Exploring the World of Buddhist Arts at Hsi Lai
【人間社記者 Alan Peto Los Angeles報導】 2017-11-17
  • 圖說:A complete set of the «Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts». 人間社記者Zijun Xiao攝

  • 圖說:A participant carefully reads the encyclopedia. 人間社記者Zijun Xiao攝

  • 圖說:Venerable Hui Dong, abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, presents the «Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts» to Dr. Susan Huntington, who accepts it on behalf of Ohio State University. 人間社記者Zijun Xiao攝

  • 圖說:Venerable Youheng, the director and head editor of the English edition of the «Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts», explains the origins and editorial process of the encyclopedia. 人間社記者Zijun Xiao攝

  • 圖說:Lecture by Dr. Susan Huntington on “Why Do Buddhists Use Art.” 人間社記者Zijun Xiao攝

  • 圖說:Audience raises questions during the lecture. 人間社記者Zijun Xiao攝

The new English version of the “Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts” debuted on November 11, 2017 at Hsi Lai Temple, along with a special lecture regarding art used in Buddhism.

The 20-volume comprehensive and authoritative encyclopedia on Buddhist art found around the globe contains over 15,000 full color illustrations, 10,000 entries, and is being made available for free to selected universities in the Los Angeles area.

The encyclopedia contains volumes covering a diverse number of topics such as architecture, caves and rock carvings, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, seal engraving, artifacts and decorative arts, people, and a comprehensive index volume.

Dr. Susan Huntington, a professor at the Ohio State University’s Department of History of Art and Director and Co-founder of the “Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art” (http://huntingtonarchive.org/), was invited by Hsi Lai Temple to give a two-hour lecture to explain the profound meaning of art used in Buddhism as explained in the encyclopedia. A total of 150 people from all walks of life attended the lecture, including Buddhist monastics and art professors.

“It is very difficult to imagine the practice of Buddhism without the art.” Said Dr. Huntington, who was the principal advisor for the English version of the encyclopedia. “The architecture, sculpture, painting, and ritual implements foster the practice of Buddhism.”

The lecture by Dr. Huntington covered several topics such as how Buddhist art is not intended to be like “modern artwork,” but instead is intended to be part of Buddhist practice, and not just viewed in a museum.

“A museum is like a zoo. It’s not the natural habitat for Buddhist art.” Said Dr. Huntington. “Buddhists don’t create art for you to walk by it. Buddhists create art for you to use it.”

According to Dr. Huntington the encyclopedia is considered the first comprehensive encyclopedia of Buddhist arts for all regions and periods, and an authoritative and landmark work which will be a major reference in perpetuity.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan (FGS), expressed the importance of this encyclopedia as a vital component in understanding the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha).

“May the world see the integrity of Buddhist cultures and reap the benefits and joy of the Dharma through the prism of Buddhist arts. The encyclopedia is a way which this can be accomplished.”

The encyclopedia is being offered worldwide in Chinese and English editions by selected Fo Guang Shan branch temples. For a limited time, Hsi Lai Temple will be offering the encyclopedia to universities and major libraries in the Los Angeles County.

“Helping college students understand how art is used in Buddhism was a major reason we wanted to make this encyclopedia in English.” Said Venerable Youheng, the director and head editor of the English edition of the encyclopedia.

Any university or major library in the Los Angeles area who wishes to receive a copy of the encyclopedia can add their information to a special request form on the Hsi Lai Temple website (http://www.hsilai.org/en/eba/).