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Opening of the Lotus

December 14, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A Professional Development Program for K-12 Educators

How was Buddhism introduced to China and successfully adapted to Chinese culture to form the three-pillar belief system, together with Confucianism and Daoism? How do we trace this process by examining objects from the ancient time that reveal a complex cross-cultural journey?

Part of the expansion of the Han Empire involved excursions into Xinjiang, which essentially established the Silk Road, the iconic trade route that connected China with the West. In addition to goods, the Silk Road also carried ideas, notably the Buddhist religion. Originated in India, the Buddha’s teachings were spread to China by proselytizing monks following the dying directive of the Buddha: “Go, monks, spread the noble Doctrine…let not two of you go in the same direction.” Knowledge of the Buddha began seeping into China about the first century CE. One of the earliest images of Buddha appears carved in relief on a lintel of a stone tomb in Sichuan province. Appliques of small seated Buddhas also decorated the shoulders of glazed “hunping” jars found buried in tombs in the Nanjing area dating third century. Apparently, the Buddha and his teachings were considered as part of Daoist beliefs, even as a manifestation of Laozi. Not until the prosperity of the Han Dynasty eroded, did Buddhism make significant inroads, offering solace during the following centuries characterized by chaos, civil unrest, and nomadic invasions. Undoubtedly, monks and other believers traveled the Silk Road, carried small images and illustrated texts (sutras) of the Buddhas teachings. Confucian and Daoist scholars at court resisted the spread of Buddhist teachings since this religion was foreign and undermined their power. However, Buddhism was a highly adaptable and eventually gained great stature, becoming the third pillar of Chinese society, flourishing and transforming the landscape with pagodas (stupas) and temples.

Educators and CI Members: $10 / Session
General Public: $15 / Session
Free for NYS public school teachers and China Institute educational partners upon application

Limited full scholarship is available for NYS public school teachers to attend the entire series.

Apply for Scholarship

Register Here

New York University Project Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT)
NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) at NYU
Contact: Yongqiang Lin, [email protected]

Designed for K-12 educator participants, discussion section at the end of each session will draw attention to new vocabularies and enduring questions to be learnt and asked in K-12 classrooms, as well as resources to enrich the teaching and learning of teachers and students of open mind and curiosity.

In partnership with New York University Project Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT) and NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) at NYU, 12 hours of CTLE credits are offered for New York State teachers attending this program. Limited scholarship is available for NYS public school teachers to attend the entire series.

This program is part of a 6-session series, “Art, Ritual and Religion: Bronzes Vessels to Buddha Images, The Bridge Between the Living and the Dead”:

  1. October 5: Art, Ritual and Religion: An Introduction
  2. October 19: Taoties, Dragons, and Ancestors: Shang Dynasty (1600-1050 BCE)
  3. November 2: Birds, Nomads, Continuity and Change: Western Zhou Dynasty (1050-771 BCE)
  4. November 16: Innovation, Chaos, and Luxury: Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771-256 BCE)
  5. November 30: Age of Empire and the Afterlife: Qin (221-206 BCE) and Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)
  6. December 14: Opening of the Lotus: Emergence of Buddhism (25-420 CE)

All sessions are open to general public


Professor Annette Juliano began her academic career at Vassar College, followed by Brooklyn College of the City of New York, then Rutgers University-Newark Campus, and finally at ISAW the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. Her interests have been focused on early Chinese art from the Neolithic through the Tang Dynasty (ca. 5,000 BCE through 906 CE); Her particular focus has been on Art from the Silk Road and Buddhist and Tomb sculpture and painting from the years known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties period, 4-7th centuries. At the Clarke Art Museum, Williamstown, MA, she organized and curated Unearthed. Perhaps her best-known exhibition remains Monks and Merchants, at Asia Society, NYC.

This series is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute.


December 14, 2022
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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