Current Projects

The Tibetan Origins of the Great Perfection: A study of the works of the Indo-Chinese Buddhist master Śrī Siṃha

Principle investigator (PI): Dr Georgios T. Halkias
Start date: 2024 Jan
Fund source: GRF Fund

From the 8th century onwards various Buddhist traditions were introduced to Tibet that drew from a complex mosaic of thriving Mahāyāna cultures in neighbouring China, India, Nepal, and Central Asia. Among the many outstanding developments that emerged from Buddhism's transmission in Tibet is a heterogenous collection of spiritual precepts and practices known as the Great Perfection (Dzogchen). This Buddhist tradition, also known as Atiyoga (highest yoga), is the only non-dual contemplative system to develop exclusively in Tibet. Its adherents consider it to be the highest expression of Buddhist philosophical thought that reached its most elaborate articulation in the Seminal Heart literature of the 14th century. Despite a few critical and significant studies of the movement’s early history, there is no consensus among scholars as to its origins, chronology, and formative phases.This research project will significantly enrich our understanding of Śrī Siṃha’s role in the lineage-based transmission of the Great Perfection to Tibet and his relationship with other early Great Perfection figures and texts. Furthermore, it will yield an interpretive framework for critically evaluating the early development of the Great Perfection’s fundamental tenets, and for ascertaining their diachronic effect on the philosophical, literary, and visionary traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. 

Funeral Biographies of Buddhist Monks and Nuns

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. Guang Xing
Start date: 2022 Jun
Fund source: UGC fund (with the support of Mrs. Anita Hudson and Mr. Kenneth Hudson)

This research project is a study and annotations of the Funeral Biographies of Buddhist monks and Nuns in the Tang and Song dynasties. As funeral biographies always include details about personal conduct, family life, local conditions, and social and cultural practices, they can be tremendously helpful in giving the reader a sense of the ways of thinking of their period and the realities of daily life, especially among the elite class.

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The neurophysiological effect of repetitive religious chanting on the connectivity between brain regions and heart

Principle investigator (PI): Ven. Hin Hung
Co-PI: Dr. Gao Junling, Dr. Bonnie W.Y. Wu
Start date: 2021 Apr
Fund source: UGC fund (with the support of Mrs. Lee Fung Kung Wah (Mrs. Simon K.Y. Lee))

Stress is a prevailing condition in the current society, especially during an unprecedented pandemic. Religious chanting has been practiced in both East and West, for instance, chanting the name of Amitabha or mantra is broadly practiced. It is assumed that this kind of religious chanting can help practitioners to improve spiritual and mental wellbeing. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of religious chanting on stress reduction and psychological wellbeing, from a behavioral and neuroimaging perspective.

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The Mahā-aṭṭhakathā Quotations of the Samantapāsādikā Vinaya Commentary: A Critical Edition and Translation, and A Study on Theriya Vinaya Views

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. G.A. Somaratne
Start date: 2021 Jan
Fund source: UGC fund

The proposed research will undertake to edit, translate and analyse the quotations of the Mahā-aṭṭḥakathā (lit. ‘Great Commentary’), that appear in the Samantapāsādikā (=Sp), with the aim of contributing towards understanding the divergent views developed on Vinaya within the Mahāvihāra school of Theravāda Buddhism during the first half of the first millennium CE.

 

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The Daode jing and Buddhism: A Conceptual Comparison

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. Chengzhong Pu
Start date: 2020 Aug
Fund source: UGC fund

Soon after its advent in China, Buddhism was considered by some Chinese to advocate similar teachings as what the Daode jing does. This idea had repeatedly echoed in the writings of some Chinese during the long history of Chinese Buddhism. Yet, there seems to have no attempt trying to systematically identify what exactly was that which made some Chinese believe so in the first place. This project aims to analyze the elements which might have been understood to be something shared by the Daode jing and Buddhist scriptures. To be precise, these few aspects will be dealt with: the thought that the human body is a source of suffering, the notion of abstaining from desires, and the concept of kindness.

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Buddhism and Chinese Culture

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. Guang Xing
Start date: 2020 Jul
Fund source: UGC fund

This research project mainly studies the Buddhist interaction with and impact on Chinese culture on all levels, including philosophy, morality, religions, language, literature, art, and architecture. As a result, Buddhism has successfully integrated into the traditional Chinese culture, and become one of its three pillars. The other two are traditional Chinese philosophical systems of thought namely Confucianism and Daoism. Aimed to give an introduction of Buddhist influence and impact on Chinese culture, the discussion of this book is divided into two parts: the first half takes the theoretical approach to the philosophical and moral issues, and the second half focuses on the thematic issues.

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Buddhist Counseling: Multifaceted Development of Theories and Practices

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. Kin Cheung (George) Lee
Co-PI: Dr. Jessica Tang
Start date: 2020 Jan
Fund source: Sponsored by Mrs. Lee Fung Kung Wah (Mrs. Simon K.Y. Lee)

Buddhist counseling is an emerging field which adopts Buddhist teaching as a theoretical orientation to liberate suffering in clients using the framework of professional counseling in the contemporary society. As a scholar in Buddhist counseling, the general aim of my research is to develop a practical, systematic, and effective treatment model based on the Early Buddhist Teaching. I have developed a Buddhist counseling model, named as Note, Know, Choose. With this model as the basis, my research projects are divided into four components: (1) conceptual development of a complete theoretical orientation based on Early Buddhism; (2) clinical studies to validate the effectiveness of Note, Know, Choose; (3) application of Note, Know, Choose to different mental health problems and populations, and; (4) development of the field of Buddhist counseling including definition of the field, core competencies of Buddhist counselors, and Buddhist counseling skills and techniques.

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Understanding Guangdong Buddhist Death Ritual in order to bring about a better understanding of the people of Hong Kong

Principle investigator (PI): Ven. Hin Hung
Co-PI: Dr. Fa Ren
Start date: 2019 Dec
Fund source: UGC fund

In Search of Positive Psychology in Early Buddhism

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. G.A. Somaratne
Start date: 2019 Nov
Fund source: UGC fund

The Buddha’s teaching, which provides guidance and direction for people for achieving well-being and happiness here and now, paves the way for considering it as a positive psychology. Moreover, the Buddha’s discussions on karma, the path and practice, and his analysis of mind and mental factors are all directed toward generating a positive mind that drives one do positive wholesome deeds mentally, verbally and physically, a type of deeds that breeds wholesome results. This research therefore aims at uncovering the Buddha’s conception of positive psychology by examining the discourses of the Pāli Canon, while comparing and contrasting it with the modern western positive psychology.

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Buddhist Art & Texts: Study of Avatamsaka sutra

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. Tsui Chung-hui
Start date: 2019 Sep
Fund source: UGC fund

The Avataṃsaka school or Huayan school is influential in Eastern Asia, in countries such as Korea and Japan. One of the reasons for this is because the doctrine of the Avataṃsaka sutra was adopted and assimilated into Chinese society through Confucius and Daoist thoughts. The theory that was created from the late Tang dynasty known as “three teachings harmoniously merged as one” (三教合一), which was the syncretism of Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, then strongly impacted the lifestyles in Eastern Asian cultures. This project will investigate how, who and what the reasons were that enhanced the transmission of this sūtra from southern to northern China. We will pay particular attention to the Buddhist monks from central Asia who went to China via the Silk Road.

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A Study of the Shi’er You Jing

Principle investigator (PI): Dr. Pu Chengzhong
Start date: 2019 May
Fund source: UGC fund

Scholars have convincingly shown that Chinese Buddhist translations include both the translations made from Indian texts as well as the texts compiled or composed in regions culturally impacted by India, namely Central Asia. The Shi’er you jing, an early medieval biography of the Buddha entitled as a scripture, belongs to the latter. This project is an attempt to survey all the issues surrounding this text. It suggests that the text may have been compiled in Central Asia by someone familiar with Chinese Buddhist translations done before the alleged translation time of this text.

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The History and Current Development of Amitabha Pure Land Nianfo Practice in Hong Kong

Principle investigator (PI): Ven. Hin Hung
Co-PI: Dr. Fa Ren
Start date: 2019 Jan
Fund source: Sponsored by Tung Lin Kok Yuen and UGC-Research Matching Grant Scheme

This project aims to document and investigate the historical development and different forms of Pure Land Nianfo practice in Hong Kong which has a rich history of well-established salient lineages and where various distinctive practices have been propagated. We hope to contribute to the preservation of the Amitabha Pure Land Nianfo Practice by inscribing the practice as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong.

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