290 research outputs found

    Posthumous Release for Lay Women in Tang China: Two Cases from the Longmen Grottoes

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    Famous for its cliff-carved Buddhist cave-shrines, Longmen was also a burial ground that attracted a few women from the seventh and the eighth centuries. This paper examines the burial caves of two lay women, Lady Lou (d. 661) and Lady Zhang (c. 658–c. 718), in relation to the newly excavated archaeological material and epigraphic evidence. Lady Lou compared her cave burial to the Indian ascetic practice in the forest of Śītavana but did not enact the compassionate offering of flesh. Lady Zhang was later removed from her burial cave by her sons so that she could be interred in a joint tomb with her husband. Through these two cases, I investigate the motivations behind the adoption of cave burials in medieval China. Canonical Buddhist scriptures taught these women that their social gender presented an obstacle to the final release. Dedicatory inscriptions at women’s burials and two tales of miraculous events at Longmen further suggest that family ties, an important constituent of women’s social gender, were believed to persist posthumously. Married women were expected to maintain their spousal and parental relations in the afterlife, and unmarried girls were imagined as turning into seductive spirits because of their lack of spousal union in their lifetime. I argue that cave burials at Longmen were not a compromise of the Indian ascetic practice but rather presented these lay women with a socially acceptable way to break free from their familial attachments after death


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    Onomástica china de la 'Historia de las cosas más notables, ritos y costumbres del gran Reyno de la China', de Juan González de Mendoza

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    'La Historia de las cosas más notables, ritos y costumbres del gran Reyno de la China' de fray Juan González de Mendoza, tuvo gran difusión en la Europa renacentista y marcó , gracias a su popularidad, un punto de inflexión en los incipientes conocimientos que por entonces se tenían del remoto país oriental . Las n umerosas ediciones en italiano, inglés, francés, alemán, holandés o latín que se hicieron poco después de su aparición en español un fenómeno casi inédito en su tiempo trasladó a un amplio público europeo el ya abundante y poco conocido corpus documental sobre China que, al margen de obras aisladas muy anteriores como las de Marco Polo , Odorico de Pordenone y otros viajeros --, había ido con formándose desde más de medio siglo antes a partir de las crónicas, cartas , mapas y relaciones de los portugueses sobre todo y españoles e italianos conocedores del Extremo Oriente por propia experiencia o a través de terceros. Sin embargo, y como apunta Navarrete (1676) con cierta exageración casi un siglo más tarde, los nombres de tod a índole relacionados con China que aparecen en la obra resultan casi en su totalidad irreconocibles. En este trabajo intentamos contribuir a la identificación y reconstrucción del mayor número posible de ellos

    From Samarkand to Chang’an --The Regionality of Sogdian Cultural Identity during the Tang Dynasty

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    The Sinicization of the Sogdians in China has always been a focus of attention for the Sogdians. The Sogdians traveled eastward from Central Asia along the Silk Road to China and established many settlements to meet their commercial and living needs. After entering China, the Sogdians integrated and adapted to the local culture for a better life. During the Tang Dynasty, the Sogdians were very active. Among the settlements established by the Sogdians, the life of the Sogdians in Xizhou, Dunhuang, Liangzhou, Liuhu Prefectures, and Chang’an is more representative. Integrating into Tang Dynasty society was a significant trend among the Sogde people. However, facing the profound influence of Tang culture, the Sogdians also had the right to choose themselves and exhibit different cultural identities. This kind of self-selection and cultural identity presents different situations due to factors such as the historical environment of the living area, social policies, and distance from the Central Plains Dynasty. In medieval China, even within its territory, the administrative powers of the rulers in the hinterland and border areas of the Central Plains were different. Due to their unique characteristics, different regions react differently to court orders. These differences have had an impact on the cultural identity of the Sogdians. When Sogdians live in a place, they will integrate into the local society according to the specific situation. When the Sogdians lived in an environment far away from the Central Plains dynasty and with a stable local government, they absorbed more of the culture promoted by local managers and gained recognition for it. When Sogdians live in turbulent environments, their acceptance of multiculturalism and groups is higher, and their identity changes with the needs of the overall society. When the Sogdians live in regions easily disturbed by political situations, their identity is often trapped in dynastic politics without having too much right to self-choose. Xian, as the central belief of the Sogdians, arrived in China with the footsteps of the Sogdians. The Sogdians also reformed Xian in order to better survive in China. The primary way was to combine Xian with Chinese Buddhism and folk beliefs so that Chinese society and rulers could accept Xian. Both the choices of political identification and religious transformation were made by the Sogdians to better adapt to the social life of the Tang Dynasty. From a fundamental perspective, the adaptation methods of the Sogdians were formed based on historical development, social environment, and political background at that time

    Characterization of ultra-deeply buried middle Triassic Leikoupo marine carbonate petroleum system (!) in the Western Sichuan depression, China

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    Ultra-deeply buried (>5000 m) marine carbonate reservoirs have gradually become important exploration targets. This research focuses on providing an understanding of the basic elements of the ultra-deeply buried Middle Triassic Leikoupo marine carbonate petroleum system within the Western Sichuan Depression, China. Comprehensive analyses of organic geochemistry, natural gas, and C–H–He–Ne–Ar isotope compositions suggest that the reservoir is charged with compound gases from four source rock units including the Permian Longtan, Middle Triassic Leikoupo, Late Triassic Maantang and Xiaotangzi formations. Approximately a 50-m thick outcrop and 100-m length of drilling cores were examined in detail, and 108 samples were collected from six different exploration wells in order to conduct petrographic and petrophysical analyses. Thin-section and scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations, helium porosity and permeability measurements, mercury injection capillary pressure (MICP) analysis, and wire-line logging (5,500–6,900 m) indicate that the reservoir lithologies include argillaceous algal limestones, dolograinstones, crystalline dolostones, and microbially-derived stromatolitic and thrombolitic dolostones. Reservoir properties exhibit extreme heterogeneity due to different paleogeographic environmental controls and mutual interactions between constructive (e.g., epigenetic paleo-karstification, burial dissolution, structural movement, pressure-solution and dolomitization) and destructive (e.g., physical/chemical compaction, cementation, infilling, recrystallization, and replacement) diagenetic processes. An unconformity-related epigenetic karstification zone was identified in the uppermost fourth member of the Leikoupo Formation, which has developed secondary solution-enhanced pores, vugs, and holes that resulted in higher porosity (1.8–14.2%) and permeability (0.2–7.7 mD). The homogeneity and tightness of the reservoir increases with depth below the unconformity, and it is characterized by primary intergranular and intracrystalline pores, solution pores, fractures, stylolites, and micropores with a lower helium porosity (0.6–4.1%) and permeability (0.003–125.2 mD). Regional seals consist of the Late Triassic Xujiahe Formation, comprised of ~300 m of mudstones that are overlain by ~5,000-m thick of Jurassic to Quaternary continental argillaceous overburden rocks. Effective traps are dominated by a combination of structural-stratigraphic types. Paleo- reservoir crude oil cracking, wet-gases, and dry-gases from three successive hydrocarbon generation processes supplied the sufficient hydrocarbon resources. The homogenization temperatures of the hydrocarbon-associated aqueous fluid inclusions range from 98–130 °C and 130–171 °C, which suggests hydrocarbon charging occurred between 220–170 Ma and 130–90 Ma, respectively. One-dimensional basin evolution models combined with structural geologic and seismic profiles across wells PZ1-XQS1-CK1-XCS1-TS1 show that hydrocarbon migration and entrapment mainly occurred via the unconformity and interconnected fault-fracture networks with migration and charging driven by formation overpressure, abnormal fluid flow pressure, and buoyancy forces during the Indosinian and Yanshanian orogenies, with experiencing additional transformation occurring during the Himalayan orogeny. The predicted estimated reserves reached ~300 × 109 m3. The results provide excellent scientific implications for similar sedimentary basin studies, it is believed that abundant analogous deeply buried marine carbonate hydrocarbon resources yet to be discovered in China and elsewhere worldwide in the near future

    Institute for Research in Humanities, Staff and Research Projects : April 2022–March 2023

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    Exploring Learning Experiences of Community College Faculty Short-Term Study Abroad Leaders Using IPA and Visual Research

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    As short-term study abroad programs increase in popularity and number at community colleges, it is vital to examine the effect on the faculty who lead these programs. The purpose of this research study was to explore how community college faculty who lead short-term study abroad programs perceive personal learning including social and cultural factors and how they apply any change in perspectives to their non-study abroad courses. At the community college level, faculty-led short-term study abroad courses play a key role in addressing the growing importance of intercultural competence within undergraduate education. Despite the critical role that faculty play in higher education internationalization processes, there exists a vast gap in the literature on the impact of leading study abroad programs (Bista, 2016). In this interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) study, 10 community college faculty who have led short-term study abroad programs were interviewed using semi-structured open-ended questions via Zoom or telephone to explore their experiences and perceived development of social and cultural learning. The research focused on the impacts of meaningful social and cultural experiential learning for community college study abroad leaders and any subsequent contributions to instructional internationalization efforts in the classroom. When the identified problem is complex or under-researched, IPA is a particularly useful method to investigate how participants make sense of their experiences. As a dual form of analysis, visual methodology was employed to analyze artifacts and photographs supplied by the participants

    Path of awareness: the relationship between mindfulness and place

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    Mindfulness meditation has been increasingly used as a tool to address both physical and mental health issues in contemporary society and has gained growing interest and application in various fields. Meanwhile, designers have attempted to use architectural design to help improve people's well-being. However, the relationship between dedicated mindfulness practice and the physical environment in which it is practised awaits further exploration. This study aimed to investigate how spatial design can facilitate formal mindfulness practice. To do so, this research examined a wide range of literature, including related mindfulness theories originating in the Buddhist tradition, architectural and landscape design, and environmental psychology. It established an initial research framework for empirical study and application. The study first distributed an online survey to over 200 mindfulness practitioners in the UK to gain a quantitative understanding of their views toward the environment in which they practised mindfulness. The case study method was then adopted to explore this topic further. The case of Kagyu Samye Dzong London was selected to qualitatively investigate the influence of a specifically dedicated space for mindfulness and whether setting up a specific space for practice is necessary. Empirical data was collected through spatial analysis, an online questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews. The results were analysed using architectural interpretation, IBM SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) Statistics means analysis and factor analysis (version 27.0), and the Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) NVivo (version 11). This research conducted a comprehensive comparison of mindfulness practitioners based on factors such as expertise level (beginner/proficient), religious background (Buddhist/non-Buddhist) practice frequency, and gender, aiming to gain diverse perspectives on how the environment can effectively facilitate mindfulness practice. The findings of this empirical research provided a systematic and refined research framework consisting of nine main factors, achieved through the quantification of qualitative research. Not only it suggested that setting up a specific physical environment for mindfulness practice is necessary, especially for beginners, but it also provided the order of impact for the elements. Among the elements, quietness was among the top for positively influencing mindfulness meditation; second, the use of tools (such as meditation cushion); and third, the warm room ambience. This framework provided guidance for both designers and mindfulness practitioners to change the environment and better facilitate mindfulness meditation – which leads to long term well-being. Such physical environment, like mindfulness practices itself, is a tool to help people reach their goals. Hence, people would be encouraged to go beyond physical boundaries and obtain awareness, happiness, and well-being with the support given. To sum up, this research holds both academic and practical significance as it enriches the existing field of architectural design through its systematic review and empirical framework. Furthermore, it provides an accessible toolkit for individual practitioners to enhance their mindfulness practice

    Buddhist pilgrimage at Mount Wutai: architecture, landscape, and religious heritage

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    Mount Wutai, China’s earliest Buddhist center, dating to the Han Dynasty’s first century (206 BCE–220 CE), boasts over a hundred monasteries, numerous monuments, and ruins, drawing global pilgrims and travelers. Over its long history, as the geographical focus of imperial support shifted, the ideological underpinnings for structuring the monastic habitation on Mount Wutai also underwent a transformation, consequently altering the pilgrimage paths, monasteries, and mountain gates. However, there remains a paucity of understanding regarding these changes. This paper aims to map out the representative dynamic pilgrimage routines influenced by geo-capital shifts and to reveal the changeable Buddhist ideology of monasticism on Mount Wutai. Through archival studies on ancient transcripts and maps, the interpretation selects the three most significant periods in the development of Buddhism in Mount Wutai: the Northern Wei (386–534 CE), the Sui Tang (581–907 CE), and the Qing Dynasty (1630–1912 CE). The article indicates that Mount Wutai’s monastic strategies have transformed significantly, progressing from free monasticism to the Mañjuśrī maṇḍala mode and ultimately adopting a predominant Tibetan Buddhist character. These changes were driven by shifting Buddhist ideologies and heritage, with pilgrimages and monastic construction responding to these shifts