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Spring Term 2018


Thursday, April 26, 2018, 5:15 pm
The Ritualistic Tradition of Buddhist Meditation following the Kammaṭṭhāna Purāṇ in Siam and Cambodia
Olivier de Bernon, French School of the Far East (EFEO)
102 Wurster Hall
UC Berkeley

Buddhist painting talk image

The technical vocabulary of kammaṭṭhāna (« meditation topics ») is familiar in Pāli post-canonical literature. However, the scholastic articulations of Buddhist meditation according to the traditional and ritualistic method of Khmer and Siamese kammaṭṭhāna are quite original. Besides the complex ritualization of every step in the practice, this concerns in particular the logical or epistemological status given to scholastic categories, including the reversal of the classical order in which they feature in the Visuddhimagga, notably that the results of meditative practices may come to precede their actual implementation.

Olivier de Bernon, Ph.D. in Philosophy as well as Far Eastern Studies, is Professor at the French School of the Far East (EFEO), where since 1990 he has managed the Manuscripts Publishing Fund of Cambodia (FEMC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 2004, King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has entrusted Olivier de Bernon with all his personal archives, of which he has published the Inventory. Appointed General Curator of the Patrimony, he has directed the National Museum of Asian Arts – Guimet, in Paris, from 2011 to 2013. After focusing on traditional Buddhism of Siam and Cambodia, his current work and his seminar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) focuses on the ancient legal literature of Southeast Asia.

Event Contact: buddhiststudies@berkeley.edu, 510.643.5104