Natalie Gummer: "Sacrificing the Empty Self: The Śūnyatāparivarta in the Suvarṇaprabhāsa"
In this two-day seminar, we will examine a single chapter of the Suvarṇaprabhāsasūtra, the "Śūnyatāparivarta." The introductory lecture will focus on the chapter’s metaphors for the “emptiness” (śūnyatā) of the ordinary body/self and the contrasting fullness of the body of Dharma, situating these images in relation to other Buddhist texts and the broader context of South Asian ritual utterance. The seminar proper will grapple with the many textual gaps and ambiguities in the Sanskrit chapter and the challenges they present to the translator. We’ll read the text in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese, consulting related materials in Pāli along the way.
Seminar dates: March 11–12, 2023
Natalie Gummer, Professor of Religious Studies, holds the Edwin F. Wilde, Jr. Chair at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. She graduated with a PhD from Harvard University in Buddhist Studies in 2000. Her research examines premodern South Asian Mahāyāna Buddhist ritual and literary culture, especially normative notions of sūtra study and performance as ritual practices. She is editor of The Language of the Sūtras: Essays in Honor of Luis Gómez, and author of several articles on the performative aspects of Buddhist literature. She is currently completing a monograph entitled Performing the Buddha’s Body: Mahāyāna Sūtras as Ritual Speech Acts.