddhism and Mobility across the South China Sea”

Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm 

Kahin Center 640 Stewart Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Jack Meng-Tat Chia, PhD Candidate, History, Cornell University

Chia’s talk will reconsider Kuah-Pearce’s concept of  “reformist Buddhism” through the case of Yen Pei. He argues for the need to historicize “reformist Buddhism” in the Singapore context and to consider the Buddhist networks linking multiple nodes that circulated people, ideas, practices, and money between China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and beyond. In addition, he will demonstrate that a study of the transnational biography of Yen Pei is a fine example of how an individual life, examined in grainy detail, can offer insights into Buddhism and modernity in Asia. At a broader level, the case of Yen Pei reveals how Singapore’s Buddhist history was intertwined with the larger history of the modernization and globalization of Chinese-language Buddhism in the twentieth century.


Dhammic Ties Across the Straits: Buddhism in Indonesia and Malaysia

Dhammic Ties Across the Straits: Buddhism in Indonesia and Malaysia

Date : Sunday, 14 Jun 2015 
Time : 10:00AM – 12:00PM
Venue : Buddha Dhamma Mandala Society
Speaker : Jack Chia (Cornell University) & Yulianti (Gadjah Mada University/Leiden University)

Singapore, a country with a Chinese (and Buddhist) majority, is surrounded by Muslim countries. Unknown to many Singaporean Buddhists, Buddhism takes up about 2 million of Indonesia’s population and is the second largest religion in Malaysia after Islam. In fact, the Buddhist communities in our two neighboring countries are vibrant and rooted in the Dhamma. This talk aims to provide a better understanding of Buddhism in Indonesia and Malaysia. It seeks to answer the following questions: Who are the Buddhists in Indonesia and Malaysia? What are their religious practices? What are the recent developments in our neighboring Buddhist communities? And finally,how can a better understanding of Buddhism in Indonesia and Malaysia benefit Buddhists in Singapore? Drawing on their research and expertise, Jack and Yuli will discuss the history and current state of Buddhism in Indonesia and Malaysia.

About the Speakers
Jack Meng-Tat Chia is a PhD candidate in Southeast Asian history at Cornell University. Born and raised in Singapore, he received his BA (Hons) and MA in history from the National University of Singapore, and his second MA in Regional Studies-East Asia from Harvard University, where he was a Harvard-Yenching Scholar. His research interests include Buddhism, Chinese popular religion, and overseas Chinese history. His articles have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as China Quarterly, Journal of Chinese Religions, and SOJOURN. He is currently conducting research for his dissertation titled: “Diasporic Dharma: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea.” Jack is a recent recipient of the prestigious Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in Buddhist Studies.

Yulianti is a PhD candidate based at the Gadjah MadaUniversity in Yogyakarta in the project “The Making of Religious Tradition in Indonesia: History and Heritage in Global Perspective (1600-1940),” jointly organized by Leiden University and Gadjah Mada University. She studied for her BA in Buddhist Studies at the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Myanmar.Subsequently, she earned her MAs in Religion and Culture from Gadjah Mada University and Religious Studies fromFlorida International University. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Producing Buddhism in Modern Indonesia (ca. 1930s-1950s): South and Southeast Asian Networks and Local Agencies.” Yuli is currently an Asian Graduate Student Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

All Are Welcome !

The Turtle and the Temple

  National Museum of Singapore Gallery Theatre, Basement
Date: Sat, 19 Jul
Time: 2pm- 3.30pm
Venue: National Museum of Singapore Gallery Theatre, Basement

Synopsis: Thousands flock to the Tua Pek Kong temple at Kusu Island every year, a pilgrimage practice that began more than 150 years ago. How did this tradition begin and how have the associated rituals and beliefs changed over time? In turn, how have changes to the island and its physical and socio-economic environment affected the practice and future of this pilgrimage? Drawing on his research and interviews conducted in the late 2000s, Jack Chia offers a look at Kusu from the inside out, through the eyes of the temple’s caretakers and their stories of the island.

Speaker: Jack Chia is a PhD candidate in Southeast Asian History at Cornell University. His research on the Kusu Island pilgrimage in 2007-2008 has been published in the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies. It stems from his interest in Buddhism in Singapore, Chinese popular religion and overseas Chinese history.