Zen Thought, Literature, Language and Rhetoric in a Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspective (completed)

This project consists of several conferences, workshops, series of guest lectures, research visits at other universities, invitiation of guest researchers, etc.

Zen-symbol. Tegnet.

About the project

The project is concerned with Zen texts as a rich resource for research of Rhetoric and Linguistics and investigates Zen Rhetoric in a Diachronic and Comparative Perspective.

The project was initiated in the end of 2007 and is interrelated with other research activities at IKOS on East Asian religion and language development, in particular The Emergence of Buddhist Colloquial Chinese: Studies in the Formation of the Pre-modern Vernacular in China (Christoph Anderl), the TLS database project (Christoph Harbsmeier), the Bibliotheca Polyglotta database project (Jens Braarvig), the project In the Borderlands of the Buddha (Mark Teeuwen), as well as Vladimir Tikhonov's current research on the interplay between Korean society and religion.

The project consists of various components:

  1. Preliminary research results were presented and discussed at an international conference at the end of August 2008 :Zen Texts as "Public" Documents: Zen Rhetoric in a Diachronic and Comparative Perspective - (the location of the conference was Oslo University and Rosendal Conference Center situated on the West coast of Norway).
  2. Research visit at Kyoto University: From March to June 2008 cooperation with Prof. Christian Wittern (Institute for Research in Humanities) at Kyoto Univ. The focus of research was the Zǔtáng jí 祖堂集, Dūnhuȧng manuscripts, and the digitalization of important primary and secondary literature.
  3. Guest professorship: As part of the project Prof. Christian Wittern (Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto Univ.) spent 3 months at IKOS, Univ. of Oslo during Autumn 2009 and conducted joint research on an annotated digital version of Zǔtáng jí 祖堂集, early Chán texts, and digital resources. In addition, he -together with Christoph Anderl- held an interdisciplinary course for master and Ph.D. students on text mark-up (KOS4010).
  4. Conference: "Early Chán Manuscripts among the Dūnhuáng Findings" in Oslo September 28th to October 2nd, 2009, hosted by the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS, UiO), funded by the Norwegian Research Council (NFR), the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (CCK), and IKOS.

    This is a joint project between the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the Univ. of Oslo, in cooperation with the Institute of Research in Humanities (Kyoto Univ.). In this conference important aspects concerning the formation of Chán literature in China were studied, in addition to the interaction of Chán with other religions and philosophies during the Táng period. The focus of the study will be early Chán Dūnhuáng manuscripts preserved in various major collections.For a more detialed conference webpage see here.


The overall aim of this project is a text-based analysis of aspects concerning the literary strategies which were deployed by authors and compilers of Chán / Sǒn / Zen Buddhist texts in a historical and diachronic perspective, as well as through a comparative view on developments in China, Korea, and Japan.

Published May 31, 2010 11:32 AM - Last modified Apr. 6, 2020 12:48 PM


Christoph Anderl