Editor's Introduction, Issue 1.1


  • Lina Verchery Victoria University of Wellington Author


It is a delight and honour to launch this first issue of the Yin-Cheng Journal of Contemporary Buddhism, a new journal that brings the rich resources of Buddhism to bear on the urgent questions of the contemporary world. The articles in this issue exemplify our conviction that the Buddhist past speaks directly and powerfully to the present.

Donald S. Lopez Jr. offers a rich analysis of Ānanda’s trial at the first Buddhist Council—which famously raised the contested question of women’s ordination—and argues that Buddhist history itself can teach us how to approach questions about doctrinal change, adaptation, and the continuing evolution of Buddhism today. This vision is amplified in a powerful call to abolish Buddhist rules that discriminate against nuns, written by the activist nun Shih Chao-Hwei, who draws on the teachings of the Buddhist reformer and visionary, Yinshun, whose treatise on “Ānanda’s Faults” is included here in translation.

Echoing this call for social justice as a Buddhist soteriological imperative, Joy Brennan and Ann Gleig turn to Buddhist Yogācāra philosophy to argue for the dismantling of white supremacy as a form of Buddhist practice, while Rey Sheng Her highlights the longstanding historical and philosophical legacies that inform contemporary Buddhist efforts to address suffering in the here and now.

Foregrounding the value of Buddhist philosophy across time and place, Parimal G. Patil offers a vision of how a robust engagement with Buddhist philosophy could benefit the academic discipline of Philosophy, including by decolonizing its traditionally Eurocentric focus. As a case in point, Wei Daoru outlines how the influence of Huayan Buddhist philosophy transformed the broader Chinese philosophical landscape. Stefania Travagnin demonstrates the wide-ranging impact of Buddhist lay education on civic engagement, social ethics, and global imaginaires in Republican China, while Clair Brown outlines how the insights of Buddhism might inform contemporary economics, policy, and environmental legislation.

As we launch this first issue, we wish to thank the members of our advisory and editorial boards, as well as acknowledge the support of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, the “From the Ground Up: Buddhism & East Asian Religions” (FROGBEAR) Project at the University of British Columbia, and our institutional partners: the University of Cambridge, Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, Princeton University, Peking University, the University of British Columbia, and the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (Inalco).

The exceptional contributions in this issue, representing both scholarly and practitioner perspectives, connect the historical heritage of Buddhism to its place in the world today, where it serves as an ever-evolving source of creativity and innovation that is uniquely poised to respond to the pressing needs of our time.

Lina Verchery
Executive Editor
Yin-Cheng Journal of Contemporary Buddhism