Tushu 圖書: The Complementarity of Words and Graphic Images in the Exposition of East Asian Thought and Religion


Location: C103 Hesburgh Center

Robert Gimello (Professor of Theology) will discuss his most recent book, consisting in a translation and interpretation of a famous 7th century Sino-Korean Buddhist text that artfully combines verbal exposition with graphic design.  This text — The Map of the Domain of Truth according to the One Vehicle (一乘法界圖)  — exemplifies the process by which Buddhism came under the influence to the ancient Chinese predilection for graphic expression of religious and philosophical ideas (cf. the hexagrams of the Yijing (易經), The Luo River Chart (洛書 ) and The Yellow River Map (河圖), the "magic square" design in sacred architecture as in The Nine Chamber Hall of Light (九室明堂), The Diagram of the Great Ultimate 太極圖, etc.).

Robert Gimello is an historian of Buddhism with special interests also in the Theology of Religions and in Comparative Mysticism. In the field of Buddhist Studies he concentrates especially on the Buddhism of East Asia (China, Korea, & Japan), most particularly on the Buddhism of medieval and early modern China. The traditions of Buddhist thought and practice on which most of his work has focused are Huayan (The “Flower‐Ornament” Tradition), Chan (Zen), and Esoteric (Tantric) Buddhism, in the study of all of which he is particularly concerned with the relationships between Buddhist thought or doctrine and Buddhist contemplative and liturgical practice.