top of page
Expressions of the Dharma
Buddhist Art & Culture in Everyday Life
April 4-6, 2019

University of the West

& Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple

Los Angeles, CA

Artistic and cultural expressions have been a vital means of religious engagement for Buddhists. From early Buddhist architecture to cave paintings and calligraphy, artistic forms symbolically capture Buddhist worldviews in ways that both reflect and enhance religious devotion.

To mark the publication of the English edition of the Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts, the Institute of the Study of Humanistic Buddhism (ISHB) at University of the West and Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple are pleased to host the conference, "Expressions of the Dharma: Buddhist Art and Culture in Everyday Life," that will be held April 4-6, 2019.



Conference registration rates:

  •  Professional (Faculty, Curator)  $50.00

  •  Independent Scholar  $35.00

  •  Student (with ID)  $0.00

  •  Monastic, Clergy  $0.00

  •  General Public  $50.00

Full conference registration is available here.  Included in your registration are select meals (including the Opening Banquet) and optional trip to the Huntington Library & Gardens.

Registration for several free events--open to the public--can be found here.



No-cost shared room accommodations are available at Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple (Hacienda Heights) on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please check the appropriate box when you register.

Participants may also reserve a room at their own cost at:

Courtyard Los Angeles Hacienda Heights/Orange County

1905 S Azusa Avenue 

Hacienda Heights  CA  91745     map

Reserve by: March 4, 2019. To reserve your room at the conference rate ($139.00+tax), click here.



APRIL 4th Thursday   Hsi Lai Temple



Conference Check-in begins                                                                                      



Opening Banquet & Welcome                                                       





Buddhist Art & Culture in Everyday Life

Moderated by Lewis Lancaster, University of the West & UC Berkeley


Kerry Lucinda Brown, Savannah College of Art and Design

Activating Ancient Buddhist Narratives in Contemporary Ritual Practice: The Veneration of Dīpaṅkara Buddha in Nepal


David Efurd, Wofford College

When Buddhists Carved Earth: Cave Architecture in an Everyday Landscape


Tracy Miller, Vanderbilt University

Water and Ritual in Early Chinese Buddhist Architecture


Several events are free and open to the public. These sessions are highlighted in orange. You may register for these free sessions here.

APRIL 5th Friday   Hsi Lai Temple



Tour of Hsi Lai Temple (optional)                                                                                  



FEATURED PANEL                                                                                                          


Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts including donation of the Encyclopedia

Moderated by Venerable Youheng (Editorial Director)


Ven. Mankuang (Editorial Advisor)

Peter Johnson (Editor of Architecture, Caves and Artifacts)

Yann Lovelock (Editor of Sculpture)

Graham Wilson (Editor of Painting)

Stefanie Pokorski (Editor of Calligraphy, Seals and People)





CONCURRENT SESSIONS I                                                                                    



Expressions of the Dharma in the Ordinary and the Everyday

Moderated by Jane Naomi Iwamura, University of the West


Peter Romaskiewicz, UC Santa Barbara

The Early American Encounter with Buddhist Imagery in Silent Film


Hwee Koon Tan, Independent Curator

From Buddhas (& Bodhisattvas) to Ordinary People: The Impact of an Engaging Human-Realm Buddhism on Li Chen

(a Chinese artist’s shift from a self-taught Buddhist sculptor to a contemporary artist)


Venerable Mankuang, International Buddhist Progress Society—Dallas

Humanistic Buddhism in Architecture----The Example of the Fo Guang Triple Gem Structure Complex (San Bao Shan)


Sarah Richardson, University of Toronto 

The Place of “the Everyday” in Buddhist Narrative Painting




The Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Spiritual Path


Shauna Eheler, University of the West

Susan Morse, University California, Irvine

Larisa Castillo, University California, Irvine



CONCURRENT SESSIONS II                                                                                   



Expressions of the Dharma in Chinese Culture

Moderated by Darui Long, University of the West


Margarita Delgado Creamer, University of Pittsburgh 

Earliest Buddha Images in China: Reception and Transformation


Xiaoyang Zhang, University of the West 

Wisdom in Red: An Exploration into the Religious and Art Practice of Red Mañjuśrī in Tangut Buddhism in Dunhuang


Taliesin Thomas, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA) 

Re-Envisioning The Buddhist Imagination in Contemporary Chinese Art




Expressions of the Dharma in the Contemporary Moment

Moderated by Shou-Jen Kuo, University of the West


Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, Occidental College         

The Merit of Garbage: Recycled Materials in Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist Sacred Objects


Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia, Occidental College

Negotiating between the Old and the New: Giant Buddhist Statues and Questions of Efficacy in New Sacred Spaces in Sikkim, India


Soorakkualame Pemarathana, University of Pittsburgh  

New Icons of the Buddha: The Promotion of Domestic Veneration of the Buddha in the 20th Century Sri Lanka




SPECIAL EVENING PANEL                                                                    


Paglalayag: Journeys on Learning, Living and Propagating Expressions of Dharma through Performing Arts


Katherine Mae G. Sabate, Guang Ming College

Transformative Pedagogy: Learning And Experiencing Buddhism As A Cultivation In Creating And Performing Arts

Gian Carlo Navarro, Guang Ming College
Voices Of Dharma: A Phenomenological Analysis Of Buddhist Arts And Culture Through Performing Arts

(Reflections on Emptiness and Silent Meal— Dance)


Al Bernard Garcia, Guang Ming College
The Experience And Practice Of Mindfulness Meditation Through The Expressions And Improvisations Of Movement And Dance


Cychaina Jontilano & Cyril Valeriano, Guang Ming College
Site-specific Dance: A Conscious Choreographic Process Informed by the Concept of Mindfulness


Ralph Jade Tampal, Guang Ming College
Buddhism and the Performing Arts: Analysis on the Juxtaposition of the Buddhist Concept of Right View and Islamic Concept of Niat by a Muslim Scholar

APRIL 6th Saturday         University of the West   



PLENARY PANEL                                                                          


Scholarly Practices: Buddhist Material Culture and the Everyday Life 

Moderated by Sonya S. Lee, University of Southern California


Jinah Kim, Harvard University

Winston Kyan, University of Utah

Melody Rod-ari, Loyola Marymount University

Akiko Walley, University of Oregon






LUNCHTIME WORKSHOP                                                              


Tea Chaplaincy > Pop-Up Tea Stop                                                                                           

Ven. Woo Sang, University of the West

JIeyan Zheng, University of the West

David Kaleo Woo, University of the West



SESSION III                                                                                      



Expressions of the Dharma in the Historical

Moderated by Miroj Shakya


Gudrun Buhnemann, The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Śākyamuni Buddha’s Journey to Lumbinī as a Popular Theme in Newar Buddhist Art


Shih-shan Susan Huang, Rice University

Elite Uighurs and the Network of Buddhist Printed Books in the Mongol Empire


Nalini Rao, Soka University of America

Buddhist Sangha and Royal Patronage at Kanaganahalli: Recent Excavations in South India


Rebecca Hall, USC Pacific Asia Museum

Impermanence and the Study of Buddhist Funeral Arts of Northern Thailand



Tea & Closing Remarks                                                                  



Farewell Dinner  (Hsi Lai Temple)                                                              



The conference will take place at:


April 4-5

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple

3456 Glenmark Drive

Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

April 6

University of the West

1409 Walnut Grove Ave

Rosemead, CA 91770

Transportation will be provided between the two conference sites.

Click on the markers or use the search box below to locate "FGS Hsi Lai Temple or " UWest"

bottom of page