Spring 2021 Project Team

ISHB Graduate Student Research Training Program Fellows

Christopher Johnson

Fong Sam

Xiaoyang Zhang

Wenwen Zhou

UWest students work on project teams in which they engage in faculty-led research projects that introduce students to relevant methodologies and cultivate research skills necessary to undertake independent MA and PhD research of their own.


The current ISHB project team is engaged in the multidisciplinary study of Humanistic Buddhism and Fo Guang Shan within a global religious context. Venerable Master Hsing Yun established his visionary brand of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism and founded the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in 1967. In its fifty year history, Fo Guang Shan has developed into a global Buddhist movement with temples, lay organizations, publishing centers, and schools and universities around the world. With Master Hsing Yun and Fo Guang Shan as its starting point, the project team seeks to develop the following resources that document Fo Guang Shan’s contribution to modern Buddhism and encourage and enhance the scholarly study of Humanistic Buddhism.


Fo Guang Shan Mapping Project. The construction of a multi-use ArcGIS map of Fo Guang Shan temples, schools, and other organizations that also visualizes their historical development. Sample layers will also be developed that, for instance, track the institution’s development alongside the economic growth of Taiwan or the political history of China. The base map will be made available to scholars, who are encouraged to develop their own layers that are relevant in their own work.


Humanistic Buddhism Bibliography Project.  The compilation of two comprehensive bibliographies: (1) a primary source list of Master Hsing Yun’s works available in English, and; (2) a secondary source list of English-language scholarly references in the areas of Fo Guang Shan, Humanistic Buddhism, and modern Chinese Buddhism. The bibliographies are available as a PDF and in RDF format, which can be incorporated into Zotero and other bibliographic management platforms. (The bibliographies will be available shortly. Check back here.)


FGS Monastic Women's Oral History Project (planned). Fo Guang Shan has a significant number of women monastics, many of whom hold leadership positions within the organization.  Indeed, Master Hsing Yun recognized the potential of women, provided opportunities for their religious cultivation, and understood the potential of their contribution.  This project aims to track the history of this vision and document the background and views of female monastics through the collection of oral histories and interview data.  The database will serve as a resource for research for scholars interested in Buddhism and gender, the organizational development of FGS, and the development of Buddhism during the modern period.

Humanistic Buddhism Knowledge Map (planned). The creation of a visual genealogy that maps the evolution of key figures and concepts related to Humanistic Buddhism. The aim of the project is not to arrive at a definitive definition of “Humanistic Buddhism,” but rather to digitally represent the history of significant figures and their articulation of relevant concepts that will shed new light the organic development of modern Chinese Buddhism.