University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0450
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In the year since March 2008, Professor Miriam L. Levering continued her active role as a scholar and teacher at UTK and abroad. She advanced research on a classic Buddhist text, actively supported UTK undergraduate and graduate programs, and held a named chair as a visiting professor at McGill University. She published important essays and translations, lectured at leading centers of Religious Studies and Asian Studies in North America and Asia, and used her key position in a national association of scholars in her field to advance intellectual discourse about Catholic monk and writer Thomas Merton, a pioneer in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, as seen from Buddhist and Christian perspectives, and about Buddhist and Christian responses to advances in neuroscience.
Between March 2008 and March 2009 Prof. Levering continued her work on her book-length translation of a key text in the formation of Chan, Son and Zen Buddhism in China, Korea and Japan, The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue Zonggao, 1089-1163. This book is one of the four key texts on which Korean Son Buddhism, the majority form of Buddhism in Korea since the 15th century, is based. It is also a key text in the formation of Chinese Chan Buddhism and Japanese Zen Buddhism; in all three countries this book is regarded as a classic.
Miriam also served as Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University for the Fall semester of 2008. She taught a graduate seminar there on "The History of Linji Chan Buddhism in China."
Continuing Miriam's interest in furthering knowledge about the Westerners who brought Buddhism and other Asian religions to the attention of the Western reading public, thus paving the way for Westerners to undertake the practice of these religions, Miriam completed an essay invited for a forthcoming book on best-selling philosopher, author and lecturer Alan Watts, the pioneer exponent of Buddhism and Daoism in Great Britain and the United States in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. Her essay is called "Alan Watts on Nature, Gender and Sexuality: A Contemporary View."
In 2008 Miriam's translation "The Biography of Miaozong," arguably the most significant Buddhist woman teacher and writer in pre-modern China, was published in the Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea and Japan, edited by Stephen Addiss. Miaozong was the only nun in middle-period China to be given a biography of considerable length.
Between March 2008 and March 2009 Miriam gave invited lectures at the University of California at Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies and (April, 2008); the Harvard University Buddhist Studies Forum (May, 2008); the Dharma Drum University, Taibei, Taiwan (June 2008); the Faculty of
Religious Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (November 2008); Concordia University, Montreal, Canada (November 2008); and the Divinity School of the University of Chicago (November 2008).
As Vice President and Program Chair of the national Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, Miriam organized the panels of scholarly presentations for its Annual Meeting in Chicago in November, 2008.
Miriam wrote a catalogue essay on Buddhism for the McClung Museum exhibit "Sacred Beauty" at UTK in Spring, 2008. She served on the doctoral dissertation committees of Hongmei Peng and Yan Cao in the School of Education at UTK. She also served on the Ph.D. dissertation committee of Alan Wagner in Religious Studies at Harvard University, as well as the M.A. committee of UTK graduate student Sean Deitrick. She also served on the University-wide Scholarly Communications Committee.