Monday 4/23/2018: Talk by Wendi Adamek, "Variations on a Theme of Inversion: Nirvāṇa as Permanence, Joy, Self, and Purity"

The Columbia University Buddhist Studies Seminar, the Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion and the Columbia University Seminars present the following talk:

Variations on a Theme of Inversion: Nirvāṇa as Permanence, Joy, Self, and Purity

Wendi Adamek
(University of Calgary)

Monday, April 23rd, 2018, 12:00 PM

Columbia University, Faculty House (Room TBD)


Dr. Adamek will discuss variations on the Nirvāṇa-sūtra’s characterization of buddhahood as permanence, joy, self, and purity (chang le wo jing). This is claimed to correct the “inverted” concepts of impermanence, suffering, nonself, and impurity. Dr. Adamek connects passages from the Nirvāṇa-sūtra with two Chinese Buddhist sites of inscription and image, highlighting the processes of parallel inversion as the key relation between impermanent dependent self and the adamantine true self. This alluring potential was courted by various names in the body of literature loosely designated as “tathāgatagarbha” texts. We approach these variations not only as important historical and cultural artifacts, but as part of an ongoing investigation into the workings of agency and efficacy.   


Wendi L. Adamek is Associate Professor and Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies in the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary. She specializes in Chinese Buddhism, and her forthcoming book Practicescape: The Buddhists of Baoshan centers on a seventh-century community in Henan. Her publications include The Mystique of Transmission, (2008 AAR Award for Excellence) and The Teachings of Master Wuzhu (2011).



For directions to the Faculty House, see the following PDF: