Through the “Buddhism in China Series”, the Woodenfish Project aims to aid the development of emerging scholars in the West with research interests in Chinese Buddhism or related fields by offering the opportunity for direct, intensive academic engagement with major historical centers of Buddhism in China.
Each year, since 2009 the program has taken a group of scholars to study religious sites in different regions of China. Through personal tours participants gain on-the-ground knowledge of the history and diversity of Buddhism in China, its relationship to other cultural institutions, and its ongoing vitality. Special attention is given to introducing participants to potential sources and avenues for research, and promoting interaction with Chinese scholars and religious professionals. Our program also is geared towards fostering international exchange and building networks among scholars of Chinese religion, history, and culture.
2012 Mt Putuo & Mt Tiantai Program
Application deadline: April 15
The primary objectives of the program are as follows:
- To deepen participants’ knowledge of Buddhist history and culture in China;
- To give participants hands-on experience with historical Buddhist sites and objects;
- To introduce participants to possible avenues of research related to their interests;
- To facilitate the interaction of participants with professors and graduate students from Chinese institutions.
Eligibility and Selection
Advanced undergraduates of academic promise and cognate interests and graduate students enrolled in MA or PhD programs at Western universities with a primary research interest in Chinese Buddhism or related fields are eligible to apply. Associated fields include: Chinese religion, comparative Buddhist studies, Buddhist art, Chinese history, Asian philosophy, etc. Faculty are also welcome and encouraged to participate. The program is open to students of all nationalities and university affiliations, though we do require English-language ability of all our participants. While proficiency in spoken and written Chinese is desirable, it is not a necessary condition for eligibility to participate in the program. Seminars and site introductions will often be given in Mandarin Chinese and interpreted into English by bilingual scholars, thus allowing full accessibility for all participants regardless of language background. For participants with proficiency in Mandarin, the program is also designed to provide opportunity for language exercise in a sustained academic interaction with Chinese scholars and religious professionals.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with admission generally determined within two weeks after submission of application. Applications will be accepted until the final deadline of April 15th. However, as only 30 individuals (including both students and faculty) will be admitted to the program, applicants are highly encouraged to apply early in order to improve the likelihood of their admission.
Accommodation and Fees
Housing, meals, (breakfast and lunch – participants will be free for dinner arrangements), bus transportation, and tuition within China are funded by a scholarship from the Woodenfish Project in association with Foguang Shan Monastery and will be provided to participants for the duration of the program. Participants, both students and faculty, are responsible for their own international airfare and domestic travel within China, and approximately $150 to $200 US in total for entry fees to the cultural sites and temples and tips for tour guides and drivers.
Participants may receive university credit from the University of the West to the academic institution they attend: REL 427 “Chinese Buddhism: Philosophy and Practice” for undergraduates and REL 638 “Seminar in Chinese Buddhism: Philosophy and Practice” for graduate students. Enrollment in a credit course is not required to participate in this program. Interested applicants should check the University of West’s website http://www.uwest.edu/site/ for current enrollment information and fees. Upon completion the student will receive a letter grade for the class. Please check with the academic institution/department you attend beforehand to see if it will accept credits from UWest.
Find out about the organization and people who make the Buddhism in China program possible.
For further information about the Buddhism in China series, please view past programs pages for participant write ups and pictures.
Student inquiries and applications may be sent by e-mail to the program coordinator, Tenzin Mullin at
Interested faculty should contact Ven. Dr. Yifa directly at