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A lost Buddhist sect at Dunhuang—the Three Levels Movement in the Dunhuang Documents
UC Berkeley's Institute for East Asian Studies features a talk will provide a sketch of this oft-misunderstood group—their practices, institutions, and beliefs—through the lens of relevant manuscripts preserved at Dunhuang.
The Dunhuang documents, discovered in the early 1900s at the Mogao cave complex on the Chinese outskirts of the Silk Road, revolutionized our understanding of the development of Buddhism in China. One of the many surprises contained in the Dunhuang manuscript cache was the discovery of a substantial number of texts by the so-called ‘Three Levels Movement,’ a mysterious Buddhist sect that flourished during the sixth and seventh centuries of the common era, and then vanished. This talk will provide a sketch of this oft-misunderstood group—their practices, institutions, and beliefs—through the lens of relevant manuscripts preserved at Dunhuang.
Speaker: Max Brandstadt is a Ph.D. candidate in the Group in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley, specializing in the history of medieval Chinese Buddhism. He is currently writing his dissertation on the development of the Three Levels Movement and its influence on later Chan and Pure Land Buddhism. He will be a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows beginning Fall 2021.
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