Tang Center Symposia

Enduring Dharma

A Symposium on the Inscription of Buddhist Scriptures on Stone

Saturday, 20 April 2013; 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Princeton University, Betts Auditorium (Architecture N101)

Organized by the Princeton University Buddhist Studies Workshop and cosponsored by the Department of Religion, the Tang Center for East Asian Art, the Program in East Asian Studies, the Center for the Study of Religion, and the Silk Road Project

symposium Program

Chinese Buddhists began to prepare for the apocalypse in the sixth century by carving the Buddhist canon into stone. In the most massive projects, texts on stone slabs were set into the walls of caves and buried underground or in vaults. Other believers tried to preserve the Buddhist law (Dharma) by arranging sūtras and statues of Buddhas on natural cliff-faces to form multimedia ritual environments.


Since 2005 a multidisciplinary team sponsored by the Heidelberg Academy has been researching Buddhist stone inscriptions in China. This public symposium presents this project to a general audience and reflects on the practice of inscribing sūtras on stone from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and in contexts outside of China.


Robert E. Harrist, Jr., Columbia University

Lothar Ledderose, Heidelberg University

D. Max Moerman, Barnard College

John Strong, Bates College

Stephen F. Teiser, Princeton University


The symposium is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required (by sending an e-mail to by 8 April 2013.

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