The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies selects one undergraduate paper in Buddhist Studies to receive the award for the best paper in Buddhist Studies every year. The recipient of this award for the 2016-17 academic year is George Husley. George said he grew up in the Bay Area and had the privilege of being exposed to Buddhism by his 9th grade history teacher, and his interest in it continued to the end of high school and into college. He came into Stanford as a physics major and still primarily studies physics, but his passion for Buddhism has become a meditation habit and prompted him to take Prof. Mross’s class, which he loved. George hopes to pursue more Buddhist Studies during the rest of his Stanford career.
Here is the abstract of George’s paper entitled, “Bankei Zen: Exemplifying the Anomaly.” Master Bankei Yotaku is one of the classic iconoclastic teachers of Zen Buddhism, with an unconventional and anti-establishment style. His style, which may at first glance seem strange and out of place in Zen, is actually quite typical for the historical context in which he taught. Bankei as a character actually has a lot in common with other popular preachers of his time. In this paper, George discusses how Bankei’s uniqueness is created by his historical situation; how his uniqueness is really quite normal.