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James BENN

McMaster University


James A. Benn received his PhD from UCLA in 2001 and is now Professor of Buddhism and East Asian Religions at McMaster University. He studies Buddhism and Daoism in medieval China. To date, he has focused on three major areas of research: bodily practice in Chinese Religions; the ways in which people create and transmit new religious practices and doctrines; and the religious dimensions of commodity culture. He has published on self-immolation, spontaneous human combustion, Buddhist apocryphal scriptures, and tea and alcohol in medieval China in journals such as History of Religions, T’oung Pao, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies and Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. He is the author of Burning for the Buddha: Self-immolation in Chinese Buddhism (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007) and Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015). He is currently working on a translation and study of the Śūramgama sutra, a Chinese Buddhist apocryphon. 

His publication with WSP is:

  • Benn, James (trans. Zhang Dewei 張德偉, Li Jianxin 李建欣, He Yongshan 何泳杉, and Chen Zhiyuan 陳志遠; Collated by Zhang Dewei 張德偉 and Ji Yun 紀贇). Zhongguo Fojiao sheshen kao 中國佛教捨身考 [Burning for the Buddha: Self-Immolation in Chinese Buddhism].  Hualin Foxue Yicong 華林佛學譯叢 [Hualin Translation Series on Buddhist Studies] III, 2021.

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